07.06.17

SCHUMER TOURS LOCKHEED MARTIN’S NAVAL HELICOPTER PRODUCTION HANGAR; SENATOR URGES U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO CONTINUE INVESTING IN UPSTATE NY & RENEWS PROMISE TO PROTECT AND SUPPORT SOUTHERN TIER JOBS

Schumer Has Long Fought For Funding That Helps Keep Helicopter Programs On Track & Maintain Southern Tier Jobs – Last Year Senator Secured Millions In Funding For New Fleet Of Presidential & Combat Rescue Helicopters

Schumer: Federal Investment Is Critical For Lockheed Martin Owego, Which Is At The Forefront Of Many Of The Most Important Helicopter Programs In World 

Schumer To DOD: Southern Tier Workers Are Efficient, Dependable And Talented – Producing Aircraft and Technology Important To Our National Security

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today visited Lockheed Martin’s state-of-the-art facility in Owego, he met with top executives and renewed his effort to protect and support New York jobs – like the thousands at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Owego, at other New York Lockheed Martin facilities and 60 suppliers across the state.  Schumer called on Defense Secretary James Mattis to continue investing in key helicopter programs that are of critical importance to both our national security and to regional economies, like the Southern Tier. Schumer said that the Navy’s MH-60 R/S, VH-92A Presidential Helicopter programs and the Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter program each has an important presence in Upstate New York, supporting more than 1,000 engineering, manufacturing, and production jobs across the industrial base. In addition, Schumer highlighted that continued federal investment will prove critical as these aircraft age and new national security threats emerge across the globe.

"Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Owego is one of the best in the business, and the workers there are world-class. They manufacture helicopters and other weapons systems our men and women in uniform rely on to protect our nation from threats. Employing thousands of workers from the Southern Tier, Lockheed Martin has added greatly to the regional economy. That’s why I’ve gone to the top of the DoD chain of command, Defense Secretary Mattis, to ensure that the DoD continues to prioritize the Lockheed Martin Owego’s projects,” said Senator Schumer. “You can bet that I will be fighting tooth and nail in Washington to ensure that Lockheed Martin continues to receive the federal investment it needs to not only protect, but grow, jobs here in the Southern Tier and Upstate New York.”

During his stop, Schumer toured Lockheed Martin’s MH-60 hangar and joined executives for an update on key helicopter programs executed from the Owego facility. He also received a briefing of opportunities on the horizon that will support the existing workforce and provide potential opportunities for growth. Schumer pledged his ongoing support of the Combat Rescue Helicopter, the Presidential Helicopter and MH-60R/S and pressed DoD to ensure the programs remain a priority. He also committed to working with company leadership on future projects that will enhance the preparedness of our military and support local workforce.

Schumer said, “The helicopter programs manufactured at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Owego play key roles in the security and defense of the country domestically and abroad, and I will do all I can to make sure they are fully invested in.”

The Combat Rescue Helicopter performs critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations across the services. Over the past few years, these helicopters have participated in countless missions in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of our Joint and Coalition forces. The Presidential Helicopter Program (VH-92A) is the replacement helicopter for aging in service fleet of the VH-3D and VH-60N. The VH-92A helicopters provide safe and timely transportation for the President and Vice-President of the United States, as well as other heads of state, and support the Presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission. Finally, the MH-60 Romeo Naval Hawk is designed to support several of the Navy's various helicopter requirements. The Romeo’s primary missions are Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) and SUW as well as Search and Rescue and Humanitarian Missions. 

Schumer has a long history of fighting for work critical to national security and defense at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Owego. As budget deliberations begin for the upcoming fiscal year, Schumer has again gone to bat for the programs that have proven essential to national security needs and regional economic health. In a recent meeting with Navy Secretary Nominee Richard Spencer, Schumer expressed the importance of these programs to the military and to Upstate New York. Schumer urged the nominee to continue prioritizing these programs if confirmed. In addition, Schumer has written to Secretary of Defense James Mattis underscoring the significance these Naval programs, along with the Air Force’s Combat Rescue helicopter, have to both the state and to equipping our troops with the best technology and aircraft.  

A copy of Schumer’s letter to Secretary Mattis appears below.

Dear Secretary Mattis:

I write to urge your continued support for three helicopter programs that are important to our national security and to regional economies across the country: The Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter (CSAR Recapitalization), the Presidential Helicopter (Executive Helo Development) and MH-60 Romeo Helicopter programs. Each of these platforms has an important presence in New York, supporting over 1,000 engineering, manufacturing, and production jobs. While the Department’s support of funding for these programs is important to industry and rural economies in places across our nation, like Owego, New York, a continued investment is more important as these aircraft age and new security threats emerge.

The Combat Rescue Helicopter performs critical combat rescue and personnel recovery operations across the services. Over the past few years, these helicopters have participated in countless missions in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of our Joint and Coalition forces. The USAF needs to replace the current aging combat rescue helicopter fleet with aircraft capable of performing the demanding personnel recovery missions, including combat rescue and casualty evacuation. I ask for your support of this program in Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond.

The Presidential Helicopter Program (VH-92A) is the replacement helicopter for the VH-3D and VH-60N. This new fleet of VH-92A helicopters will continue providing safe and timely transportation for the President and Vice-President of the United States, as well as other heads of state and support the Presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission. I ask for your continued support of this program to ensure that replacement remains on schedule.

The MH-60 Romeo Naval Hawk is designed to support multi-mission helicopter requirements. The Romeo’s primary missions are Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) and SUW as well as Search and Rescue and Humanitarian Missions. Additional aircraft are needed per the Navy’s new Force Structure Assessment. The current fleet of MH-60 aircraft are approaching the end of their service life due to high demand on the fleet. Based on age and aircraft utilization rates, the Navy will have to replace their in the mid-2030s.  This will result in an inventory gap in the mid-2030’s. To mitigate this shortfall, the Navy is planning a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) beginning with the MH-60S in approximately 2023. While a SLEP is required to extend the life of the current fleet taking these aircraft out of service to perform the SLEP creates an inventory shortfall. To avoid a shortfall in inventory, I ask for your support SLEP Research and Development funds in FY18, as well as funding for mid-life upgrades.

Thank you for your attention to these items. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office for any questions.

Sincerely, 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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