Military budget could benefit local Sikorsky plant

Published 3:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is asking the Navy to request more Sikorsky-made Seahawk helicopters in the upcoming military budget, which could directly impact Troy’s manufacturing facility.

Roby joined with other Members of Congress from Connecticut and New York, where other Sikorsky facilities are located, in a letter to Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley making the case for more Seahawk production.

The order for more helicopters could increase production at the local facility that employs over 600 people.

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“I’ve been to the production line in Troy several times and seen the workers in action” Roby said. “They are highly trained professionals who take a great deal of pride in the work they do on behalf of the Armed Forces. I’m proud to go to bat for them and to make sure our military has what it needs to keep our country safe.

“The Seahawk helicopter is the workhorse of the Navy aviation fleet, and we know they will need more units in the future. It only makes sense to budget for it now and keep those supply lines working, rather than wait and face a potential costly disruption down the road.”

Roby also spoke on the floor of the House Wednesday to support the 2017 Defense Appropriations bill, which ultimately passed.

The $578 billion bill includes benefits to regional locations such as Fort Rucker and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base.

“I am proud to represent a district that is home to both Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation, and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the intellectual center of the Air Force,” Roby said. “I’m pleased to report that this bill contains a strong budget for Army Aviation. It also contains an increase for the Air Force’s cyber security efforts.

“The bill also contains funding for the procurement of 74 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Montgomery-based 187th Fighter Wing is on the short list for being assigned this next-generation fighter jet.”

Specifically, the bill includes:

• $187 million for 28 new Lakota helicopters, which are the primary training aircraft at Fort Rucker’s Army Aviation Center of Excellence;

• A $450 million increase in the Air Force’s cyber security budget. Maxwell’s Cyber College at Air University plays a key part in cyber security, serving as an intellectual hub for the Air Force;

• Funding for 74 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters; The Montgomery-based 187th Fighter Wing is on the short list for being assigned this next-generation fighter jet.