Sunday, September 24, 2006

Congressional funding keeps C-17 in production - may mean more C-17's for Travis

Congressional funding keeps C-17 in production

Travis is slated to receive 13 of the new cargo aircraft from Boeing in Long Beach.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Congress will fund 10 new Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft, lawmakers said Thursday, keeping production lines open longer at the company's Long Beach plant.

The $2.1 billion in new money was being included in the annual defense spending bill. Negotiations on the bill were being completed Thursday evening.

The C-17 program had been in jeopardy after the Defense Department recommended buying no more aircraft beyond the 180 planned.

Travis Air Force Base is slated to receive 13 of the new cargo aircraft. Two have already arrived at the local base amid much fanfare.

The last of the C-17 planes from Long Beach were set for delivery in 2008. Boeing Co. told its C-17 work force in Long Beach last month that it would start shutting down production of the plane in 2009 unless the company received new orders.

The new funding is expected to keep the plant open through the end of 2009.

More than 5,500 workers are employed at the C-17 assembly plant in Long Beach, and more workers build components at other facilities in Missouri, Arizona and Georgia.

"The C-17 has been essential to our nation's combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as our global fight

against terror and our international human relief efforts," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

"This funding is critical for continuing its production and it means that the thousands of Californians and others nationwide who are employed in its production will remain secure in their positions," she said.

Meanwhile, a new Government Accountability Office report criticized a Pentagon study that said the military doesn't need any more of the cargo planes.

The GAO said the Pentagon's study relied on inadequate data and questionable scenarios, yielding some results that were "incomplete, unclear, or contingent on further study."

The Pentagon has refused to release details of the study that concluded the 180 cargo planes already ordered or produced could meet military transport needs.

Reporter Staff contributed to this report.

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