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Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Money for 15 Growlers, 12th San Antonio

An EA-18G Growler from the "Shadowhawks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) in 2013 US Navy Photo

An EA-18G Growler from the “Shadowhawks” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) in 2013 US Navy Photo

The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill from Congress includes $1.46 billion for 15 Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft and $1 billion to start work on a 12th San Antonio-class (LPD-17) amphibious warship, according to a summary of the bill released late Tuesday.
The compromise bill agreed to by House and Senate appropriators and expected to pass both chambers will extend Boeing’s Super Hornet — the airframe on which the Growler is based — production line into 2017, according to Reuters.

The Navy gave Congress an unfunded wish list that asked for 22 Growlers at a cost of $2.14 billion. With the extra airframes, the Navy intends to expand its EA-18G squadrons from five aircraft up to seven.

The bill also gave the service $1 billion to start procurement on a 12th San Antonio-class amphibious warship — about half the total cost of the ship. The Marine Corps has been lobbying Congress and the Navy for the additional ship it says will act as a bridge to the next generation LX(R) amphibious warship which will be based on the San Antonio-hull.

Line items in the bill also fully fund the planned procurement of the Ohio-class Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine, fully funds the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) research and development efforts — despite restrictions in the parallel authorization bill — and includes $843 million to begin the refueling and complex overhaul of carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73).

The total Department of Defense funding included in the bill was $554.2 billion.