Sikorsky speaks out against ‘wasteful spending’

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

As part of a seven state “Road Show” senior executives from United Technologies Corp. (UTC) visited Sikorsky Tuesday.

The purpose of the visit was to encourage employees to support the Department of Defense and President Barack Obama in what UTC calls “wasteful Congressional spending for an unwanted military jet engine.”

Sikorsky is a subsidiary company of UTC, which is the overall 18th largest manufacturer in the country.

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U.S. Congress has supported the funding of the development of a backup engine for the F-35 Joint strike Fighter, despite opposition from the last two presidential administrations, the last two secretaries of defense and top uniformed leaders.

Pratt & Whitney is the manufacturer of the engine currently being used for the F-35.

“We are here making sure they understand the issue,” said Jay DeFrank, Vice President of Communications for Pratt & Whitney.

“I would suggest they support the men and women in uniform and the Secretary of Defense and advocate the elimination of wasteful spending.”

UTC said that over the last five years, Congress has funneled billions into the program taking away from other things needed by troops.

“The money has got to come from somewhere, that’s an item that people should be concerned of,” DeFrank said.

“There are more pressing needs.”

The House of Representatives voted to approve the continued development of the engine by General Electric and Rolls Royce about two weeks ago.

DeFrank said that proponents of the program argue it prevents a Pratt & Whitney monopoly on the weaponry development and promotes competition.

“The argument on competition is a compelling argument unless you look at it closely,” he said.

DeFrank explained that competition had already taken place at the contractor level as it does in most comparable programs.

He also reiterated the fact that experts just weren’t on board.

“The Department of Defense says they don’t want it and don’t need it,” he said.

“Competition makes sense when it saves you money not when it costs you money.”

DeFrank urged not only Sikorsky employees, but American taxpayers and those who support servicemen and women to urge their local elected officials to “end the wasteful spending.”

Congressman Bobby Bright, who was one of the majority who voted in support of the backup engine program, could not be reached for comment.