Defense bill brings big

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 15, 2000

bucks to South Alabama


Staff Writer

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Oct. 14, 2000 10 PM

The United States House of Representatives has passed a defense bill that will bring $1.4 billion to Southeast Alabama.

By a 382-31 vote the 2001 Defense Authorization Act Conference Report passed the House earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Enterprise, announced.

Of that more than $1 billion, $840 million will be going to Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations and a another $210 million will be spent at Sikorsky Support Services Inc. in Troy.

Everett, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the $310 billion defense authorization bill that passed the House on Oct. 11, includes funding approval for new helicopter and missile systems assembly work that will have a positive impact on jobs in Pike County. It will also benefit GKN-Westland in Tallassee and Montgomery and U.S. Helicopter in Ozark.

"The legislation, which sets the spending for the U.S. military for the coming year, must now pass the U.S. Senate before receiving the president’s signature," Everett said.

"This new defense spending legislation also includes Colombian anti-drug assistance funding approved earlier this year by the House, which directly benefits Southeast Alabama defense contractors in Tallassee, Troy and Ozark."

The new defense budget includes the following being produced by Lockheed Martin: $285 million for the Longbow missile, $337 million for the Javelin missile, $55 million for Hellfire II missiles, $120 million for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff missiles and $43 million of Predator missiles.

"We are very excited that Congressman Everett continues to do so much to support defense programs like the ones here," said Randy Stevenson, plant manager for Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations.

He said the funding will keep the 193 current employees and provide for continued growth at the facility.

SSSI will benefit from $210 million in orders for SH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters, which provide anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare support for the Navy fleet.

Sikorsky is also set to train Colombian pilots for the 19 UH-60 helicopters which GKN will help produce for anti-drug use in Columbia.

Questions regarding how Sikorsky will benefit were referred to the Stratford, Conn. office.

In addition to the local companies, others in the region will also benefit.

The new defense budget orders $5.1 million for a Global Combat Support System, developed in part by Lockheed Martin Federal Systems in Montgomery, which provides capability to the Air Force in addition to the program oversight conducted by the Standard Systems Group at Maxwell-Gunter.

GKN Composites in Tallassee will benefit from the $361 million budgeted for the production of H-60 helicopters. GKN is the largest supplier of composite parts for Sikorsky’s Black hawk helicopter line and will become an even larger partner in the production of the H-60 helicopter. GKN is also slated to produce composite parts for 18 new UH-60 helicopters for use in Colombian drug interdiction efforts.

US Helicopter in Ozark will receive $6 million to partially refurbish and upgrade UH-1 helicopters for the Marines. US Helicopter is also participating in the Columbia anti-drug program by helping refurbish 42 UH-1H Huey II helicopters for the Colombian military and national police. Each aircraft is expected to cost $2 million to produce.