UPDATE | LOCKHEED TO BUY SIKORSKY – ANNOUNCED AS EXPECTED 20 JULY 2015 | Legendary US helicopter brand Sikorsky has a tough time. Feeling the price pressure in the oil and gas market, the manufacturer of the UH-60 Black Hawk, the CH-53 Sea Stallion, the S-92 (popular with the offshore industry) and the new S-97 Raider military chopper has been put up for sale by owner United Technologies Corp – 85 years after it joined this parent company. Amongst the initial potential buyers is Lockheed Martin, which according to sources wass the only serious candidate for the 8 billion dollar deal – turned 9 billion on Monday 20 July when the deal was confirmed. The name Sikorsky and of its subsidiary Schweizer may very well disappear, if the biggest weapons manufacturer indeed is allowed to incorporate Sikorsky.
A scenario similar to what happened when Boeing ate a big aircraft manufacturer in 1997 might be imminent. In that year the legendary McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache became the Boeing AH-64 Apache, after McDonnell Douglas did the same when it incorporated Hughes Helicopter in 1984. The equally legendary Hughes/McDonnell Douglas OH-6 Little Bird was split between MD Helicopters (MD 500) and Boeing (AH-6) because of US federal ruling on preventing monopoly on the civilian helicopter market.
If we’ll see a Lockheed Martin UH-60 Black Hawk and L-92 offshore chopper depends on the choice United Technologies Corp will make somewhere the coming months. That Lockheed Martin is already involved with f.ex. the MH-60 version of the Black Hawk is an advantage.
According to some sources Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft’s mother company Textron was interested as well. If Textron would buy Sikorsky it will likely mean the survival of the brand name but also may result in a likely collision with federal authorities on domination of the civilian helicopter market. A same problem will be there for Boeing, if it wants to scoop up Sikorsky and Schweizer.
A fourth player possibly willing to place his bets could have been General Dynamics. The company that brought us the current F-16 Fighting Falcon combat jet – sold off to Lockheed Martin – could have tried to strengthen its aerospace component, which currently consists of only Gulfstream Aerospace bizzjets and Jet Aviation services. Or “outsider” L-3 which is already heavenly engaged in modifying and constructing of (parts of) aeroplanes like Alenia Aermacchi’s C-27J Spartan.
Whatever the outcome may be, very much depending on US federal authorities as well, the helicopter brand started by Ukrainian immigrant Igor Sikorsky in 1925 in New York state is facing a new phase. It is very likely that its rotary aircraft will keep rolling out of the main location in Stratford, Connecticut, for years to come – like it did when Sikorsky moved in there in 1929. The only question will be under which name newer Black Hawks and S-92s will take to the skies.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): One of the leading helicopters in the oil and gas industry is the Sikorsky S-92, in use for years in for example the Norwegian offshore business (Image © Aircontactgruppen Norge)