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Northrop-Grumman gets funding to build Navy plane

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Credit: Northrop Grumman

The efforts of elected officials across the country appear to have won full funding for a Navy command plane to be built by Northrop-Grumman in a project based in Bethpage.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the newest generation of a carrier-based plane that helps track and defeat enemy cruise missiles in concert with Navy warships and jets.

In its original 2010 budget proposal earlier this year, the Pentagon proposed building four of the planes over the next two years at a cost of more than $200 million each. Congress, however, is about to give the Pentagon $1 billion, which is more than what it sought.

"Congress did the right thing by restoring funding for this critical project," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). "The program, underfunded for years, is vital to our national defense and a focal point of the technological advancement of our military."

It also became a jobs program. As Schumer noted in a statement, the lesser funding level would have cost almost 100 jobs on Long Island.

Indeed, Northrop-Grumman played up that angle, promoting the plane in a lobbying campaign that focused as much on its job-saving capabilities as on its missile-defending prowess.

It noted that the program employed thousands of people around the country, both directly through Northrop-Grumman and indirectly through 275 suppliers. On the company's Web site, it listed all those suppliers and noted the senators and congressional representatives for each of the companies.

In addition to Northrop-Grumman, 39 other Long Island companies contribute to the Hawkeye, according to the company's Web site.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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