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Lockheed Martin Owego awarded major combat rescue helicopter contract 

WASHINGTON - The United States Air Force awarded a $1.28 billion contract to Sikorsky Aircraft and Lockheed Martin Owego to begin building a new fleet of Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH).

This is the first phase of funding for the Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin team, which will eventually construct 112 CRHs for a total contract amount that could reach $8 billion. This contract is expected to sustain a large portion of the workforce at Lockheed Martin Owego for the next decade and create hundreds of other indirect jobs at local vendors and suppliers. Schumer fought for years to ensure that building a new fleet of CRHs continued to be a priority for the USAF, after the program’s future – and a potential major contract for Lockheed Martin Owego – was brought into doubt due to an internal USAF restructuring debate. On the heels of the recent announcement that a new fleet of Marine One helicopters – used to transport the President of the United States – will also be partly manufactured by Lockheed Martin Owego, this latest announcement firmly cements the Southern Tier as one of the leading helicopter systems design centers in the world, something that is expected to drive job growth for decades to come. Schumer was joined at the rally by Lockheed Martin employees who will be installing the Combat Rescue Helicopters’ Mission Communications Systems, as well as Dale Bennett, Executive Vice President, Mission Systems and Training; and Dan Spoor, Vice President and General Manager, Aviation and Unmanned Systems.

“This contract is another major win for Tioga County and the entire Southern Tier economy, and I will keep fighting to bring more federal contracts to New York so that we can continue to create good-paying, high skilled jobs,” said Schumer. “Our troops put themselves in harm’s way every single day, and we must do all we can to ensure we have the tools and technology at our disposal to keep them safe. These new combat rescue helicopters will play a major role in ensuring that our troops can be evacuated safely from whatever dangerous situation they face, and I am proud that the Southern Tier will have a hand in producing this incredible new aircraft.”

Combat Rescue Helicopters are used by the military to extricate troops from dangerous situations and bring them home safely. Lockheed Martin Owego will be specifically tasked with developing the defensive systems, data links, mission computers, adverse weather sensors, mission planning system and system integration of the CRH. Schumer explained that the new CRH fleet is necessary because the current fleet of rescue aircraft dates back to the 1970s, and is now outdated after years of chronic use and combat damage.