The Army has decided to delay by five years upgrading its Chinook heavy helicopters to a planned Block II configuration. As a result, there will be a big gap in the production line at Boeing’s rotorcraft plant near Philadelphia, and nothing to fill it. Many hundreds of jobs are potentially at risk, and that’s before we even get to the subcontractors. By reducing the pace of work at the plant, the Army will assure that (1) the price of Chinooks for foreign buyers increases, (2) the price of V-22 Ospreys built at the same plant for the Navy and Marines goes up, and (3) the lower Delaware Valley loses even more industrial jobs. Whatever the fiscal or operational merits of this decision might be, it’s pretty obvious the Army didn’t care about all the fallout beyond its own budget. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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