Yankee Ingenuity and a tradition of manufacturing expertise have - for generations - positioned Connecticut as a leader in Defense Manufacturing. Thousands of Connecticut residents work on programs associated with protecting our democracy and tens of thousands more are affected by the work that occurs across our state.
Congressman Larson remains focused on working both sides of the aisle to ensure the viability of these programs, and protecting the defense and manufacturing based associated with it in Connecticut.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, powered by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, represents the future of our nation's air supremacy and a key component to our foreign policy. Not only will the United States buy more than 2,400 F-35s for use by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, but we'll sell hundreds more to our allies across the globe.
Here in Connecticut, the work associated with Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine will support thousands of new jobs at Pratt and the hundreds of small and medium sized business that comprise the backbone of our state's industrial base. This aircraft and its engine will truly reinvigorate the Connecticut aerospace industry and provide work for our next generation of machinists.
The "Alternate" Engine Debate
In 2011, after years of work in both the House and Senate, Congressman Larson led a successful bipartisan effort to eliminate what was commonly referred to as the Alternate Engine from the Joint Strike Fighter program. The Alternate Engine was a second, duplicative engine program for the Joint Strike Fighter that had been funded for years against the will of Presidents Bush and Obama and Secretaries of Defense Rumsfield and Gates.
Eliminating the Alternate Engine remains one of my most significant accomplishments because of what it means for our state and our workforce. Pratt & Whitney is now the only supplier of engines to the Joint Strike Fighter program. For Connecticut and our Machinists, this means that our highly-skilled, highly trained workforce will continue to work on the military's most advanced programs for decades to come. By some estimates, Larson's work is believed to have locked in more than $100 billion in business for Pratt & Whitney and their suppliers over the next 30 years.
The Joint Strike Fighter Caucus
In Congress, Congressman Larson is committed to educating his colleagues on the importance of the Joint Strike Fighter program and was honored to be named the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Joint Strike Fighter Caucus in 2013.
Along with Republican Co-chair, Congresswoman Kay Granger, Larson is ensuring that members of Congress have a full understanding of the important role the Joint Strike Fighter program plays in national security and the impact that any changes to the program can have on our readiness and our industrial base. Already, more than 90 of his colleagues have joined the Caucus.