In advance of President Barack Obama's visit to meet with newly-elected Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill sent separate letters to both leaders offering her strong support for Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet as the next generation of combat aircraft in Brazil. The Brazilian Government recently extended its ongoing selection process for a supplier of the F-X2, prompting McCaskill to write to both leaders to underscore the superiority of the aircraft Boeing has put forth in the competition, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which is largely produced at Boeing's St. Louis facility. McCaskill emphasized that a purchase by Brazil of Boeing's F/A-18 aircraft would enhance the national security of both the U.S. and Brazil, strengthen the countries' diplomatic relationship, and, importantly, expand private sector job creation in Missouri. The other two competitors for the bid are European companies.
"Having performed ably for our warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Super Hornet is one of the most versatile, combat-tested aircraft in the world and can immediately meet the Brazilian military's needs for the F-X2," McCaskill wrote to President Obama. "Most importantly, the contract would support vital American jobs and small-business suppliers, strengthen our national defense industrial base and open yet another important market to American exports. I know that the dedicated men and women who work the F/A-18 line in St. Louis and dozens of Missouri suppliers are particularly eager to see this new partnership take hold with Brazil - it is essential to the nation's long-term economy and security that we retain these highly-skilled, top-quality workers right here in America."
Obama will meet with President Rousseff this weekend to discuss key mutual issues, including ways to continue improving the two countries' relationship in the midst of the global economic downturn. While both countries have a strong history on issues related to defense, McCaskill further urged Obama to emphasize the U.S. government's support for Boeing's bid as an important way to expand key defense and economic ties.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCaskill has repeatedly fought for the military to expand production of Boeing's F/A-18 aircraft, made in part in St. Louis. The aircraft provides affordable, high-value capability for our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. Most recently, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2011, McCaskill worked in support of the Navy signing a multi-year procurement deal with Boeing to continue production of the F/A-18 to meet the Navy's needs in a way that was more cost-efficient for the taxpayers.
Additionally, McCaskill helped pass a provision in the NDAA for FY2010 that gave the military the authority to enter into such a deal with Boeing. She has also won the inclusion of language in each of the past three years' NDAA bills pressing the Navy to address a shortfall in carrier strike aircraft and delays in the F-35 program, both of which can be partly mitigated by purchasing new F/A-18s.