Through the U.S. Department of Defense, police departments across the country can requisition gear that the military no longer needs. Excess aircraft, weapons, vehicles and even office furniture are up for grabs. Law enforcement agencies are asked to cover shipping costs, but the equipment has already been paid for by taxpayers.
The Pentagon has transferred more than $5.1 billion worth of property to at least 8,000 agencies since the 1033 program was established in 1997, according to the Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office. Roughly $449 million in ex-military gear was transferred to police departments in 2013.
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Here are some of the companies that developed helicopters, jets and weapons now in use at local law enforcement agencies.
Textron is a diversified industrial company with ties to aircraft, helicopters and armored vehicles. The company recently completed its acquisition of Beechcraft, whose C-12 Huron twin-propeller jet is part of the 1033 program. The military has replaced the C-12 with the newer Beechcraft King Air 350ER.
Bell Helicopter has long been a Pentagon supplier. The Textron unit’s UH-1 Huey made its U.S. military debut during the Vietnam War. Bell has developed an upgraded version, the UH-1Y Yankee. The Bell OH-58C Kiowa has been procured by local police departments as well. The original OH-58 was heavily used in Vietnam for observation.
Textron, which also owns aircraft maker Cessna, reported $12.1 billion in revenue last year.
2. BAE Systems
BAE, a London-based aerospace and defense company, manufactured the M113 armored vehicle that is now used on a local level. The U.S. Army is looking to replace the M113, which was introduced during the Vietnam War, through BAE’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program.
Several companies were awarded contracts to manufacture Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that protect U.S. troops in the Middle East from roadside bombs. Oshkosh received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007, followed by an Army contract in 2009. The Army deal was valued at $1.1 billion and called on Oshkosh to build more than 2,000 MRAP all-terrain vehicles for use in Afghanistan.
Wisconsin-based Oshkosh also builds commercial, fire and emergency trucks. Net sales fell 5.8% to $7.67 billion in 2013, although Oshkosh’s profit improved.
The Pentagon also offers Humvees to police departments. The Humvee was originally manufactured by AM General, which is headquartered in South Bend, Ind.
4. United Technologies
United Tech’s Sikorsky unit—the winner of a recent contract to replace Marine One—manufactured the SH-3H Sea King to detect and destroy enemy submarines. Police now use it as a rescue chopper. The military has begun using the SH-60 Seahawk, seen above, to replace the Sea King.
The maker of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters also received a $1.3 billion Air Force contract to develop new combat search and rescue helicopters. United Tech’s 2013 revenue rose to $62.6 billion, although sales at Sikorsky fell 7.9%.
5. Springfield Armory
The M79 grenade launcher is most commonly used by law enforcement officers to fire tear gas and smoke grenades. Springfield, which traces its origins to the Revolutionary War, manufactured the M79 for action in Vietnam. Today, most M79s have been replaced in the military by rifle-mounted grenade launchers.
Springfield also developed the M14, an upgrade over the M1 Garand. The civilian version is called the M1A.
6. Colt’s Manufacturing
Hartford, Conn.-based Colt is the creator of the AR-15. In the military, the rifle was designated as the M16 and has been the primary service rifle for decades. Colt developed variants of the M16, including the M4 carbine.
Belgium’s FN Herstal holds the U.S. Army’s current manufacturing contract for the M16. FN Herstal also owns Browning and Winchester.
Colt also makes the M1911, an automatic pistol that was made famous during World War II. The U.S. armed forces have since switched to the Beretta M9 and recently resurrected an effort to find a new replacement. The Marines continue to use 1911 handguns, which are now designated as M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols.
7. Zodiac Marine & Pool
French company Zodiac Aerospace spun off its Zodiac Marine & Pool division in 2007. The unit is responsible for the F470 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft, which has become synonymous with the name Zodiac. Police departments use Zodiacs previously owned by the military for rescue missions and their dive teams.