Defense Spending Bill Generous Toward North Central Connecticut
By Chris Dehnel
The Patch
July 9, 2011
Dear Santa,
Can we get more planes, submarines and helicopters? We promise we will be good to our economy if we can just get ...
Wait, some members of Congress already took care of that.
The U.S. House of Representatives certainly did. The House on Friday voted to pass a fiscal year 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill by a 336-87 margin, much to the pleasure of U.S. Rep Joseph Courtney, D-2nd District, a member of the Armed Services Committee whose district if full of major defense contractors and subcontractors to those contractors. 
Courtney, a Vernon resident, said the annual defense spending bill includes important priorities requested by not only him, but the Connecticut delegation as a whole.
In a news release, Courtney said the bill includes "significant investments in … Connecticut’s defense industry and statewide defense programs."?? He added, “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I believe these investments are vital to maintaining a strong national defense and are a wise investment in our region’s highly-skilled workers. The Second Congressional District is home to tens of thousands of defense-related jobs, and during these tough economic times I am pleased to have secured funding that will protect these jobs and grow our economy.”
North central Connecticut has a major defense industry presence. East-Hartford-based Pratt & Whitney makes aircraft engines and Windsor-Locks based Hamilton Sundstrand is a manufacturer of aerospace systems. Residents of the region are employed by both the companies themselves and subcontractors to those companies.
The region is also home to many defense subcontractors for companies like Pratt, Hamilton, Groton-based Electric Boat, which manufactures submarines and Stratford-based helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft.
It spills into the U.S. Rep. John Larson's 1st Congressional District, as well.
Here is a summary of the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations spending bill:
Major Connecticut Defense Programs:
Virginia Class Submarines. The bill provides $4.7 billion for the procurement and construction of new Virginia class submarines, including $3.2 billion for the procurement of two submarines in FY2012 and $1.5 billion for advanced procurement of submarines in FY2013 and FY2014.
  • SSBN-X Ohio Replacement: $1.3 billion for the continuation of the development of the replacement for the Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine, the same as the President's request. According to the Navy, research and development efforts will focus on the propulsion plant, missile compartment development, and platform development technologies.
  • The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: $5.9 billion to buy 32 F-35s, equal to the request. The measure does not provide funds for an alternative engine for the aircraft. Pratt and Whitney builds the engines for the aircraft.
  • The C-27J/Joint Cargo Aircraft: The bill appropriates the president's request of $480 million for nine aircraft. The C-27 is designed to meet requirements for medium-sized ''intratheater'' airlift. The relatively maneuverable aircraft can be quickly loaded and unloaded without ground support equipment. The Connecticut Air National Guard will be assigned the C-27 starting in 2013.
  • The C-17 Cargo Aircraft. The measure provides $225 million for one C-17 aircraft, to replace a plane that was lost in a training accident. Pratt and Whitney produces 4 engines for each new C-17.
The bill includes funding for the procurement of at least 113 helicopters built by Sikorsky:
  • UH-60 Black Hawk: $1.3 billion for 71 Black Hawks for the Army and Guard, equal to the president's request.
  • CH-53K Super Stallion: $677 million to develop the Super Stallion transport, equal to the president's request. The Super Stallion is a large, heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the Marine Corps. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.
  • MH-60S Knighthawk: $401 million for 18 Navy Knighthawk helicopters. The multi-mission Sikorsky MH-60S is used by the Navy for combat search-and-rescue, special-warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures.
  • MH-60R Seahawk: $780 million for 24 Navy Seahawk helicopters. The MH-60R is an SH-60B or F that has undergone a "remanufacturing" or "R" process and will feature advanced radar, missiles and low-frequency sonar. The measure also provides $209 million in advanced procurement funding.