GROTON — The defense industry continues to be a cornerstone of Connecticut manufacturing, as nuclear submarine maker General Dynamics’ Electric Boat division plans to expand its Groton headquarters.

The $31.5 million project will allow the company to add up to 200 new workers to its 8,700-strong workforce. The state’s Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) will aid the expansion with a $10 million loan, which is completely forgivable if it hires those 200 new employees within 24 months.

The company expands to accommodate increased hiring and industry demands. The U.S. Navy awarded Electric Boat a $17.6 billion contract in April to construct the next order of Virginia-class submarines.

 STRATFORD — Sikorsky Aircraft earned recognition from the University of New Haven, receiving the Exemplary Partner Award from the school’s Tagliatela College of Engineering for the company’s support of the Tagliatela’s programming over its five-year partnership with the school.

Sikorsky’s vice president of engineering and research says UNH is a prime source of engineering talent for the company. The two have notably partnered for the two-week Team-based Engineering and Manufacturing (TEAM) Summer Camp at the university, which gives high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students a hands-on introduction to engineering projects.

In other United Technologies Corp. news (Sikorsky is a UTC subsidiary), UTC Aerospace Systems was awarded a $22 million U.S. Air Force contract to provide upgraded wheels and brakes for 475 of its F-15 aircraft. The contract also has a follow-on option valued at $30 million.