House Military Budget Has Billions For Conn. Companies
By Howard French
Journal Inquirer
December 13, 2013
Connecticut companies that make military equipment got a boost Thursday when the House of Representatives passed the 2014 defense budget by a vote of 350-69.
The National Defense Authorization Act funds programs that bring billions of dollars to state companies, including Pratt & Whitney, which makes fighter jet engines, to Sikorsky helicopters and Electric Boat submarines.
Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the bill has $8.4 billion for 29 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters — 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy.
East Hartford’s Pratt builds the jet engines for the military aircraft. Since engine cost usually accounts for 25 percent of an aircraft’s price, the deal could be worth up to $2 billion to Pratt.
Sikorsky, in Stratford, gets about $2 billion for helicopters. Some $1.1 billion of that is for 65 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters, while $831 million is for 19 MH-60R helicopters, and $411 million is for 18 MH-60s helicopters.
The budget also has $503 million for continued development of the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter for the Marine Corps.
Sikorsky is competing for a contract to be awarded in 2014 for a combat rescue helicopter for the Air Force and will benefit from $334 million in the budget for that project.
It also will get $94 million for development of the VXX presidential helicopter. Sikorsky also is expected to compete for that program.
Sikorsky and Pratt both are subsidiaries of Hartford’s United Technologies Corp.
Groton’s Electric Boat division of General Dynamics will benefit from $5.2 billion for two Virginia-class submarines in 2014 and “advance procurement funding” for two ships planned in 2015.
And the budget provides $1 billion to continue development of replacements for the Ohio class ballistic missile submarine.
The bill also authorizes $59 million for the continued development of the Virginia Class submarine “payload module,” which would involve “strike payload capacity” for missiles on submarines.
The plan still needs Senate approval.