WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin completed its $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft on Friday, replacing United Technologies Corp. as the American helicopter maker’s parent company.

"Today we are proud to welcome the Sikorsky team to Lockheed Martin," said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky share a legacy of innovation and performance that has shaped the history of aviation for more than a century."

Lockheed Martin named Dan Schultz, former vice president of LockheedM’s Ship & Aviation Systems segment, as president of Sikorsky. Sikorsky will be assigned to Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business unit.

In a recent interview with Defense News, Samir Mehta, president of Sikorsky's Defense Systems & Services unit, said while talks between the company and its new owner were limited to day-one integration while the sale was pending, the two companies appear to be a good fit.

"Lockheed's a great company so we're excited about joining that portfolio," Mehta said.

The two companies have already worked on the presidential helicopter and Nnaval programs, so there is already an established relationship between the two companies, he noted.

"I think it’s fair to say that they are excited by some of the things we’re working on, and we’re excited by some of the things they’re working on," he said. "I think it will be a good fit. Once we’re part of the family they’ll have to make an independent judgments, but the feedback we’re [receiving] across the board has been pretty positive."

Customers, both in the US and abroad, have asked whether Sikorsky, maker of the Army's iconic Black Hawk helicopter, will retain its corporate identity, he said.

"Lockheed didn't go and buy our company and pay $9 billion to turn us into a department of Lockheed. Part of what they paid for was the brand, the reputation, the history and the legacy, all the things that go with it. I don't think they want to destroy value there, either," he said.

Even under new ownership, the key to success will be to focus on providing customers with a competitive advantage on the battlefield, Mehta said.

"If you keep that in mind and innovate technologies and products," he said, and keep them "aimed towards that singular objective of maintaining that competitive advantage on the battlefield, you will win. Your ideas will win out. Your technology will win out."

The deal, one of the largest defense mergers in recent memory, caused Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall to suggest that congressional action may be necessary to give the US Defense Department the ability to disallow certain deals deemed not to be in the Pentagon's best interest.

While not specifically criticizing the Lockheed-Sikorsky deal, Kendall indicated that he was concerned by the trend toward few prime platform contractors in the defense industrial base.

Staff writer Aaron Mehta contributed to this report.

Email: aclevenger@defensenews.com.

Twitter: @andclev

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