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Sikorsky President Steve Finger Speaks at VH-92 Kickoff Ceremony

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Sikorsky President Steve Finger Speaks at VH-92 Kickoff Ceremony

July 12, 2004

  Stratford, Connecticut - Good day everyone, and thank you for the introduction Jeff. And again, let me extend a personal welcome to our Congressional delegation and Rocco Calo. We're delighted you could all join us.

First off, I would like to acknowledge the hundreds of employees in the audience who are working night and day on the Presidential helicopter competition. Your talents and ceaseless efforts are paving the way toward victory. All of you deserve a round of applause.

This competition is about who can build the safest, most advanced helicopter in the most secure environment to fulfill the vital mission of Presidential transport.

Clearly, the President needs the world's safest helicopter. And that is exactly what you see here today.

This is the only helicopter in the world certified to the latest, most stringent Federal Aviation Administration and European safety standards.

These safety advancements allow the VH-92 to fly safely with damaged parts that would normally force a helicopter to land.

These safety enhancements allow it to survive bird strikes at 190 miles per hour.

These safety enhancements provide breakaway fuel tanks fixed outside the cabin, safely away from passengers.

And the rugged airframe is built to U.S. military specifications that provide maximum protection in a hard landing.

Our competition offers a helicopter designed in the 1980s. It cannot meet these new safety standards. Any American might reasonably ask: does it make sense to compromise on Presidential safety?

It also goes without saying that the President deserves the most technically-superior helicopter.

This helicopter certainly meets that criteria. Last year it was awarded the Collier Trophy for the most significant advancement in aerospace.

The VH-92's advanced rotor dynamics and lift system allow it to carry more, fly farther, and fly quieter than our foreign opponent. And it does it at 30% less the cost.

Just as clearly as safety and performance, the security of the President cannot in any way be compromised.

Sikorsky uniquely understands security. We are the only company with hundreds of employees with the required clearance to work on the Presidential helicopter. All are required by the law to have U.S.citizenship.

Our competition plans to build much of their helicopter offshore - blades, rotor heads, transmissions, the very parts that make the helicopter fly. How they propose to meet the stringent security requirements of the Presidential mission with significant foreign content is anyone's guess.

Concerned Americans might ask: what happens over the next 40 years? Will the U.S. need foreign government approval to obtain the technical data for the Presidential fleet?

How will the foreign parts and support be protected against terrorism and infiltration?

Sikorsky took a hard look at these security requirements and decided the job of building the President's helicopter belongs in American hands.

We created the VH-92 All American Team to build the Presidential aircraft in the United States. Because that's the only way we know to ensure that the data, design, manufacture, and support of the Presidential fleet stay under U.S. control forever.

This competition is important not only to Sikorsky Aircraft, but to the American helicopter industry.

The government is not simply buying Presidential helicopters off the shelf. In fact, the winner receives hundreds of millions of dollars for research and development to advance their helicopter. The winner is also strongly positioned to win billions in follow-on government contracts as other U.S.services reequip.

Sikorsky developed the S-92 with its own money and it is the best helicopter in the world.

In contrast, our competitor received more than two billion dollars in direct European government subsidies. And they still don't have a helicopter that can match ours.

Ask yourself as an American. Should U.S. tax dollars be used to bring foreign competition up to the standards already certified by Sikorsky? Shouldn't U.S. tax dollars be used to reward American excellence?

We think once the facts are on the table the decision will be clear cut. We've got the best helicopter and most secure solution.

We are eager to get started on the All American tour and let everyone know all about it. So we say to the pilots, flight crews and staff as they embark on the All American Tour: good luck and Godspeed!

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