More than 200 suppliers from across the nation traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with their Members of Congress and urged them to support regular, predictable and sustainable funding for the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier construction and maintenance program.
The suppliers are members of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC), which represents the jobs and businesses in 46 states that contribute parts, services and support for the construction and maintenance of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.
These businesses hire and train skilled craftsmen, make investments in capital, technology and inventory, and build detailed business plans based on long-range carrier construction and maintenance schedules.
“Each year the supply chain needs to know if funding is coming so we can prepare inventory, allocate resources and hire and train skilled workers – decisions that must occur well in advance of the start of work,” said Rick Giannini, ACIBC chairman and president & CEO of Milwaukee Valve Company in New Berlin, Wisconsin. “Building new carriers every five years and undertaking maintenance on a regular schedule keeps the industrial base viable and strong. When there is uncertainty in funding for the aircraft carrier program it provides no clear direction on how suppliers can or should plan for the future.”
To kick off the advocacy campaign, earlier this month ACIBC leadership sent a letter to congressional leadership urging Congress to support the advanced purchase of materials needed for the construction of the next two U.S. Navy Ford-class aircraft carriers, Enterprise (CVN 80) and theyet-to-be-named CVN 81. Buying materials in advance for the construction of the next two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers will save taxpayers as much as $500 million dollars over the course of their construction and will provide companies greater predictability and stability.
At Wednesday’s night dinner, U.S. Representative Peter Visclosky (D-IN-01), Ranking Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09), Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke to the Coalition about the supply chain’s role as job creators and as an important part of the national defense industrial base.
Congressman Visclosky told the audience, “We need a strong industrial base. A strong industrial base leads to a strong defense. We need a strong industrial base that can operate our ships yards, build our nuclear engines, create unsurpassable weapons systems, and manufacture our steel.”
Congresswoman Kaptur, whose district has businesses that contribute substantially to the carrier program, stated, “In an uncertain world, we must develop a defense budget that meets the needs of our troops, improves our national security and helps to maintain a sustainable and reliable defense industrial base. In order for the Navy to be ‘where it matters, when it matters’ that starts with a fleet of at least 11 aircraft carriers and a robust supply chain to maintain it.”
ACIBC members met with their Members of Congress to ask for predictable and sustainable funding to the carrier program including:
Learn more about ACIBC and aircraft carriers, please visit: www.ACIBC.org
The Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC) represents businesses that supply parts, equipment and services for the construction and maintenance of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Established in 2004, ACIBC seeks to preserve the strength of the aircraft carrier force and promote the value of the aircraft carrier industrial base as a vital part of the nation's overall defense structure.
ACIBC businesses provide all the valves, wiring, steel, motors, and thousands of other parts that make these ships the most technologically advanced ships in the world.
In total, more than 1,110 small, mid-sized and large businesses from 46 states, and 279 congressional districts, contribute parts, services and support to the construction and maintenance of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.
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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), today announced the successful first flight of the U.S. Marine Corps’ CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter prototype, known as Engineering Development Model-1 (EDM-1). The 30-minute flight signals the beginning of a 2,000-hour flight test program using four test aircraft.
“EDM-1’s first flight signifies another major milestone for the CH-53K helicopter program,” said Mike Torok, Sikorsky’s CH-53K Program Vice President. “Having independently tested the aircraft’s many components and subsystems, including integrated system level testing on the Ground Test Vehicle, we are now moving on to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program.”
Sikorsky delivered the EDM-1 into the test program at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Development Flight Center in late 2014. During its 30 minute maiden flight the EDM-1 aircraft performed hover, sideward, rearward and forward flight control inputs while in ground effect hover up to 30 feet above the ground. As the flight test program proceeds, the EDM-1 will be joined by an additional 3 EDM aircraft to fully expand the King Stallion’s flight envelope over the course of the three-year flight test program.
“We have entered a much anticipated phase in this developmental program,” said Col. Hank Vanderborght, U.S. Marine Corps Program Manager for Heavy Lift Helicopters. “We have experienced significant learning at the system and sub-system levels, which continues to build our confidence in the capabilities of the 53K. With first flight behind us, we look forward to execution of the development and operational testing and the deployment of this incredible heavy lift capability to our warfighters.”
Sikorsky, with support of others in the industry, is developing the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps. The CH-53K King Stallion helicopter will maintain similar physical dimensions as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E SUPER STALLION™ helicopter, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions. Features of the CH-53K helicopter include a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth-generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking, United States Air Force pallet compatible cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft with a Initial Operational Capability in 2019. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities. The Marine Corps intends to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Conn., provides high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning opportunities for development, production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans, availability of funding and in the type and number of aircraft required; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.(Source): http://www.sikorsky.com/pages/AboutSikorsky/PressreleaseDetails.aspx?pressreleaseid=321