U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will seek an amendment favorable to helicopters for the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is expected to debate and vote on this week.
Specific to the Sikorsky helicopter manufacturing presence in Fairfield County – and its parent company in Hartford, United Technologies Corp. – Blumenthal wants an increase in aircraft procurement money for the Army of $247.5 million to purchase 15 additional Black Hawk UH-60M helicopters for Army National Guard modernization.
The authorization act already contains helicopter money, specifically:
• $1.56 billion for the procurement of 94 UH-60 Army helicopters;
• $46 million to upgrade 40 UH-60 A model Army helicopters to L models and report language recognizing the need to make further upgrades to Army National Guard helicopters;
• $969.9 million for the procurement of 29 MH-60R Navy helicopters; and
• unspecified money for the Army’s improved turbine engine program to enhance the performance and efficiency of Army helicopters.
“This defense measure is a solid start, but must be made stronger – better serving our national security and Connecticut manufacturing,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Armed Services Committee, in a statement.