FARNBOROUGH, England Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), has signed a five-year $7.3 billion agreement that will provide the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force with more H-60 Black Hawk helicopters and other versions of the utility aircraft, according to several sources familiar with the deal.
The agreement puts in force a multi-year procurement that was approved by Congress as part of the Pentagon's fiscal 2012 budget. It includes several variants of the helicopter to be used by the different military services and runs through fiscal 2016.
This is the Pentagon's eighth multi-year procurement of the workhorse helicopters and includes options that could add $1 billion to $2 billion to the contract's value, if exercised, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
"The Black Hawk series has become the poster child for multi-year contracts," said aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Virginia-based Teal Group. "Guaranteeing procurement numbers for five year blocks has been extremely effective in bringing down costs."
No comment was immediately available from the Army, which took the lead in negotiating the agreement.
Sikorsky President Mick Maurer told Reuters earlier that the company was "on track" for the multi-year procurement deal but declined to give any details.
The UH-60 Black Hawk, which first flew in 1974, is a twin-engine single-rotor helicopter used to transport assault troops, evacuate injured troops and carry out special missions.
It normally carries 12-15 troops but can accommodate up to 20.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by James Dalgleish and Marguerita Choy)