Home » Aviation » Final FY 2016 Spending Bill Released; Funds Super Hornets, Growlers, Additional F-35s


Final FY 2016 Spending Bill Released; Funds Super Hornets, Growlers, Additional F-35s

An EA-18G Growler, assigned to the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 130, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on Jan 13, 2014. US Navy Photo

An EA-18G Growler, assigned to the “Zappers” of Electronic Attack Squadron 130, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on Jan 13, 2014. US Navy Photo

The House and Senate appropriations committees released a final Fiscal Year 2016 spending plan that meets the new requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and funds the Defense Department at $572.8 billion in base and Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) funding.

This total is $5.1 billion less than the president requested for the fiscal year but $18.7 billion more than was appropriated in FY 2015.

The Defense Department portion of the spending bill includes $111 billion for new equipment and upgrades, including several items beyond what the Navy and Marine Corps asked for in their budget request. The bill proposes adding $660 million for seven E/A-18G Growlers and $350 million for five F/A-18 Super Hornets, creating more work for Boeing’s production line that the company said earlier this year would stay open despite uncertainties surrounding additional American buys.

The bill would also add $780 million for six additional F-35B Joint Strike Fighters for the Marine Corps and $255 million for two additional F-35C JSFs for the Navy; bringing the total to 15 F-35Bs and six F-35Cs in FY 2016.

The bill also adds $1 billion as a partial payment for a future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (DDG-51) and $635 million for an Expeditionary Mobile Base (formerly called the Afloat Forward Staging Base), and it accelerates long-lead procurement for the LX(R) dock landing ship replacement, the SC(X)R landing craft utility (LCU) replacement and the LHA-8 amphibious assault ship.

These plus-ups to the shipbuilding budget began as an idea from the Senate Armed Services Committee when that panel crafted its version of the National Defense Authorization Act in May. SASC poured an additional $1.7 billion into the shipbuilding budget beyond what the Navy had requested to help get ahead of the major challenge the Navy will face as the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine effort ramps up in the coming years ahead of a FY 2021 construction start.

The FY 2016 bill also funds three Littoral Combat Ships, two Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN-774) and two Arleigh Burke destroyers, all of which were included in the Navy’s request.

The bill adds $609 million beyond what the Pentagon asked for in the services’ readiness accounts, adds $200 million beyond the budget request to support the Pentagon’s new “technology offset” effort to maintain a technological edge over near-peer competitors, adds $100 million to assess military weapons systems for cyber threats and vulnerabilities, and adds $30 million for development of new auxiliary oceanographic research vessels.

  • Holy Soldier

    68 F-35’s? Not bad, not bad at all.

    • Michael Nunez

      Assume , The F-35 is a Game-Changer . I have opportunities to confer with a couple of Lighting Aviators . They tell me the F-35 Haters aren’t worth listing to , they know nothing .

      • Holy Soldier

        Game changer indeed. I just read a report that said the DoD wants to cut the LCS force and instead buy 31 more F-35C’s in its place. The F-35 program is really cooking now. Can’t wait until the F-35A’s hit IOC next year.

        • Michael Nunez

          You and I …… !

  • Joe

    This story would be a lot more helpful with respect if we knew how much total EA-18Gs, F-35s, et al are going to be ordered. Also how long will the Super Hornet & Growler be able to remain open?

    Thanks.

    • jeffrey exposito

      68 F35s are authorized 11 more than requested. It would appear that due to pork barrel politics the F35 and F18 are going to be around for quite a while. Alot of jobs involved. The Superhornet was supposed to end in 2014.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        Boeing is still hoping that another major hiccup in the F-35C development would open the door for more F-18s to bridge the fighter gap…and maybe, just maybe, ending with the USN dropping or decreasing the total F-35C buys to make room for the Advanced Super Hornet (F/A-18H/J) with conforming fuel tanks and enhanced stealth features.

        • James W McCarthy

          Stealth features? Hahahahahah

  • muzzleloader

    The order for 3 LCS should be canned and divert the funds to the other platforms mentioned.

    • Secundius

      @ muzzleloader.

      Talk to 108th US. Congress, THEY FUNDED the Class…

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  • bobbymike34

    We are in a new Cold War II with Russia, China and Iran as the major adversaries time to return to Cold War levels of spending roughly 6.5% of GDP.

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  • Secundius

    GUESS WHAT ELSE “Congress” stuck in the Budget Bill at the VERY LAST SECOND. The “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015″…

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  • Matthew Schilling

    Drop the F-35C and build either a navalized F-22, or perhaps better yet, build the navalized F-23 – I believe it was faster and had longer legs than the F-22. Either would completely outclass the F-35C.

    • Secundius

      @ Matthew Schilling.

      The LAST Flyable Northrop YF-23A Black Widow, is a Edwards Air Force Base Testing Facilities. The OTHER was, DEMILLED and sit’s in a Museum somewhere. Neither the F-22 or F-23 are Aircraft Carrier Dualified Design’s, Both would have to be “UBER” Modified to handle Aircraft Carrier Deck Operations…

      • Matthew Schilling

        Obviously, I wasn’t talking about the two F-23s built years ago. Northrup had a viable plan for a navalized F-23. The Navy didn’t like the canards. Oh well. Cancel the flying piano and build a world class 5th Gen Jet that would outclass the F-35 in every way that matters. And, that fancy new F-35 helmet ought to enable the pilots to see through those canards. Objection nullified!

        • Secundius

          @ Matthew Schilling.

          Last I Heard F-23 Plans were Destroyed. They would have to Reverse Engineer the ONLY remaining F-23 and Draw Up plans on that design. Including ALL Gibbs and Tooling Equipment were also Destroyed…

          • Matthew Schilling

            I highly doubt the plans were destroyed. Didn’t Northrup just win the LRSB contract? I think they know a thing or two about building stealth jets.
            Besides, we’re not talking about Greek Fire here. We’re not talking about something lost to history and unknowable. Your reverse engineering scenario is worst case. Well, that’s not bad at all.
            The Navy needs a highly capable bird with a 1,000 mile combat radius. The F-35C simply does not bring to the Navy what it desperately needs. We’re stuck on stupid and we need to get unstuck ASAP.

          • James W McCarthy

            What do you think your fairy tale would cost ?

            Like…..A LOT

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Excellent opinion I share the same opinion.. it was a huge paradigm shift it was a true super cruise 1.7 Mach (without afterburner) cooling of exhaust for low IR signature stealth not stealthy.. fast ingress and egress tactical as well strategic game changer.. a strategy of extreme speed knock down of the critical components of AA defenses to clear the way minute’s (literally a minute or two afterward) to the rest of the stealth B-2’s and afterward the crescendo of the rest of the stealthish crowd immediately after. Distance, speed inflight buddy refueling perhaps even X-47B to engage AESA radome broadcasting for the passive A/F-23 ESA radar TA and TT (TT and TA Target Acquisition and Target Tracking) it is amazing ship. F-22 shared the same fate as Secundus very well elaborated.. both of those two platforms were better than F-35 colossal mistake by far F-23 would be a lot better choice for the at least next 50 years air superiority and strategically imperative component in the new era of the evolving TRIAD CHALLANGES.. It should not be a tactical tool for at least a while but of critical strategic importance as a wild card that would be able to rise a doubt on any potential opportunistic adventure either from China or Russia it is a huge mistake and an Achilles heal for the US strategic outlook for time to come.

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  • Jon Kaskin

    No mention of Omnibus funding Navy’s request for an oiler and acceleration of T-ATS from FY17 to FY16.

  • FedUpWithWelfareStates

    …and the Congressional, Military, Industrial Complex marches on w/o missing a step.

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  • R’ Yitzchak M

    Just curious what will take for the Boeing to go with F-18F+ it was if I remember right offered to Maeilesian Tandara something rather Air Force, South Korea, Canada and looks Great Britain might opt for F-18E/F I am curious at one point Boeing offered F-18F+ meaning it was modular in nature which had electrical and cooling set for the F-18G (Growlers) and would be interchangeable (in a matter of hour) between F-18F’s to F-18G’s it would give an immense advantage to the customers as of flexibility and critical tactical design and the asset management in any given challenges modern Air Force would face. It would be a huge saling point as well option to remove 1.5 ton AC landing hook.. Looking really with the anticipation 50 million WORK HORSE SECOND TO NONE as opposed to the 180 million “Sparky” the DUD a target drone I hope it is a drone eh??