CPI Aerostructures Inc. of Edgewood is eyeing reports that the Pentagon will delay mothballing the A-10 Warthog attack jet, which is being used to bomb Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, executives said Thursday.
In August 2014, the Edgewood aerospace contractor announced a $44.7 million noncash charge related to plans by the military to retire the A-10, sending the company’s stock tumbling. CPI Aero serves as a subcontractor to Boeing Co. on a wing replacement program for the close-air-support jet.
Separately, CPI Aero said it has won a subcontract worth up to $30 million to supply components and kits for an export version of the E-2D battle management aircraft.
On Wednesday the website Defense One, quoting unnamed Pentagon officials, said the 2017 budget request will put off plans to mothball the A-10, which was produced by now-defunct Fairchild Republic. Fuselages and other components of the Cold War-era ground support jet were manufactured in East Farmingdale.
The plan to keep the A-10 in service “is a complete turnaround from where they were a year ago,” said CPI Aero CFO Vincent Palazzolo.
He said that CPI Aero would continue to supply structural assemblies for Boeing’s Warthog wing-replacement program at the current low level as the company awaits details on the Pentagon’s about-face.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a staunch opponent of efforts to shelve the A-10, hailed the reversal in a tweet Thursday as “great news for US nat’l security.”
The E-2D subcontract from Northrop Grumman Corp. is worth $25 million to $30 million over three years and calls for CPI Aero to supply structural components and kits for the outer wing panel of aircraft that will be sold to Japan.
CPI Aero has been producing outer-wing panel kits for the U.S. version of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye for Northrop Grumman as well, Palazzolo said. That agreement is worth about $20 million per year, making it CPI Aero’s largest single contract, he said.