(WBNG Binghamton) New York Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, after his repeated push with top officials, the FY2014 Appropriations bill filed Tuesday includes $333.5 million in funding for the Air Force’s Combat Search and Rescue Helicopters, which are planned for Lockheed Martin in Owego and will create and maintain approximately 250 jobs there.
According to a news release from Schumer's office:
Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky have submitted a joint bid to produce the helicopters, and have been in line to receive the contract and produce a new fleet of Lockheed’s Combat Rescue Helicopters to fulfill the mission, pending this boost in Appropriations funding.
Last year, Schumer visited LM Owego, called the Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Secretary of Defense Hagel to publicly support the CSAR program, explaining that the current fleet of aircraft for the mission were outdated and the military needed new and more capable helicopters. Schumer said that the contract had been subject to an internal restructuring debate, but now the Appropriations funding means that the CSAR mission will continue as planned and LM Owego will receive the work.
“Lockheed Martin is a flagship New York company and an anchor for the Tioga County economy and the entire Southern Tier; and I am thrilled to announce that the appropriations bill has effectively secured the Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter contract for Lockheed Martin Owego,” said Schumer. “This is a win-win for the Air Force, which desperately needed new aircraft to support the combat search and rescue mission, and for Owego where the top-notch aircraft will be produced. It means a brand new fleet of more capable aircraft will be built to support those missions that get our brave men and women in uniform out of harm’s way, and what’s more, those aircraft will be built or outfitted in Owego, supporting jobs and economic growth throughout the Southern Tier.”