Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak is one step closer to receiving a new H-60 Jayhawk helicopter, one of two that would come to Alaska if funds including in the Homeland Security 2012 appropriations bill get final approval.
Requests for two new Alaska helicopters were included by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a bill that passed the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday. Murkowski is a member of the subcommittee.
The bill included more than $10 billion to help fund Coast Guard operations nationwide. The measure includes two separate allotments of $18.3 million for aircraft replacement.
One H-60 is designated for Air Station Sitka to replace the craft lost in a crash near LaPush, Washington in July last year.
The other H-60 is designated to bring Air Station Kodiak up to the full fleet of aircraft which the Coast Guard says it needs.
The bill also includes $39 million for the Coast Guard’s ice breaker program. Sen. Murkowski said in press release the Coast Guard’s responsibilities in Alaska dwarf those of other bases nationwide.
She said the Gulf of Mexico has six air stations distributed from Texas to Florida, whereas the Coast Guard in Alaska has just two air stations to watch over the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea, as well as the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.
The measure includes another $13.5 million for other non-Coast Guard training and equipment designated for Alaska. It now goes to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.