New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D) is hopeful that the Marine One program can be saved. As part of the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, the U.S. House of Representatives on July 30 approved $485.2 million for Lockheed Martin’s facility in Owego, N.Y. to continue work on the replacement aircraft for the Presidential Helicopter fleet. The bill moves to the U.S. Senate, which will consider its own version of the bill in September. The funds would be earmarked for continued development and testing of Lockheed’s Increment I helicopter, the VH-71A. Hinchey notes, “It is much more fiscally responsible to see an expanded Increment 1 VH-71 program through to the finish line than it would be to follow the administration’s proposal and start over from scratch.” President Obama has targeted cancellation of the F-22 fighter aircraft and VH-71 programs as part of cuts for next year’s federal budget, which is due October 1.
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