SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO SECURE FED INVESTMENT THAT WILL SUPPORT UPSTATE JOBS AT LOCKHEED MARTIN; SENATOR SAYS INCREASING F-35 PROGRAM WILL BE SHOT IN THE ARM FOR REGION AND EMPLOYEES
Schumer Says F-35 Is Expected To Ensure Future Air Superiority For US Military And, If Program Is Fully Funded, Could Lead To Growth At Major Aircraft Manufacturers Like Lockheed Martin
Schumer Urges Senate Defense Appropriations Committee To Fully Fund And Allow For Increased Production Of The F-35 Fleet – Senator Says Additional $100 Million Proposed For F-35 Program Could Support And Sustain 150 Jobs In Upstate NY
Schumer: Full Funding & Increased Need For Aircraft Could Mean “Lift Off” For Lockheed Martin Production
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to fully fund and continue supporting increased production rates for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Schumer said this move would not only support the stealth aircraft that US military services and many US allies rely on for air superiority during threats without sustaining significant losses, but it could also mean growth for aircraft manufacturers like Lockheed Martin in Upstate NY. Schumer said the additional $100 million the Senate has proposed for the program, along with the manufacturing of 11 new aircraft proposed by the House of Representatives, would have the potential to support and sustain 50 jobs at Lockheed’s Salina plant in Onondaga County and 100 jobs at its Owego plant in Tioga County.
“The aircraft and critical aircraft components made at Lockheed’s facilities in Salina and Owego are not only vital to maintaining local jobs and supporting the Upstate NY economy via many jobs through the supply chain, but they also help keep our troops serving around the world safe. I’m urging the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to approve the full funding and increased production needed to get this stealth aircraft off the ground, so we can provide the tools our brave men and women serving overseas need as well as power up New York’s economy,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I have fought long and hard for the kind of funding and federal programs that help support Upstate New York companies like Lockheed, and I will continue going to bat for them time and time again. Supporting this program would allow us to remain at the vanguard of military readiness and capability, as well as support good-paying, local jobs right across Central New York and the Southern Tier.”
Schumer penned a letter with Senators Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH] and John Cornyn [R-TX], where they urged the Defense Appropriations Committee to continue supporting increased funding and production rates at this critical juncture for the F-35 program. Schumer explained that the F-35’s advanced capabilities are critical to maintaining air superiority in surface-to-air and air-to-air threat environments, while avoiding significant losses. Therefore, the lawmakers said it is necessary to continue increasing F-35 production at a rate sufficient to meet future threats and to reach full-rate production of at least 120 U.S. aircraft per year as quickly as possible.
The House defense appropriations bill added 11 F-35s for the US military, in addition to the 43 for the Air Force, 16 for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy that are already included in the bill. The Senate bill added $100 million to the $10.1 billion requested or Fiscal Year 2017, in order to significantly increase F-35 advance procurement and help the Air Force increase its ramp rate in Fiscal Year 2018. Schumer and his fellow senators are pushing the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to support the 11 aircraft added by the House and the $100 million in additional F-35 advance procurement included in the Senate bill. Schumer said this could pave the way for increased production at major companies that manufacture military aircraft as well as its parts, like Lockheed Martin. Schumer said this kind of $100 million advance procurement contract would support roughly 150 jobs across Upstate NY, and could mean additional economic development opportunities for suppliers across the region as well.
A copy of the Cornyn-Shaheen letter – which Schumer signed – to the Defense Appropriations Committee appears below:
Dear Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Durbin:
As you continue your work on Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations, we write in strong support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and urge you to continue supporting increased production rates at this critical juncture for the program. As you are aware, the F-35 is the nation’s only 5th Generation stealth aircraft currently in production. It is the backbone of future air superiority for three U.S. military services and many of our most important allies. The F-35’s advanced capabilities are critical to maintaining air superiority in future surface-to-air and air-to-air threat environments without sustaining significant losses. Events around the globe continue to demonstrate the urgent need for the F-35’s capabilities. The program is gaining momentum, with the Marine Corps declaring initial operating capability (IOC) last year and the Air Force declaring IOC this summer. We believe it is essential for Congress to provide the funding necessary to continue increasing F-35 production at a rate sufficient to meet future threats and to reach full-rate production of at least 120 U.S. aircraft per year as quickly as possible.
Both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations bills would increase the production rate for the F-35 program. The House bill added 11 F-35s (five F-35As, four F-35Cs and two F-35Bs) for all three services to fulfill their unfunded requirements, while the Senate bill added four (two F-35Bs and two F-35Cs). Increasing the production rate is the single most important factor in reducing future aircraft unit costs. Additionally, significantly increasing production is critical to fielding F-35s in the numbers needed to meet the expected threats in the mid-2020s. Furthermore, the Senate bill added $100 million to significantly increase F-35A advance procurement to help the Air Force increase its ramp rate in Fiscal Year 2018. We encourage you to support the 11 aircraft added by the House and the $100 million in additional F-35A advance procurement included in the Senate bill.
Finally, we are concerned with the significant cuts to Follow-On-Modernization (FOM) included in the Senate bill. These cuts would delay FOM capability upgrades needed to ensure the F-35 stays ahead of increasing future threats. We urge you to restore as much of this funding as possible.
Thank you for your continued steadfast support for the F-35 program and for all you do to support our nation’s armed forces.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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