Sen. Casey, Rep. Scanlon announce Army decision to renew production of Ridley-Park helicopters

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On Friday, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) announced the U.S. Army will modernize its fleet of heavy lift helicopters made in Ridley Park, PA.

The Congress members said after years of pushing the military to modernize its Chinook fleet, the Army has renewed and extended production of the helicopters, saving approximately 4,000 jobs at Boeing’s Ridley Park plant. Manufactured in Delco, the decision to modernize the Chinook fleet could create plenty of new jobs in Delaware County as well, the law makers said.

“The people of Delaware County have served their country for generations by manufacturing the Army’s sole heavy lift helicopter,” Casey said. “The Army’s renewed commitment to manufacturing Chinooks in Delco means that good-paying union jobs are here to stay in Southeastern Pennsylvania.”

In 2007, Casey began advocating to keep thousands of workers employed at the manufacturing facilities at Ridley Park. Casey and Scanlon said they have urged the Army and President Joe Biden to reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to cut Chinook modernizations, pushing military-readiness back a step and hurting the fleet’s capabilities.

The Army reneged on its modernization plans in 2019, the law makers said, leading to Casey and Scanlon leading congressional efforts to keep the Ridley Park facility alive. Over the past four years, the Congress members were able to secure nearly $1 billion for continued Chinook procurement. Those efforts have helped the facility remain ready to ramp up production when needed.

“For decades, Chinook production has been a critical regional economic engine, with multiple generations of families working at the Ridley Park facility,” Scanlon said. “With this decision, that tradition will continue.”

In November of last year, Casey and Scanlon led a group of nearly three dozen Congress members in writing a letter to the Army advocating for Chinook modernization. The Army’s decision to move the Chinook CH-47F Block II into production will bring critical capabilities to the Army and safe a Southeastern Pennsylvania defense base, officials said.

“There is nothing more important to us than supporting the warfighter,” Kathleen (KJ) Jolivette, vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, Boeing. “The Army’s decision is a reflection of their confidence in our heavy-lift platform and is a testament to the great work our teammates do each and every day.”