Expect Lockheed Martin to spend the next six months or so sorting out what needs to be fixed at Sikorsky Aircraft versus what needs to be sustained there. The $46-billion aerospace and defense company said today it has struck a deal to buy Sikorsky from United Technologies for $9 billion (higher than pundits’ valuation of $8 billion). The companies said the deal should close late this year or in early 2016, pending regulatory reviews.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
Among those closely watching the takeover is the Pentagon. Sikorsky is its largest helicopter supplier (including the VH-3D presidential transport shown above and its VH-60N counterpart). The U.S. Defense Department has said it will monitor the transaction for aspects that might "eliminate competition or cause market distortions” or otherwise harm its interests. The two companies have very different business practices and management styles, those contrasts made clearer through years of teaming on helicopter programs such as the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R/S. The Pentagon also will have to assess the impact of the buyout on development of its new combat rescue and presidential helicopters (programs on which Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin also are teamed) and on the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator initiative. That effort aims to lay the foundation for a new, common family of joint vertical-lift aircraft. Sikorsky is teamed with Boeing on one bid for it, while Lockheed Martin is paired with Bell Helicopter on another. For its part, industry will be watching whether or not Lockheed Martin actually wants to be in the civil helicopter business. That company has its own helicopter pedigree, including its development of the rigid-rotor XH-51 and AH-56 Cheyenne.