This morning Connecticut lawmakers, Pratt & Whitney Employees and United Technology Executives held a rally in celebration of recent news that the company has earned the contract for the next generation tanker as well as to celebrate the continued success of the F-35 project and stress the importance of defense manufacturing in Connecticut.
"These contracts for the F135 engine and the aerial tanker will mean growth and jobs here in Connecticut and across all of Pratt & Whitney," said Pratt & Whitney President David Hess. "The F135 is the only engine powering the F-35 today, and in testing it has recorded more than 88 flawless vertical landings, 845 flight tests and 1,200 flight hours. We've shown its performance and dependability, and that's why there is no need for an extra engine for the Joint Strike Fighter."
"Since before World War II Connecticut has been at the top of innovation and production in the defense industry," Congressman John Larson (CT-01) said. "Today Pratt & Whitney, along with their parent company United Technologies have continued this tradition. As a lifelong resident of East Hartford with multiple Pratt employees in my family, I am so proud to have played a role in helping create an environment for them to succeed and will continue to fight to help "Keep the Eagle Flying.'"
"We fought for this victory in Washington, but I guarantee you that we would not have celebrated today if it were not for the unmatched skills of Pratt & Whitney who made the Boeing KC-46, the most effective and affordable aircraft for the mission," said Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). "The workers of Pratt & Whitney have long been a source of immense pride for Connecticut. Their tireless efforts and commitment supply the equipment needed to defeat our enemies on the battlefield and keep America safe."
Additionally the lawmakers were joined by Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-06), who is the ranking member of House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Defense.
"Having been involved in the tanker competition since 2001, it was a great relief when the Pentagon announced in late February that these tankers were going to be produced in the United States, using the highest skilled, most capable American workers at Boeing in Everett, Washington and here at Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut," Congressman Dicks said. "These are the people who - together with generations before them - have helped to maintain America's technological edge, making U.S. aircraft superior to any potential adversary and sustaining family wage jobs for American workers."
"I am proud to be here today and applaud the hard work of everyone at Pratt as they strive to keep Connecticut at the forefront of American defense manufacturing. The contract for the new Air Force tanker and the end of the Joint Strike Fighter extra engine, along with the C-17 contract with India, are all big wins for the highly-skilled workers here at Pratt, keeping these critical jobs and bringing new jobs to our state," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "Continuing to strengthen the defense-industrial base here in Connecticut is a critical part of helping America to compete with the other economic power centers around the globe, and these recent successes are a great step forward in furthering that agenda."
"From submarines on the shoreline to the next generation tanker at Pratt, Connecticut is increasingly where the Pentagon turns when it requires high-quality, cost-effective results," Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) said. "This string of victories has bolstered our region by securing and growing critical jobs not just at Electric Boat and UTC, but at a network of subcontractors and small businesses that supply them, as well."
"The decision to end the extra engine program was a no-brainer. The White House didn't want it, the Defense Department didn't want it, taxpayers didn't want it, and now the decision has been made. We also owe a debt of thanks to the Pentagon for awarding the refueling tanker contract to Boeing. Pratt & Whitney has been hard at work for decades building a skilled labor force and excellent reputation, and these victories demonstrate the success of their efforts. My administration is working to rebuild the state's economy and stabilize the business environment and our Congressional delegation, especially Congressman Larson, should be congratulated for their efforts in helping ensure jobs stay in Connecticut," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy.