AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Chairman of the Armed Services Committee Congressman Mac Thornberry visited Bell Helicopter today to get an update on the V-280 Valor.
During his visit, he talked about the recent military budget increase.
Congressman Thornberry wrote the bill President Trump signed increasing the military budget to $629 billion dollars. He said the increase offers new opportunities.
"It will mean we can start to fix our ships and planes. We can replace old equipment with new equipment, and we can start to catch up on what we have lost," said Thornberry.
The budget includes building more aircrafts here in the Panhandle, even more so than President Trump anticipated.
"It means at Bell for example, the president's budget request originally asked for six V22s for this year. That was the budget that came over in May. We're gonna end up with 12 V22s. We've doubled what the president originally asked for because of this increase in budget," said Congressman Thornberry. "The president asked for 22 H1s. They're gonna end up with 29 H1s, all of which means not only jobs in Amarillo, but it means new equipment is getting into the war fighter faster."
This is why Congressman Thornberry says Bell Helicopter and Pantex are high on Washington's list.
"Just this morning, they were talking about the efficiency and work ethic of the workers at the Bell plant, and that is our greatest strength for Bell and Pantex," said Congressman Thornberry. "It's the hardworking folks in the Panhandle [who] produce results, and that makes us look good throughout the D.O.D., the Department of Energy, or wherever you're comparing it to."
The V-280 Valor is a prototype helicopter that is competing to be the next generation vertical lift, which is included in the new budget.
"It leap frogs ahead in capability," said Congressman Thornberry. "You can get there faster, and get out faster, and that means you save lives."
He says the increased budget will also strengthen missile defense and cyber security.