Sikorsky delivers first Connecticut-built 'King Stallion' military helicopter to Marine Corps
Sikorsky delivered its first Stratford-built King Stallion military helicopter on Friday to the Marine Corps.
The company, which is one of America's biggest defense contractors, created the CH-53K - the military's biggest and heaviest chopper. It can also fly higher and longer than its predecessors.
"It is a beautiful piece of machinery," says Sikorsky employee Michael Rodriguez.
"I think about this air frame itself, right here. It's going to save lives," says U.S. Marine Corps Col. Jack Perrin.
Connecticut gave Sikorsky $220 million in incentives to build the King Stallion in the state and not in Florida.
"We have well over 670 part numbers actually on this aircraft," says BetaShim President Zach Pratt.
That translates into billions for suppliers like BetaShim in Shelton. Sikorsky is 85% of its business.
"So if they move, we move too," says Pratt.
It also means thousands of workers can stay in Stratford.
"It's great to know that this provides security for many people within the company, especially my brothers and sisters, knowing that we have at least 30 years of security with the build of this aircraft," says Rodriguez.
The King Stallion will be headed to North Carolina in several weeks.
The military helicopter can lift 14 tons for more than 100 miles.