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Conn. Democrats protest helicopter deal

Feb. 1, 2005 at 2:47 PM

STRATFORD, Conn., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Three Connecticut lawmakers say they will fight the Pentagon's decision to deny the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. a $6.1 billion helicopter contract.

Connecticut U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Chris Dodd and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, all Democrats, earned cheers Monday from about 200 Sikorsky mechanics by accusing the United States Navy of "outsourcing national security," the New Haven (Conn.) Register reported.

The Navy has announced it will award the $6.1 billion contract for the next generation of "Marine One" presidential helicopters to an international consortium led by Lockheed Martin.

The Lockheed US101 was chosen, a Navy official said, because it was deemed more likely to perform "on schedule, with lower risk and at a lower cost."

"We realize we've got a global economy, but you don't outsource your national security," Dodd said.

DeLauro promised to introduce legislation to block the Navy from buying any aircraft made with foreign components, the Register said Tuesday.

Marine One had been Sikorsky's most prestigious contract, one it has held exclusively since the Eisenhower administration. But the company said the loss of the contract will not result in any job losses.

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