State legislators will soon vote on a deal to keep aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky headquartered in Connecticut at least through 2042.

The Lockheed Martin company is bidding on Pentagon contracts to replace several existing programs, including its iconic Black Hawk helicopter.

The company's Raider X is one of two finalists in one of the Pentagon programs and it is partnering with Boeing on the Defiant X, a finalist for the U.S. Army's Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program.

Under an agreement announced this week with the state of Connecticut, if Sikorsky secures at least one of those lines, production will happen in Connecticut, potentially supporting more than 7,000 jobs.

'Aerospace Leadership'

Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said he expects the Pentagon to make a decision regarding the new programs by the middle of the year.

"For nearly a century, Sikorsky has been a proud partner to Connecticut and business across the state," he said.

"Our collaboration on this project will sustain and help bring more high-tech, high-paying jobs to the state, while bolstering Connecticut’s leadership in aerospace production for decades to come."

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima called the agreement, which was announced March 28, "great news for Connecticut."

"There is significant bipartisan support for this deal, and given how much Sikorsky means to Connecticut's economy, I am confident this agreement will pass.

"Nevertheless, we urge the legislature to swiftly approve this critical deal for the state."


The performance-based incentives will come in the form of sales and use tax offsets and tax credits.

DiPentima noted Sikorsky was on track to exceed commitments it made in 2016 to increase its workforce to 8,000 by 2032, double spending with in-state suppliers, and raise capital spending.

"The last agreement reached between the state and Sikorsky had a resounding impact on job retention and growth with Sikorsky exceeding their spending commitment in Connecticut," he said.

"Since every manufacturing job creates three-four additional jobs, Sikorsky's increase in supply chain spending had a ripple effect well beyond our vibrant manufacturing sector, impacting many small businesses in a variety of industries around the state."

"Sikorsky's increase in supply chain spending had a ripple effect well beyond our vibrant manufacturing sector."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

Gov. Ned Lamont said the agreement will support new helicopter production in Connecticut and "help enable thousands of Sikorsky jobs for decades to come."

"If the Army selects this, we can maintain our workforce," Lamont said. "If the rest of the Armed Forces do, you will see a real expansion to everything Sikorsky is doing.

"It's a big opportunity for the state and we're going to make sure we help in every way possible."

Sikorsky has facilities in Stratford, Bridgeport, Shelton, North Haven, and Trumbull, with 242 suppliers throughout Connecticut.