Congressman Brindisi Announces Presidential Helicopter Program to Resume at Lockheed
The storied Marine-One Helicopter Program at Lockheed Martin is about to open yet another chapter of its on-again-off-again relationship with Washington.
Speaking with WNBF's Roger Neel on Binghamton Now February 18, Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D, Utica) announced part of the final National Defense Authorization Act includes investment in the replacement of a half-dozen VH-92A helicopters, otherwise known as the Marine One Presidential helicopters.
Over a decade ago, Lockheed was working on a new generation of helicopters for the presidential fleet when the program ran into cost overruns and was ash-canned after President Barack Obama famously said he thought the current fleet of air craft was just fine at the time. In 2005, late Senator John McCain asked why a fleet of brand-new helicopters was needed at a cost of close to $12-million, close to double the cost of the original contract.
The latest plans is for Lockheed Martin in Owego to install the mission equipment package in the aircraft
In addition to the $647-million helicopter funding, Brindisi said he worked to secure funding to modify the Navy's MH-60 search and rescue helicopters and close to $90-million for a High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler & Surveillance, or HELIOS, laser weapon system for the Navy. Owego workers will be manufacturing beam integration components.
Lockheed has announced 118 job openings in Owego and Syracuse will be filled this year.