Schumer Lobbies Colin Powell To Support Lockheed Martin's Bid For Major Job-Creating Copter Contract
Schumer tells Secretary of State Powell that Lockheed's US 101 is best for presidential chopper contract because of its proven track record, larger cabin, three engines for additional flight safety, and Lockheed's giant reputation in the field
Schumer: In this instance, selecting a helicopter produced with two of US's most devoted allies can help strengthen crucial ties with partners in
US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Secretary of State Colin Powell to use his influence to help award Lockheed Martin's Owego plant with a massive multimillion dollar presidential helicopter contract. Schumer urged Powell to help deliver the contract to Lockheed by emphasizing the superiority of Lockheed's US 101, a helicopter that has seen service in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. If Lockheed Martin were to get the contract to build helicopters that transport the president, local officials believe it could result in hundreds of new jobs coming to Owego.
"When I was at the Lockheed plant last month, I said I would pull out all the stops to try to bring this contract home and that's what I'm doing," Schumer said. "I'm putting the pressure on Secretary Powell because he understands that we need the best helicopter out there to transport the President. That helicopter is the US 101. Delivering this contract to the Lockheed plant is good for the local economy, and our delegation should leave no stone unturned in trying to get it done."
In August, the US Navy selected Lockheed Martin and United Technology Corporations Sikorsky Aircraft unit to compete for the contract to build the new Marine One helicopter fleet that will fly the President. The proposals were submitted February 2 and Lockheed will learn of its fate by May. The presidential fleet contract, which could be the first of several big defense contracts over the next few years, could result in hundreds of new jobs at Lockheed's Owego plant, according to the company.
The Lockheed Martin US 101 offers a cabin onethird larger than the competition and has three engines for additional flight safety. In addition, it has a proven track record, having logged more than 45,000 flight hours and seen service in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to Lockheed Martin, the US 101 will be equipped with an enhanced Defensive Aids Suite as well as stateoftheart communications equipment, and will provide improvements in safety, travel range, the ability to operate in bad weather, and a number of other critical areas. LMO established itself as a key provider of military technology in the 1950s and has since been a global leader in providing advanced technology products and services for the US armed forces.
Schumer said that while the Lockheed Martin team is partially English and Italian, he supports the US 101 bid because it could create 700 jobs in Owego, and because the Lockheed helicopter is uniquely equipped to handle transporting the President. "I strongly support the US101 program, and feel that the helicopter's unique capabilities make it ideally suited to serve as the next Presidential helicopter," Schumer wrote in a letter today to Secretary Powell. "In this one instance, I also believe that by selecting a helicopter produced with two of our nation's most devoted allies, the United States can strengthen crucial ties with our European partners in the war on terror."
The contract on the Presidential fleet would allow the selected company to lead production of presidential helicopters that fly the President from the White House lawn to local destinations or to Air Force One for longer trips. The aircrafts would be delivered by 2007. Schumer has also lobbied the Defense Department on Lockheed's behalf