March 31, 2006
Senator Urges Foreign Officials to Purchase St. Louis-Made Aircraft
U.S. Senator Kit Bond today met with Boeing officials in St. Louis on his recent trip to Korea and India. In both countries Bond, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, received classified military briefings and also met with foreign officials on potential future sales of the St. Louis-made F-15 and F/A-18.
"Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the F-15 and F/A-18 are the finest tactical fighters for our nation�s and our allies' defense," said Bond of the Boeing aircraft.
In Korea, Bond met with officials from the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea. Bond told Boeing that the Republic of Korea (ROK) Air Force could not be more pleased with the F-15K and offered praise for the exceptional cooperation between the ROK Air Force and U.S. Air Force. Bond said all major program actions are on schedule and currently Korea has taken delivery of four of the contracted 40 F-15K�s.
There is more good news for Boeing-St. Louis, said Bond, who pointed out that the ROK Air Force has a need for additional aircraft. Bond urged the Korean officials to purchase additional F-15�s. He emphasized that the ROK could gain better prices for the future by making the arrangements to purchase an additional 20 F-15�s by the end of this year.
In India, Bond also met with top-level officials including the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the National Security Advisor and the Foreign Minister for External Affairs. India has issued requests for information on the replacement of their existing tactical aircraft with as many a 126 fighters at stake, Bond reported.
Bond said the India Air Force is anxious to have electronically scanned radars, which if the technology is released, would provide a significant advantage over their existing fleet.
"The U.S. is looking to India as more then just a marketplace for our defense products, but as a technology, aerospace and strategic partner for our future endeavors," said Bond.
In addition to urging foreign officials to purchase Boeing aircraft, Bond has also led the charge for St. Louis-made planes here at home. Working with Senator Talent, Bond announced that the fiscal year 2006 Defense Appropriations spending bill provided $65 million for F-15 procurement. These funds supplemented the $110 million Bond secured in the previous year�s defense appropriations bill, bringing the total amount available for F-15 production to $175 million.