Right behind the Connecticut conglomerates that receive billions in U.S. military spending are the small machine shops and local manufacturers benefiting from rising demand for fighter-jet engines, helicopters and submarines.
Spread across Connecticut, companies such as Jarvis Airfoil Inc. in Portland play an outsized role bolstering the state’s defense industry. Those businesses — typically privately held and family owned — make countless parts that add to the output of the state’s three dominant Pentagon contractors.
All are gaining as a result of sharp increases in Congressional spending to upgrade and renew equipment for the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy.
“It filters down,” Jason Jarvis, president of the 61-year-old company, said of federal defense spending. “A rising tide lifts all ships. That bears out in our sector.”
Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., makes engines for the F-35 joint strike fighter. Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp., builds the Black Hawk helicopter, the workhorse of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and is set to start production of the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter in Stratford next year.