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LOS ANGELES VOTERS SUPPORT F-15 SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA TO SAVE JOBS

 LOS ANGELES VOTERS SUPPORT F-15 SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA TO SAVE JOBS
 LOS ANGELES, May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Jobs Now coalition has released an opinion survey showing registered voters in Los Angeles, which has been hard-hit by cutbacks in the defense industry, clearly support an F-15 aircraft sale to Saudi Arabia that would save thousands of local jobs.
 "The people of Los Angeles clearly understand the importance of this sale to the region's economic health," said coalition spokesperson Kearney Bothwell. "They know that if this sale does not take place, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars the economy desperately needs will go to Europe, just as they have in the past."
 The survey was conducted by Dimension Research Inc. for the U.S. Jobs Now coalition, which includes McDonnell Douglas, prime contractor for the F-15; Hughes Aircraft Co., builder of the F-15's radar system; Pratt & Whitney, which provides the F-15's engines; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the International Union of United Plant Guard Workers of America; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW. Pollsters contacted 501 registered voters in Los Angeles April 21-30 and May 7-8. With a margin for error of plus or minus 5 percent, 55 percent of those surveyed favored the sale while only one in four (25 percent) disapprove.
 The government of Saudi Arabia has asked to purchase 72 F-15 aircraft from the United States to upgrade its ability to defend its territory from such potential threats as Iran, Iraq and Syria.
 "Saudi Arabia has to defend an oil-rich area the size of the eastern U.S. with the smallest air force of any major country in the Middle East," Bothwell said. "The Saudis have about 250 combat aircraft in their inventory, while Iran has over 300, plus an assembly plant for MiG-29s.
 "Opposition to the sale centers on the possible threat to Israel posed by this sale," Bothwell continued. "But all you have to do is learn from this country's mistakes. The last time we denied F-15s to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis wound up buying a much larger number of Tornados from Britain, together with avionics, munitions and support that had none of the U.S. controls that were part of the Saudi offers to buy the F-15s. As a result, the Saudis got aircraft with capabilities and support arrangements that were more threatening to Israel than the sale of the configuration of the F-15s the Saudis sought originally. And we lost exports, jobs and the strategic advantages of having the Saudis use American aircraft."
 In Southern California alone, the sale of 72 F-15s would generate more than $1.5 billion in new sales and would preserve thousands of jobs for up to three years. Nationwide, more than 40,000 American workers depend directly upon the continuation of the F-15 program for their paychecks at more than 2,000 F-15 suppliers in 47 states. In addition, the proposed sale to Saudi Arabia would immediately inject $5 billion into the American economy and generate more than $13 billion over the life of the program. It also would result in $3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.
 "Defense Week (a Washington-based trade publication) reported May 4 that California's 27th Congressional district alone stands to lose $400 million in sales that would directly support 3,143 jobs among 28 subcontractors if the Saudi sale is not approved," Bothwell noted. "The publication looked at the 27th district because Rep. Mel Levine, who represents the district, sponsored an April 9 letter urging President Bush not to sell advanced F-15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia."
 If the United States decides not to support the Saudi F-15 request, the Saudis have made it clear that they will buy European Tornado fighters in the near term and would think seriously about investing heavily in Europe's next-generation fighter, the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA).
 "The bottom line is the Saudis will buy airplanes and the Europeans are willing to sell those airplanes to the Saudis if the U.S. doesn't," Bothwell said. "Clearly, the issue is whether the planes Saudi Arabia buys will be made in America or made in Europe. The choice for the U.S. government is equally clear -- jobs for America or jobs for Europe. We think America ought to be exporting airplanes to Saudi Arabia, not exporting aerospace jobs to Europe."
 Without a Saudi order in place by July, the F-15 line will begin to shut down as early stages of production are completed for the last group of F-15s under U.S. Air Force contract. The shutdown process will continue for approximately two years as successive stages of production are completed for those F-15s. The final aircraft would be delivered in 1994.
 The results from the Los Angeles poll were consistent with those of a national poll conducted in April in which 55 percent of all registered voters queried approved of the sale compared with 20 percent who disapproved.
 -0- 5/29/92
 /CONTACT: Kearney Bothwell of Hughes Aircraft, 310-334-4997, for U.S. Jobs Now/ CO: U.S. Jobs Now ST: California IN: ARO SU:


CH-AL -- LA016 -- 5355 05/29/92 17:18 EDT
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Date:May 29, 1992
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