Casey Calls on Defense Department to Enter Into a New Contract With Ridley Boeing Plant to Protect 2,000 Local Jobs

DOD Budget Due to Be Submitted Soon - Ridley Plant Must be Included for Contract to be Renewed

Chinook Helicopter Production at Ridley Plant Employs 2,000 - Saves Government $500M Over Other Manufacturers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today called on the Department of Defense (DOD) to support the production of Chinook helicopters at Boeing’s Ridley Township plant to ensure a continued supply of the critical helicopter and protect the thousands of local jobs tied to their production. 

The Ridley plant’s current contract to produce the Chinook helicopters is due to expire at the end of the fiscal year and must be included in the Defense Department’s proposed budget in order to be renewed. With the Defense Department set to submit their budget by the end of the month, Senator Casey today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and announced his strong support to get the contract renewed and preserve 2,000 local jobs.

“Manufacturing Chinook helicopters in Ridley Township produces jobs, grows our economy and actually saves the government money. Renewing this contract just makes sense,” Senator Casey said. “A decision from the Defense Department that will impact 2,000 local jobs is only weeks away, so I strongly urge the Department of Defense to ensure that the Chinook helicopter remains ‘Made in PA.’ ”

Ridley Township’s Boeing Plant has been a job creating force in the region and recently opened a new production line to produce Chinooks, the facility’s primary work. Boeing recently submitted an application to produce 155 more Chinooks over the next four years. The Ridley plant receiving the contract from the Defense Department would sustain 2,000 jobs in the community and also save the Defense Department $500 million over alternate manufacturers.

Today, standing with members of the plant’s workforce, Senator Casey called on the Defense Department to include the Ridley Township plant in its upcoming budget request and vowed to do all that he can to see that it is supported by Congress in the appropriations process to ensure the continued employment of Pennsylvania’s workers.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter to Secretary Panetta is below: 

Dear Mr. Secretary,

As you consider the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Defense appropriations request, I ask that you take into consideration a program that continues to provide critical warfighting and force projection capabilities for our men and women and uniform, as well as offer savings and returning value to the taxpayer.  The CH-47 Chinook has been in operation since the early 1960’s and has proven its durability and utility in a variety of combat and humanitarian aid roles.

The CH-47 Chinook is the backbone of the Army’s medium-heavy lift capability.  Deployed in combat zones and throughout the rest of the world, the CH-47 not only moves troops and equipment but also flies critical missions that include medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, civil development, disaster relief, and search and rescue.  Both the Army and Special Operations Command are fully modernizing the CH-47 fleets into the advanced CH-47F and MH-47G designs, respectively, so that the platform can continue to perform its vital missions well into the future.

A new CH-47 Chinook multi-year procurement contract would provide stability to the manufacturing base while reaping significant savings over single-year procurement contracts, savings that according to the manufacturer could equal more than $500 million.  I urge the Department to request a new multi-year procurement contract authorization for the CH-47 in its upcoming budget request to Congress.  There is no doubt as to the operational effectiveness of the Chinook, and additional aircraft should be purchased in order to meet existing military requirements. 

Thank you for your exemplary service to our Nation.  I look forward to working with you on this issue.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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