Cochran Says Mississippi Would Benefit From Senate-Passed Defense Bill

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran said Thursday a defense spending bill passed by the Senate will allow contractors in Mississippi to continue to build ships and weapons systems. Differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill must now be resolved in conference.

The Senate bill would provide $2.74 billion for two DDG-51 class destroyers, one to be built at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula; $1.17 billion for construction of LPD-17 class amphibious transport dock; and $243 million for continuation of the LHD-8 amphibious assault ship program.

The Senate bill includes $65 million for planning and design of the next LHD-type vessel that will replace the aging LHA amphibious assault ships, as well as $960.2 million for a destroyer program and $30 million for combat ship research.

Cochran said another $8.1 million would complete two Army Logistic Supply Vessels. It includes $194.3 million for radar upgrades, countermeasure sets, and modifications that are manufactured by Raytheon in Forest.

The Senate also approved over $126 million for HYDRA 70 and Airborne Rockets whose components are manufactured in Stone County and $21.4 million for Armored Security Vehicles. Mississippi installations will benefit from $11.3 million for C-17 maintenance trainers at the Airlift Wing in Jackson, $20 million for a Littoral Surveillance System at Pascagoula Naval Station, and $5.5 million for a Cardiac Catheter Lab at Keesler Air Force Base.

The Senate provided over $40 million in related funding for defense research and development programs at Mississippi universities and $5 million for Army Corps of Engineers research at Vicksburg.

For operations at Stennis Space Center, the Senate approved $3.5 million for the Naval Oceanographic Offices Hydrographic Center of Excellence and $14.8 million for SOF Riverine Craft employed by Special Boat Unit Twenty-Two.

The industrial complex at Iuka would benefit from $80 million which will fund co-production of the Arrow missile defense system and $3.5 million designated for Robust Aerospace Composite Material development.

Cochran said $4.2 million would go to operations at the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy at the Meridian Naval Air Station.