Northrop Grumman ad aims to restore Hawkeye funds
Reported by REID J. EPSTEIN, JOSEPH MALLIA and JENNIFER MALONEY.
February 16, 2009
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman has launched a fight against a $200-million cut in federal funding for its E2-D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, a reduction it said could lead to the loss of dozens of jobs on Long Island and hundreds nationwide.
The company has taken out newspaper ads in Newsday, because much of the design and planning work is done on Long Island, and in several newspapers in Florida, where the plane is built, said company spokeswoman Dianne Baumert-Moyik. The company also launched what she called "an advocacy Web site" - savehawkeyejobs.com.
Northrop Grumman has sought help from Gov. David A. Paterson in addition to Sen. Charles Schumer and Long Island's Congressional representatives.
"We're asking Congress and the Navy to restore funding," Baumert-Moyik said. About 90 jobs in New York would be lost, 66 of them on Long Island at Northrop-Grumman's Bethpage facility as well as at the defense contractor's Long Island suppliers if the money isn't returned to the project, she said. Nearly 900 more jobs, mostly in Florida, would also be lost, she said.
Congress cut $203 million from the Navy's Hawkeye project for the 2009 budget year ending in September due to what military officials said was a mistaken belief by members of Congress that the plane was having trouble with its radar. The carrier-based Hawkeye turboprop is designed to protect Navy battle groups by detecting cruise missiles at great distances.
In addition to the defense contractor's Bethpage operation, the major Long Island suppliers who could be hurt by the cutback are Ametek Hughes-Treitler of Garden City, Rodelco Electronics Corp. of Ronkonkoma, and BAE Systems of Greenlawn, according to Northrop Grumman. Citing statistics from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Baumert-Moyik said the job losses would be compounded by a ripple effect on the local economy.
All together, there are 40 different suppliers for the Hawkeye operating on Long Island, according to Northrop Grumman.
Bill DeLongis, president of Design/OL in Port Jefferson Station, said about half of his business comes from providing structural parts for the Hawkeye.
"Some of these parts we've been making since 1992 or 1993," DeLongis said. "Yeah, it'd be an impact."
Because his business has only 14 employees, DeLongis said the loss of the Hawkeye work probably wouldn't mean layoffs, but it would prompt him to take another look at overtime costs.
Schumer's spokesman, Josh Vlasto, said Schumer will speak today with Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Navy operations, who will make a recommendation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates about whether to restore funding for the Hawkeye program.
"I am going to work with Northrop Grumman's top management and the leaders in Congress and the Defense Department to ensure these programs stay on Long Island," Schumer said in a statement.
Reps. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), Peter King (R-Seaford) and Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) last week signed a letter to Robert Gates asking him to divert $200 million in the military's discretionary funding toward the program.
King called the Hawkeye "an important component" of the nation's military. As far as the cuts, "I'm convinced it's not because of any deficiencies in the Hawkeye," he said.
Design/OL's DeLongis, who worked at Grumman for 33 years before starting his business, said he plans to urge his representatives to restore funds to the Hawkeye program.
"We have a tremendous experience with the E-2 aircraft," he said. "So it's a personal attack, also."
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