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A Sikorsky VH-60N helicopter as used by the US President, when it is referred to as Marine One.

A Sikorsky VH-60N helicopter as used by the US President, when it is referred to as Marine One. (Gary Blakeley/Dreamstime/TNS)

Sikorsky has received a $542 million contract to build six presidential helicopters and provide parts and training support as part of a deal for the high-profile project agreed to in 2014.

Half the work will be performed at Sikorsky's plant in Stratford, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday. The remainder will be done in Coatesville, Pa., Owego, N.Y., Patuxent River, Md. and Quantico, Va.

Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp., will begin deliveries of the six helicopters in 2021. The remaining aircraft, part of 23 for the U.S. Marine Corps, will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. The contract also includes work for spare parts and training support.

The VH-92A aircraft will increase performance and payload over the current presidential helicopters that have been used for more than 40 years, the Navy said. It will provide enhanced crew coordination systems and communications and improve availability and maintainability.

Sikorsky announced in May 2014 an overall $1.24 billion contract to build the next fleet of "Marine One" presidential helicopters. It ended a yearslong effort to return the high-profile aerospace project to Connecticut.

Sikorsky was then owned by United Technologies Corp., which sold the helicopter maker to Lockheed for $9 billion in 2015. Connecticut's congressional delegation had lobbied the Pentagon to end a previous contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. and Europe-based AugustaWestland after cost overruns nearly doubled the price of the program, which was six years behind schedule.

Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, citing cost, canceled Lockheed Martin contracts in 2009 for a helicopter to carry the president and a communications satellite.

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

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