SACRAMENTO, Calif.---Governor Gray Davis today applauded House passage of the Defense Authorization Act (HR 4205), which directs the Pentagon to study the best site to construct the Joint Strike Fighter. This follows the recommendation of a letter signed by Governor Davis, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and 51 members of California's Congressional Delegation. This measure passed by a 382 - 31 margin and now goes to the senate.
"This study will help to ensure that the Pentagon's attention to cost savings for the aircraft will extend to the production of the Joint Strike Fighter,'' said Governor Davis. "At the same time, it will give California the opportunity to show that it remains the logical home for the aerospace industry.''
Developed as an aircraft for the different branches of the armed services, the Joint Strike Fighter will be a high performance, relatively low cost, Stealth weapon system with multiple uses. Military planners estimate that United States and its allies will need over 3,000 of these aircraft, the last new U.S. military aircraft to enter production during the first half of the 21st Century.
Currently the Pentagon is conducting winner-take-all competition between competing contractors and both the Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin are building their prototype planes at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
California commissioned a study by SDS International to evaluate the advantages of the Palmdale site for the production of the aircraft. Looking at the tax incentives in place for construction of the fighter, the well-trained workforce already in place, the existing stealth technology available at the Plant 42, and the other advantages of the California site, the study concluded that the Pentagon would save $2.2 billion by basing production in California.
"Locating production at Plant 42 would provide for additional savings of $1 billion in testing costs alone,'' said Lon S. Hatamiya, Secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, which has played a critical role on California's behalf. "Strategically, Palmdale offers one of the most modern facilities and efficient infrastructure systems found anywhere in the country.''
Because of this study, Governor Davis and the Congressional delegation sought to have the Department of Defense carefully evaluate each site. The defense authorization bill mandates that the Department of Defense compare the costs of various sites, including state and local tax credits and incentives, skilled workforce, security infrastructure, supplier and technical support bases, and available stealth technology.
As part of his New Economy initiative outlined in the 2000/2001 State Budget, Governor Davis has asked the Trade and Commerce Agency to partner with California's aerospace and commercial space industries to ensure their continued competitiveness. Approximately $3.4 million is earmarked for projects that include developing a better understanding of the large aerospace supplier base in California, and work associated with competition for the VentureStar and JSF projects.
Representatives Loretta Sanchez, Buck McKeon, and Duncan Hunter led the delegation's effort to ensure that California counted in the final decision.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week.
Governor Davis Applauds Joint Strike Fighter Study