Fort Rucker Funding

President Bush is asking congress for more than $450 billion in defense money, for the 2008 fiscal year. A good portion of those funds will be invested in training at Fort Rucker.

There are over 500 helicopters being used for training at Fort Rucker.

With so many aircraft, aviation officials say a new hangar is necessary to conduct routine maintenance on many of them.

Congressman Terry Everett said, "We need some new hangar spaces out at Hanchey Airfield. Unfortunately it's going to cost $40 million, and we're going to try and bit it off over a three year time period."

Currently there is no money set aside for this project within the proposed $481 billion defense budget.

But there are close to $700 million allocated for army aviation training, money that Fort Rucker officials will be able to make good use of.

"Fort Rucker will be able to train an additional 1,200 aviators this coming year," said Congressman Everett.

Much of that training will prepare pilots to fly nighttime missions; to avoid SA14 AND SA16 shoulder fired missiles, stronger rockets being used by insurgents in Iraq.

"They have the ability to defeat the defense mechanisms that we have on our helicopters."

The presidents proposed budget also allocates money for purchasing 50 Blackhawk helicopters, some of which will go to Fort Rucker. The president's budget is in Congress and must pass the House before approved.