The spending bill also includes
$1.5 billion for 18 F/A-18E/F Super
Hornet fighter jets, which is nine
more than requested, and $1.6 billion for 22 EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, which are
based on the same Boeing airframe.
“The variants of the F/A- 18 aircraft have been the workhorses of
the Navy’s aviation fleet for a generation,” according to the report
on the bill.
In addition, the appropriations
bill endorses language that allows
the Navy to pursue a multiyear
procurement deal on the carrier-based fighters. The language marks
a major victory for Boeing officials,
who have been lobbying for years
for another multiyear buy for the
fighters and had faced strong
resistance within the Senate.
Meanwhile, the bill includes $6.8
billion to buy 30 F- 35 Lighting II
Joint Strike Fighters, including 16
variants for the Marine Corps, four
carrier-based variants for the Navy
and 10 conventional fighters for the
And, despite objections from
the administration, lawmakers approved $465 million to continue
development and pay for initial
procurement of an alternate engine
program for the F- 35.
Lawmakers have long argued that
the second engine, which is produced by General Electric and Rolls-Royce, will spur competition with
primary engine-maker Pratt &
Whitney and ultimately help drive
down costs and improve reliability.
The Obama administration, however, has argued that the second engine
is unnecessary and too costly.
In another break with the administration, the bill includes $130 million for the VH-71 presidential helicopter program that President
Barack Obama is canceling amid
severe cost increases and schedule
delays. The administration had
requested $85 million to pay for
“Imagine you are tuning in to a football game without all the
graphics. You don’t know what the score is. You don’t know
what the down is. It’s just raw video. And that’s how the guys
in the military have been using it.”
An executive at Harris Broadcast Communications.
Describing how the vast amount of data being collected by unmanned vehicles
over Afghanistan is overwhelming the ability of analysts to keep up with it.
New York Times, Jan. 11
“As we get more into the cyber world and the information world,
that is going to require more coherent decision-making. That can’t
be optimized by platforms, what we need to do is say, ‘OK, how
are we going to operate in that environment in that domain?’”
Adm. Gary Roughead
Chief of Naval Operations
On the recent decision to merge intelligence and information directorates to provide
the Navy with a more coherent approach to intelligence gathering.
Inside The Navy, Dec. 28
cancellation fees to Lockheed Martin Corp., which was building the
AgustaWestland helicopter at an
Owego, N. Y., facility.
Lawmakers, however, determined only $30 million would be
needed to shut down the program,
and set aside another $100 million
“for technology capture to recoup
investments in research and development of the VH-71,” according to
a House Appropriations Committee
summary of the bill.
The additional funding will stave
off roughly 250 layoffs at the Owego
plant. It also aims to address a key
concern of House Appropriations
defense subcommittee Chairman
John Murtha, D-Pa., who has said he
did not want the administration to
squander its $3 billion-plus investment in the helicopters.
In other programs, the spending
bill includes $2.7 billion to buy 30
MV- 22 tiltrotor aircraft requested
by the administration for the
Marine Corps and five CV-22s for
the Air Force.
Congress also approved $649
million — $142 million above the
request — for three E-2D Hawkeye
aircraft, the Navy’s carrier-based
early-warning system. The Pentagon had requested two of the aircraft for fiscal 2010. The aircraft
added by Congress makes up for
the E-2D trimmed by lawmakers in
the fiscal 2009 budget.
JLTV’s Weight Worries
Marine Corps Commandant Gen.
James T. Conway is raising concerns that the Joint Lightweight
Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is
weighing in at 22,000 pounds, has
grown too heavy for his expeditionary fighting force.
During a Pentagon press conference in December, Conway acknowledged that the Marine Corps is open
to the possibility of an interim vehicle until industry can get the JLTV
down to an acceptable weight.
“If you go back and check the
parameters, the Joint Light Tactical