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Sikorsky Wins Contract to Find Eye of the Sandstorm

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Sikorsky Wins Contract to Find Eye of the Sandstorm

May 02, 2007

  STRATFORD, Connecticut - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. was awarded a $10.3 million increment as part of a $16.6 million contract to help solve one of the military's more pressing problems in fighting desert wars: landing helicopters and taking off safely when blinding sandstorms distort the landscape and create "brownout" conditions. Sikorsky Aircraft, based in Stratford, Conn., is a business unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded the contract under its "Sandblaster" program, a high priority effort to develop and demonstrate effective solutions for landing in degraded visual environments. Brownout conditions can disorient pilots and obscure their vision.

Sikorsky is teamed with Honeywell and Sierra Nevada Corp, with Sikorsky as the prime and lead system integrator. Honeywell will design and produce a Sensor data-driven, Localized, External, Evidential Knowledge base (SLEEK) capability integrated with the company's synthetic vision system. Sierra Nevada Corp. will provide see-through sensing technologies. Sandblaster initially will focus on BLACK HAWK helicopters. Project completion is expected within 18 months.

"This award acknowledges Sikorsky as a system integrator that is responsive to customer needs and issues," said Peter Grant, Program Manager, Advanced Programs. "In developing the Sandblaster proposal, we didn't look for just a one-dimensional solution but rather a complete package of integrated sensors, pilot vehicle interface and flight controls to address the problem."

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. United Technologies Corp., of Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

Sierra Nevada Corp. is a research, development and manufacturing company based in Sparks, Nev., that provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and network-centric communication technologies on multiple platforms ranging from soldier-based to small and large aircraft. SNC also designs, manufactures and integrates communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management products.

Honeywell International is a $30 billion diversified technology and manufacturing company that serves customers worldwide with aerospace products and services, control technologies for buildings, homes and industry, automotive products, turbochargers, and specialty materials.

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