The United States Senate is considering two helicopter programs. The programs are for Lockheed Martin helicopters. The amount of funding for the two programs will total $2 billion. Both of the programs will take place in Owego, New York.
Charles Schumer, a United States Senator, confirmed the bill. According to Schumer, the fiscal year of 2019 will attribute $1.1 billion to the CRH Combat Rescue Helicopter program; the VH-92 Presidential Helicopter Replacement program will receive $894.8 million. Schumer described the two programs as “the crown jewels of the Southern Tier economy.” Schumer also said that the programs are important to the defense of the United States.
“I am so proud that we fought for and delivered this massive federal investment to keep the world-class Lockheed Martin workforce doing what they do best: making the most advanced and effective helicopters in the world,” Schumer said. He also said that it would “keep good-paying jobs in the Southern Tiers and keep our military service members and government officials safe.”
Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, commented on the helicopter programs. According to Brown, Sikorsky has performed government testing in August 2018 on the VH-92A helicopter. “We continue to work closely with our customer to ensure the aircraft meets all operational requirements,” Brown said. “The VH-92A will continue this legacy for decades to come.”
Brown also expressed appreciation for Schumer’s support of the helicopter programs. He said he was thankful for Schumer’s “continued support of on-site programs such as the Combat Rescue Helicopter and Presidential Helicopter, and ensuring those programs receive the required funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget.”
The Defense Appropriations bill—if passed—will provide funding for two different helicopter programs.
The company Sikorsky has flown every commander in chief since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The VH-92 Presidential Helicopter Replacement program is taking place in Connecticut at the Sikorsky plant. Out of the $894.8 million, $649 million is for procurement, and $245.1 million will be devoted to development and research.
The CRH Combat Rescue helicopter program is divided up with $660.4 million for procurement and $445.7 million for research and development.
The Defense Appropriations bill will be voted on in the upcoming weeks by the United States House of Representatives.
In March 2018, two other helicopters programs secured federal funding. The MH-Romeo and Sierra programs both secured funding; the two helicopters are used by the United States Navy for search and rescue missions, surface warfare, and sub hunting. The total amount of federal funding totaled to $1.2 billion. Back in the beginning of the year, Lockheed Martin opened up 200 different jobs between the Owego site and the Syracuse site. All of these jobs were technical jobs; 100 of these jobs were at the Owego site.
The VH-92A has gone through rigorous testing, with over 250 hours which started back in July 2017. Spencer Elani, the director of the VH-92A program at Sikorsky, described the first flight of the helicopter as an “important milestone.”
Spencer said, “Having independently tested the aircraft’s components and subsystems, we are now moving forward to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program.”
The Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter is designed to meet high threat requirements and be capable of long-range missions, expanding on the legacy of the Black Hawk.