Washington – The Navy, citing budget problems, had wanted to end a multi-year joint contract with the Army to buy 102 helicopters from Sikorsky, but the Navy has reversed itself and will go ahead.

Had the Navy canceled its purchases, the Army’s also would have been voided.

In an announcement late Monday, the Department of Defense said it will go forward with a $772 million contract to buy 41 modified UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and 24 HH-60M medical evacuation helicopters from Sikorsky for the Army.

The Navy said it would continue a program of purchasing Sikorsky helicopters for a fourth year, saying it will buy eight MH-60s helicopters and 29 HM-60R Seahawks and pay costs associated with the programs.

Sikorsky did not have an immediate reaction.

One reason the Pentagon decided to go forward with the plan is that a Navy decision to scrap the already awarded contract would have cost taxpayers a $250 million termination fee.

“I am extremely pleased that the Army and Navy have jointly continued their multi-year contract for 102 additional Sikorsky helicopters for this year,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Armed Services Committee. “I have worked closely with the Navy to ensure their recognition of the urgent, life-saving need for these helicopters, even in the face of challenging financial times, and will continue to do so in the coming fiscal year.”

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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