Lockheed Martin’s presence in Australia looks set to expand after the company emerged as the successful bidder for Sikorsky in a US$9.0 billion deal that will see the world’s biggest military helicopter manufacturer join the fold of the world’s biggest defence contractor.
“Sikorsky is a natural fit for Lockheed Martin and complements our broad portfolio of world-class aerospace and defence products and technologies,” Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.
“I’m confident this acquisition will help us extend our core business into the growing areas of helicopter production and sustainment. Together, we’ll offer a strong portfolio of helicopter solutions to our global customers and accelerate the pace of innovation and new technology development.”
Sikorsky could prove a good fit for Lockheed Martin as the two companies already cooperate on the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ (24 of which are being delivered to the Royal Australian Navy) and the VH-92 presidential helicopter programs. While Lockheed Martin has not said if it will retain the Sikorsky name, it has said it will place the helicopter manufacturer within its Mission Systems and Training (MST) business unit, which already works with Sikorsky on the Romeo and VH-92.
Locally, the acquisition should also increase the size of Lockeed Martin’s Australian footprint. Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky are joint venture partners in MHSCo – Maritime Helicopter Services Company – which is based at Nowra to provide through-life support for the RAN’s MH-60R fleet, while Brisbane-based Sikorsky Helitech is a fully-owned subsidiary of Sikorsky Aerospace Services and provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for Sikorsky helicopters in the region.
Sikorsky-built helicopters in Australia include the Navy’s new Romeos and retiring S-70B-2 ‘classic’ Seahawks, the Army’s S-70A-9 Black Hawks, and civil S-76 and S-92 helicopters used by commerical operators, predominantly in support of the oil and gas sector. (Sikorsky builds the MH-60R’s airframe with Lockheed Martin responsible for mission system integration.)
Lockheed Martin says the deal, which will effectively cost it US$7.1 billion after tax benefits, should be completed by the end of the year or in early 2016.
Sikorsky parent United Technologies Corporation had announced that it would divest its Sikorsky business on June 15.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has also announced it will undertake “a strategic review of alternatives for its government IT and technical services businesses, primarily in the Information Systems & Global Solutions business segment and a portion of the Missiles and Fire Control business segment”.