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Monday, July 14, 2008

Sikorsky Aircraft Preps for Multiple First Flights as 'Four Pillars' Continue to Pace Rapid Growth

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW -- With busy production lines and a schedule of first flights for seven programs in 2008, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. continues to chart a path for future growth after doubling revenues over the last four years, Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino said today at the Farnborough International Air Show. Sikorsky, based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a business unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060403/SIKORSKYLOGO)

Sikorsky Aircraft established "four pillars of growth" as a guide for company progress. Pino first announced the guidelines two years ago at the Farnborough show. They are: growth with margin expansion, excellence in execution, technological leadership, and globalization.

"To say that I am excited at the prospects of growth and industry-changing innovation is an understatement. Sikorsky in 2008 is poised to mark an unprecedented period of milestones and growth," Pino said.

Sikorsky's revenue reached a record $4.8 billion in 2007 and its backlog has grown to $12 billion from $6.9 billion in 2004.

Current U.S. government production programs include the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters for the U.S. Navy, and the UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter for the U.S. Army.

The programs call for 271 and 298 of the Navy's MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters, respectively. Sikorsky is in full-rate production for the U.S. Army's newest BLACK HAWK, the UH-60M. This program is expected to produce more than 1,200 aircraft. "Our H-60 product lines are in a strong growth period as both the Army and Navy continue to replenish their fleets," Pino said.

In addition, Sikorsky is developing the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps under a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration contract. The SDD contract could lead to the production of 156 CH-53K aircraft to replace roughly an equal number of CH-53E SUPER STALLION(TM) helicopters in the Marine Corps' current inventory.

Development money and production quantities for all government programs are determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and Pentagon acquisition priorities.

The S-92(R) helicopter and S-76(R) helicopter product lines continue to lead the resurgence in Sikorsky's commercial aircraft business. "The H-92 helicopter, a military version of our S-92 aircraft, is on static display here in Farnborough, and we are preparing to bring it on a world tour beginning in Europe. We at Sikorsky are very optimistic about our future, as we see strong growth across all of our product lines, and the S-92 helicopter and its variants are a key component of that future growth," Pino said.

In May, the S-76 fleet passed 5 million flight hours, and Sikorsky delivered the 700th aircraft in the series earlier this year.

In approximately four years since the start of production deliveries, the S-92 helicopter fleet has accumulated 100,000 flight hours. Offshore oil S-92 helicopter operators are flying between 130 and 170 hours per month, a testament to the aircraft's sturdiness and ease of maintenance.

Sikorsky's global expansion has been another key component of the company's rapid growth these last few years. Among the highlights are:

-- Modernization projects continue at the PZL Mielec facility in Poland, and the first BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins are due to be delivered from there later this year.

-- In China, S-76 helicopters are now being built under a joint venture of Shanghai Sikorsky and AVIC II.

-- Sikorsky's supply base in Turkey continues to grow, and plans to develop regional aviation centers are progressing in the Middle East.

Even with surging production, Sikorsky continues to invest in product development to sustain long-term growth. In addition to the CH-53K helicopter for the Marine Corps, other current development programs include:

-- The International BLACK HAWK helicopter, to be produced at PZL Mielec with deliveries expected to begin in 2011.

-- The H-92 helicopter, the first military variant of the S-92 helicopter, is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter. Twenty-eight of these militarized S-92 helicopters are scheduled to be built for the Canadian Air Force.

-- The UH-60M Upgrade helicopter is scheduled to fly in the third quarter. This latest version of the BLACK HAWK helicopter is a fly-by-wire aircraft with a Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit being developed under a $260 million development contract with the U.S. Army. Ultimately, it is expected to lead to initial production of approximately 1,000 aircraft.

-- The X2 TECHNOLOGY(TM) Demonstrator is on the verge of its first flight as well. The prototype represents a new generation of rotorcraft that combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots, while retaining such desirable helicopter attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering and autorotation safety, with seamless and simple transition to high speed.

-- The S-76D(TM) helicopter, the latest version of the S-76 helicopter, which includes a new composite rotor blade, Pratt & Whitney 210S engines, Quiet Design Tail Rotor, Active Vibration Control, Rotor Ice Protection System, and Thales advanced avionics. First flight is expected by year-end, and Sikorsky already has about 100 position agreements on the aircraft.

-- The Sikorsky-Schweizer S-434(TM) helicopter, with a four-bladed rotor system based on the existing S-333(TM) helicopter, is slated for its first flight in the fourth quarter.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. The company's mission statement reflects its long commitment to safety and innovation: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere ... every time(TM)." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning future business opportunities. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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