Defense spending includes billions for Boeing
Friday, September 26, 2003
By MATTHEW DALY
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- A defense spending bill approved by Congress includes billions of dollars for The Boeing Co. and other military contractors in the Northwest.
The Senate unanimously approved the $368 billion proposal on Thursday, a day after the House voted 407-15 to approve the plan, which covers the fiscal year that begins next Wednesday, Oct. 1. President Bush has said he will sign it.
The proposal includes more than $10 billion for Boeing and related contractors, including $4.8 billion to buy 22 F-22 stealth fighters, built jointly by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Boeing also would receive $3.4 billion to build 11 C-17 cargo jets and maintain more than 100 existing C-17 jets, and $3.1 billion to build 42 F/A-18 Hornet fighter planes.
Components for the F-22 are built in Seattle, while Boeing assembles the C-17 in Southern California and the Hornet in St. Louis.
The plan also includes $363 million for a program to convert Boeing 767 wide-body jets into a new type of plane called the MC2A - military shorthand for "multi-sensor command and control aircraft."
Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., a member of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said he is convinced that the 767 - built at Boeing's plant in Everett - will become the most versatile and cost-effective airframe in the Air Force fleet. The planes would replace 40-year-old 707s now used for surveillance and reconnaissance.
The defense bill also includes $1.2 billion in continued funding for the conversion of four Trident subs to launch conventional weapons. Conversion work on two of the Tridents would be done at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.
Dicks and Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., served on the House-Senate conference committee that completed the defense bill. The two were traveling in Iraq Friday, but said in news releases that the defense bill would improve the nation's defense capabilities, while ensuring that important research projects based in Washington state go forward.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was traveling with Dicks and Nethercutt.
The defense bill also includes $35 million to replace outer wing panels on radar-jamming EA-6B Prowler jets, many of which are based at the Whidbey Island, Wash. Naval Air Station.
Other projects funded by the bill include:
-$9 million to continue development of a stealth Navy boat known as the SeaLion. Oregon Iron Works, with plants in Vancouver, Wash., and Clackamas, Ore., is heading the project, which also received $8.4 million last year.
-$7 million to Spokane-based computer maker Itronix Corp., to develop ultra-rugged laptop computers for use in battle.
-$6.5 million for Bothell, Wash.-based Microvision Corp. to develop "virtual cockpit" technology that makes it easier for pilots to manage information during battle.
-$6 million to Tigard, Ore.-based HemCon Inc., for clot-inducing bandages made from chitosan, a substance extracted from shrimp exoskeletons. The company will receive another $3 million for research and development.
-$3.5 million to accelerate a new medical use of ultrasound technology to stop bleeding on the battlefield. The equipment is being developed at the University of Washington.
-$3 million to the Oregon Medical Laser Center in Portland, to develop programs to prevent bleeding deaths, including laser techniques for instant sealing of wounds.
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