Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced Lockheed Martin in Owego, who is partnered with Sikorsky, will receive a new Navy contract worth $1.26 billion in total to build a new fleet of Marine One helicopters that are used to transport the President. The Navy contract is expected to create or sustain approximately 200 new high-skilled jobs in Owego. In 2009, Schumer secured a continuance of Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the VH-71 Presidential helicopters and visited Lockheed Martin Owego last year to support the Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin bid for the new fleet of Marine One helicopters, calling Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning to underline his support.
“Having Marine One helicopters partially made in Owego will bring new jobs to Lockheed, prestige and pride to the region, and help the local economy take flight,” said Schumer. “Lockheed Martin is truly a flagship New York company that is an anchor for jobs and economic development in the entire Southern Tier. Bringing new federal contracts to New York has been, and will continue to be, one of my highest priorities because they create good-paying, high skilled jobs.”
“This long-awaited Marine One contract will support hundreds of good-paying manufacturing jobs for New Yorkers,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Upstate New York’s proud manufacturing tradition put us on the map and helped give flight to the Marine One helicopters. And by securing strong investments like this, we can continue to attract new businesses and new jobs that can support a family, and strengthen our economy. This is how we can see more ‘Made in America’ manufacturing again.”
Lockheed Martin partnered with the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation to bid on the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program. Lockheed Martin will perform the installation of the Mission Communications Systems, Advanced Capabilities, and apply executive aircraft paint. The aircraft will be manufactured by Sikorsky in Connecticut, with subsequent work on systems integration, and mission equipment and electronics installation performed at the Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, home to state-of-the-art facilities and more than 40 years of skills and experience in rotary wing integration. The current fleet of presidential helicopters is comprised of Sikorsky Black Hawk/Sea King models that are 35 and 40 years old, and they are in desperate need of replacing. The Navy contract is for a fleet of 23 new presidential helicopters, 21 for use and 2 for testing.
In 2005, it was proposed that a new Marine One fleet be built, but in 2009, the contract intended for Lockheed Martin Owego was brought into question. Senator Schumer worked with leaders in the Administration and appropriators to mitigate damage and negative job impact by negotiating a compromise that provided $100 million in funding to Lockheed Martin for mission systems and other technology work associated with the VH-71 program. As a result, 250 engineer jobs were saved at the Lockheed Martin Owego location, which helped minimize job losses.