US, Saudi Arabia reach tentative pacts that support 450 Sikorsky jobs

Tentative agreements with Saudi Arabia calling for more Sikorsky helicopters could be good news for Connecticut where the aircraft are manufactured, but details are not yet available and provisions that tilt manufacturing or job creation to the kingdom will likely meet resistance in Congress.

The Trump administration said deals signed this weekend during the president’s visit to Riyadh could be worth $110 billion. They include fighter jets, ships, missiles, energy technology, health care expertise, job training and a joint infrastructure investment fund.

A large portion of the dollar figure reflects money invested and goods made in Saudi Arabia, not the U.S. The government won commitments from U.S. companies to create more of their jobs and manufacture more of their goods in Saudi Arabia.

Those aspects of the deal are expected to be examined closely by Congress.

“I am going to be very, very critically scrutinizing this contract when it comes before Congress,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Sikorsky’s parent company, would form a joint venture with Saudi-owned Taqnia to complete 150 S-70 Black Hawk helicopters. Lockheed Martin said Saudi Arabia “has expressed its intent to procure more than $28 billion worth of Lockheed Martin integrated air and missile defense, combat ship, tactical aircraft and rotary wing technologies and programs.”

Until the joint venture is completed and a contract negotiated, all the details, including timeline and “final impact to the workforce and business,” will not be available, said Paul Jackson, a spokesman for Sikorsky, based in Stratford.

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