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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of diversified business conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Analyst Report), recently procured a contract from the U.S. Navy to develop four production-representative CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters for the U.S. Marine Corps. The $435-million contract for the helicopters, which are designated as System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA), will facilitate the Marines to conduct operational evaluation of the new helicopter system in support of Initial Operational Capability in 2019.

The SDTA helicopters form an integral part of the $3.5 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract of the Navy that was awarded to Sikorsky in Apr 2006. Till date, Sikorsky has delivered two of the seven SDD CH-53K aircraft to the Navy.

Moving forward, the Navy intends to order an additional 196 CH-53K helicopters to set up eight operational squadrons and one training squadron to support the Marine Corps' operational requirements. These augur well for the long-term prospects of Sikorsky and pledge a steady revenue stream.

Sikorsky is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of military and commercial helicopters, and also provides aftermarket helicopter and aircraft parts and services for its parent company United Technologies. At present, major production programs at Sikorsky include the UH-60M Black Hawk medium-transport helicopters and HH-60M Medevac helicopters for the U.S. and foreign governments, the S-70 Black Hawk for foreign governments, the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters for the U.S. Navy, the International Naval Hawk for multiple naval missions, and the S-76 and S-92 helicopters for commercial operations.

Based in Hartford, Conn., United Technologies provides high-end technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. The company is a diversified business conglomerate serving various end markets such as aerospace, defense and commercial construction. The business diversification allows the company to remain profitable amid tough economic times.

The operations of the company are primarily classified into two principal businesses: commercial and aerospace. Under its commercial business, the company has Otis and the UTC Climate, Controls & Security division, which combined the former Carrier and UTC Fire & Security divisions. The aerospace business of the company consists of Sikorsky aircraft and the UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which includes UTC Aerospace Systems and Pratt & Whitney divisions.

United Technologies presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other notable companies in the industry include ITT Corporation (ITT - Analyst Report), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HUWHY), and Compass Diversified Holdings (CODI - Snapshot Report), each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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