Lockheed locks helicopter deal

By Perry Russom

May 8, 2014 Updated May 8, 2014 at 11:48 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's a billion dollar deal between the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin Corporation. They won a contract to replace the ‘Marine One’ Helicopter fleet. It was announced yesterday that they plan to build six presidential helicopters in Owego.

With this new deal comes the question of how Owego will benefit from this deal? Some New York state politicians have job creation estimates in the hundreds, but Lockheed says the actual number still has to be evaluated.

In a news conference on Thursday, Lockheed says this Presidential helicopter deal will sustain the Owego workforce.

Lockheed will be partnering with Sikorsky Aircrafts and the contract guarantees six helicopters to be made in Owego for the President for the price a $1.24 billion. But the deal is not just a financial boost for Lockheed, it is also a morale boost.

"It's a tremendous boost to the morale of the Owego facility and just being associated with such a prestigious program like the presidential helicopter is very, very significant to Lockheed Martin as a whole,” said Roger Il Grande, Director of Airborne Systems at Lockheed Martin.

How this deal will work is Sikorsky will build the frames of the helicopters in Pennsylvania. The frames will then be sent north to Owego where Lockheed will install the mission systems.

"This contract is tremendous news for the Owego facility," said Il Grande. “It's work that we've undertaken for several years now in terms of our commitment to securing the program so it's really, really important news to the Owego facility."

In all, 6 helicopters and two trainer simulators will be built. Two test helicopters are planned on being delivered to the government near the end of 2018. Those two helicopters will be in Owego for work next year.

Lockheed says they can't go into specifics right now about what will make these helicopters different from the one’s they already have, more details on the project will be released next week.