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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2005

Schumer, Clinton: Key Senate Panel Backs $27 Million For Defense Projects To Benefit The Southern Tier

Funding is part of FY 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee

Schumer, Clinton: Defense Projects are Vitally Important for the New York State Economy and National Security

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $27 million in the FY06 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for projects to benefit the Southern Tier, including $2 million for the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center at Binghamton University, $20 million for Schweizer Aircraft’s RQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV, $2 million for Rockwell Collins’ GATM for the KC-135 project and $3 million for the Gunner-Crew Chief Station Trainer at L-3 Communications. The bill also includes $935.9 million which was included in the President’s Budget for Lockheed Martin Owego’s VXX/Marine One Program.

"This is great news for the Southern Tier," said Schumer. "Additional funds will not only boost the area economy, but also put the Southern Tier and New York State at the forefront of defense technology. As the men and women of our military bravely serve our country all over the world, the funding for these Southern Tier defense projects will vastly improve national security technology and will give our armed forces an even greater edge."

“New York’s Southern Tier has already proven to the world its leadership in cutting-edge defense research and technology,” Senator Clinton said. “This new funding will help protect our troops, both at home and abroad, and is an important investment in our local companies and the communities they support.”

$2 million of federal funds will go to Rockwell Collins’ GATM for the KC-135 development. The Air Force has embarked on a program referred to as Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) to equip its applicable aircraft with a capability to comply with the new mandated FAA regulations. Aircraft that do not possess these new capabilities will be denied access to airspace where such capabilities are mandated, or be severely restricted in such areas. Restrictions may include outright denial of access to selected airspace, or assignment of limited and inefficient flight altitudes, or assignment of inefficient routes of flight, and extensive flight authorization delays.

Rockwell Collins will work with the Air Force’s premier GATM program in equipping its existing fleet of KC-135 air refueling tankers with the capabilities required by these new regulations. Aircraft equipped with the required systems will have the operational advantage of choosing the most efficient and economical routes of flight, as well as continued access to airspace that is now regularly used in DOD world-wide operations. While operational access to airspace has been important to address the (far flung) military commitments of the 1990’s, it has now reached a critical status as the Government continues to fight the War on Terror. It is imperative that the United States is capable of projecting airpower to any location via the most direct route. This is fundamental to having combat crews reach the target area with the most fuel and in the least fatigued condition possible.

$2 million in federal funds will go to Binghamton University for the expansion of the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center. Over time, federal funding will allow the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center to become an engine for economic growth and innovation in that Southern Tier by spurring the creation of high-tech regional companies to partner with the center and by driving the creation of a significant number of new jobs.

The funding will also create new opportunities to improve and enhance national security. In the past there has been considerable interest in emerging technologies such as micro-electromechanical systems and nanostructured materials and interconnects, however, the emphasis has been focused mainly on devices and components rather than systems. The Small Scale Systems Packaging Center meets the critical packaging challenges in the development of small scale systems and as a result, creates new opportunities for national security. The work done at the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center is focused on developing new lightweight electronics and materials for aviation systems, military clothing capable of sensing a soldier’s health and environmental and future unmanned systems, and sensor systems integration for use in harsh environments. In FY 05, the Small Scale Systems Packaging Center received $1 million. The Senators continued support of this facility in FY 06 is critical for the New York economy.

$3 million of the federal funding will also go L-3 Communications for the Gunner-Crew Chief Station. The money will be used to develop a Helicopter Door Gunner and Crew Chief Trainer allowing for the training of crewmembers in operating weapons systems on helicopters. The project responds to an urgent request established by Commanding General, 101st Airborne-Air Assault Division in preparation for deployment of air-assault forces to Iraq. The funding will allow for better technology and better training for soldiers in combat.

$20 million in federal funds will go to Schweizer Aircraft to help support the development of the Fire Scout RQ-8 Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) to be used by the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Fire Scout VTUAV is in the final stages of development. Its primary role will be to provide Navy and Marine personnel with information about combat situations and precision targeting on the sea and ashore. The Fire Scout's long endurance, excellent performance, sophisticated payloads, ability to take off and land vertically, and autonomous operating capability make it uniquely able to provide long range surveillance and targeting under the most demanding of tactical conditions.

The Fire Scout's dynamic system is derived Schweizer's Model 333 turbine helicopter, which has been proven by over 20 million flight hours. With vehicle endurance greater than six hours, Fire Scout is capable of extended continuous operations. The Fire Scout will be able to fly 110 nautical miles from launch site, stay aloft for three hours, and then return.

Over 5700 sailplanes, helicopters, agricultural aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft, designed and manufactured by Schweizer Aircraft, are operated in more than 70 countries around the world.

Finally, the bill contains $935.9 million in federal funds from the President’s Budget for the Lockheed Martin-led Team’s US101 project, to provide the next generation VH-71 presidential helicopter to the White House as a safe and secure "Oval Office in the Sky" for America's Commander in Chief. The US101 – the name given to the American variant of the highly successful EH101 medium-lift helicopter – was designed as a highly agile and maneuverable military aircraft. Three engines ensure maximum safety, payload and range at altitudes up to 15,000 feet. The US101 will have such reserves of power and built-in capacity to accommodate additional mission technologies and payload.

The Senate Appropriations Committee included $440 billion in the bill which now heads to the floor for a full vote before the Senate. A vote is expected in the coming weeks, and after final passage a Conference Committee will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill before Congress gives final approval to the legislation and sends it to the President to become law.

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