Sikorsky to Cut 600 Jobs, Secures Turkey Deal

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By Doug Cameron

Sikorsky Aircraft announced plans Friday to shed 600 workers in response to weaker demand for its military helicopters following defense budget cuts in the U.S. and overseas, though also secured a new $3.5 billion deal with Turkey.

The maker of Black Hawk helicopters has cut around 2,000 jobs over the past two years, reducing its present workforce to 16,500 worldwide as it worked to trim costs and adapt to lower Pentagon spending while pursuing international sales.

Sikorsky, a unit of United Technologies Corp., is the Pentagon's largest helicopter supplier by value. It is pursuing a contract to supply new presidential helicopters and a proposed fleet of rescue helicopters for the U.S. military, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp..

Sales dipped 8% last year to $6.3 billion, and its parent last month trimmed the outlook for Sikorsky's operating profits this year, which are now expected to be flat.

The Black Hawk is a workhorse of all four branches of the U.S. military, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to a surge in helicopter spending at the end of the last decade that is now abated.

Sikorsky and rival Boeing Co. have been left to pursue a limited number of new projects that have yet to secure firm funding from the Pentagon, while others such a proposed new Army helicopter aren't expected to feature in the fiscal 2015 budget due to be previewed by defense secretary Chuck Hagel in a speech on Monday.

The Turkey deal, first announced in 2011, will see Sikorsky co-produce an initial batch of 109 helicopters, most of them for the country's military.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

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