Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. will close its 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Big Flats, NY before the New Year. 570 people will lose their jobs. Some of the workload will be transitioned to Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, FL plant. The company cited declining military budgets and a tough economy as primary causes. Although sales at Sikorsky had more than doubled since 2005 (to $7.36 billion in 2011) the company’s net sales for the second quarter of 2012 were down 9 percent from the same period in 2011. Sikorsky’s signature Black Hawk helicopter (made famous in the eponymous film describing events during the Battle of Mogadishu) costs an average $5.9 million. It’s greatest attributes are “survivability and crashworthiness.”
This year, Sikorsky delivered 15 new combat aircrafts to Sweden, 14 to Jordan, and 12 to the Royal Brunei Air Force, which just suffered the country’s worst ever aviation disaster. In July, a Bell 212 helicopter (manufactured by Bell in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada) carrying 14 military personnel on a training mission crashed. Two survived. Cause yet to be determined/announced. The 14 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters will replace Brunei’s Bells. Brunei requested technical customizations on the new birds which are confidential.