Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 5:37:53 AM

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Schumer: Two Helicopter Contracts Could Bring Hundreds of Jobs to Owego

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw ever closer to their ends, Senator Charles Schumer says he is working to move two contracts forward that would bring hundreds of defense jobs to the Southern Tier.

"We're playing a little offense, were playing a little defense, and were making sure to do everything we can to make sure contracts planned for Lockheed stay on course," he said.

One of those contracts are for the combat rescue helicopters.  Schumer says if Lockheed wins the contract for the CRH, it will mean about 250 new jobs at the Owego facility.  The new choppers will replace the current models which Schumer called antiquated and ill equipped.

"This is one of the most sacred missions our military has, one of the great traditions of the United States is we never abandon our men and women in the field and you need a top notch helicopter to do rescue," Schumer said.

The status of that contract will be decided in October.

The other contract is for a new fleet of Marine One helicopters which, if approved, means another 250 jobs.  Lockheed Martin was awarded the previous contract in 2005 before the program was cancelled four years later.  Now, Lockheed is making a joint proposal for the contract with Sikorsky Aircraft.

"We recognized that Sikorsky had a great helicopter and by bringing in their helicopter with a half a million flight hours, very mature, and then bring in the Lockheed experience from the previous program, it's low risk, it's affordable," said Dan Spoor, General Manager at Lockheed Martin Owego.

"I'm here to pledge to you that I will put a full-court press to get this helicopter approved, no one disagrees that we need it, no one disagrees that the existing helicopter is outdated," Schumer said.

Schumer says he will use all of his political clout to make sure that when both helicopters finally take off,  they're are stamped with "Made in Owego, New York."


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