Home » Budget Industry » Omnibus Spending Bill Gives Navy $21B for Shipbuilding, $16B for Aircraft; Additional Aviation Maintenance Spending


Omnibus Spending Bill Gives Navy $21B for Shipbuilding, $16B for Aircraft; Additional Aviation Maintenance Spending

USS Arlington (LPD-24) under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Huntington Ingalls Industries Photo

House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year that includes a $593-billion defense spending package to allow the Navy and Marine Corps to continue with planned ship and aircraft procurement and readiness increases.

This bill represents a compromise between the House and the Senate appropriations committees’ Fiscal Year 2017 spending bills, plus some additional money from the Trump Administration’s March 2017 request for supplemental funding to address near- and mid-term readiness shortfalls – about $15 billion in supplemental spending, compared to the $30 billion the administration requested.

This spending bill would give the Navy a $21.2-billion shipbuilding account, well above the recent average, as well as an $16.1-billion aircraft procurement account.

With that money, the Navy would be able to buy 13 ships and craft: three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, two Virginia-class attack submarines, the Bougainville (LHA-8) amphibious assault ship, a 13th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-29), two ship-to-shore connectors and a moored training ship, according to summaries released by both the House and Senate committees and the bill’s explanatory document. This is three ships more than the Navy had originally requested, with the third destroyer, third LCS and LPD-29 funding being added in by lawmakers.

The bill also provides $150 million for a joint Navy and Coast Guard effort to define the requirements and acquisition strategy for the Coast Guard’s heavy polar icebreaker. The Coast Guard will buy the lead ship in 2019, but this first sum will allow advance procurement of long lead time materials.

The Navy would be able to buy Boeing 12 F/A-18E-F Super Hornets and two additional Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighters to help deal with its fighter shortfall, as well as 11 Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft. The Marine Corps would receive funding for four additional Joint Strike Fighters – two F-35B short-takeoff and vertical-landing variants and two F-35C carrier variants – to help accelerate the retirement of its aging fixed-wing inventory.

In all, this compromise bill gives the Navy $48.8 billion for procurement, compared to the $44 billion it requested for this year.

The outer skin of the first Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is fitted to its forward fuselage on a pulse assembly line in St. Louis. Boeing photo.

With both the Navy and Marine Corps experiencing serious aviation readiness challenges, the appropriations compromise bill adds funding to several key areas to support pilots and maintainers. The operations and maintenance budget includes a $5.3 million addition for H-1 helicopter readiness and a $1.2 million addition for MV-22 tilt-rotor readiness in the air systems support line item, as well as a $10.7 million increase for MV-22 readiness and a $6.8 million increase for KC-130J readiness in the aviation logistics line item, compared to the services’ budget requests. Additionally, the Marine Corps saw modest plus-ups in some aircraft procurement line items to boost H-1 and CH-53E readiness. A Senate Appropriations Committee summary of the bill notes the spending measure includes a total of $205.5 million to increase spare parts purchases to help raise aviation readiness.

Similarly, for ship readiness, the O&M budget includes $14.5 million in additional ship depot maintenance funds and $2.5 million in additional ship depot operations support funding, compared to the Navy’s budget request.

The Senate Appropriations Committee summary notes the bill adds $1 billion in research and development funds for the Defense Department overall as a result of the supplemental funding. That increase in R&D funding can be seen throughout the Navy’s research and development funding section, which includes a $20 million increase for power projection applied research, $20 million increase for Marine Corps landing force technology, $40 million for autonomous surface unmanned vehicle research, $17 million for Future Naval Capabilities advanced technology development, $20 million to research aircraft carrier construction cost reduction initiatives, and $19 million to accelerate research and development for the LX(R) amphibious dock landing ship replacement design.

United States Marine Corps Lance Cpl Antonio Marin, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, India Company, moves to the side a hill to deploy an unmanned Dragonrider drone in a hostile mountain town in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Calif. Oct 23, 2016. Marines of 3/5 are currently field testing equipment and technology from the Marine Corps War Fighting Lab during Integrated Training Exercise 1-17 in order to enhance and sustain combined arms proficiency in preparation for their deployment as the Ground Combat Element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. (United States Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl Samuel Brusseau.)

United States Marine Corps Lance Cpl Antonio Marin, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, India Company, moves to the side a hill to deploy an unmanned Dragonrider drone in a hostile mountain town in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Calif. on Oct 23, 2016. USMC Photo

In all, the Navy and Marine Corps received $16.1 billion for aircraft compared to their requested $14.1 billion, or two billion more; $21.2 billion for ships compared to the requested $18.4 billion, or $2.8 billion more than requested; $3.27 billion for weapons compared to the requested $3.21 billion, or $58 million more; $634 million for ammunition compared to the requested $664 million, or $30 million less than requested; and $1.31 billion for Marine Corps-specific gear – ground vehicles and communications gear, for example – compared to the $1.36 billion request, or $55 million less than requested.

When Fiscal Year 2017 began on Oct. 1, 2016, lawmakers started the year with a continuing resolution that lasted through mid-December, funding the government at last year’s spending levels. When the December deadline came, Congress extended the CR through April 28, 2017. Last Friday, on the last day for which the government was funded, Congress passed a one-week extension.

The government is now funded to run through Friday, May 5. This compromise bill was announced on Sunday, April 30, and due to the short timeline for passing the omnibus spending measure – which includes spending packages for defense and all other federal departments and agencies, all within a single bill – it is unlikely that any additional changes will be made. Both the House and Senate will have to pass the bill and send it to the president to sign before the end of the day on Friday to avert a government shutdown.

  • DaSaint

    An additional LCS. That will drive some here crazy, but it also funds an additional Burke DDG and an additional San Antonio, keeping that line hot, which means the LX(R) design isn’t quite ready.

    • NavySubNuke

      Yeah, not crazy about it but if the cost of getting extra real ships is an extra little crappy ship that is a price worth paying.

  • Blain Shinno

    12 Super Hornets are a drop in the bucket. They should either increase F-35C production or purchase more growlers.

    • Oskar

      Growlers are EW aircraft…

      • Blain Shinno

        I fully realize that. Carrier wings would benefit from more Growlers, especially since a large part of the wing will now include low observable strike fighters for a the foreseeable future.

        It is a waste of money to continue to invest in legacy aircraft. The Navy needs to fish or cut bait. Either embrace the F-35 and accelerate its introduction to the fleet or stick with a legacy system which is cheaper and less capable.

        • Oskar

          Nope…

          Clearly, you haven’t been keeping up with the EW capabilities of the F-35’s.
          Anything that’s emitting/jamming can be targeted.

          If it has to jam something, it’s because it’s been spotted…

          The only reason the USN/USMC is overhauling legacy Hornets and SLEP-ing the F/A-18E/F’s is due to the continued and unpredicted operational use they’ve seen.

          The F-35C program is going as fast as it can within budget constraints.

          • Blain Shinno

            Clearly you haven’t been keeping up with the fact that the Navy is slow rolling F:35C procurement and will have to protect Super Hornets in contested environments for the foreseeable future.

            The EA requirement is not confined to strike jets but there are a plethora of assets which will need to have air defenses suppressed and destroyed which are now low observable.

            Even stealth jets need EA support. See the shoot down of the only F-117 against older generation SAMs in Yugoslavia. Stealth fighters are optimized for the higher frequency bands but are vulnerable to the lower frequency bands typically found in search radars.

          • Oskar

            Clearly, you’re trolling.

            “…the Navy is slow rolling F:35C procurement…”?

            F-35.

            *snicker*

            “Even stealth jets need EA support.”?

            NOT the F-35….

            When was that F-117 shot down?

            Clearly, you FAILED to read the USAF report on what the causes were…

            Clearly, you FAILED to keep up with current and future stand-off weapons.

          • Blain Shinno

            You didn’t address my point regarding what part of the spectrum the F-35 was optimized for? Among other issues.

            Is the Navy not the least enthusiastic of the services regarding the F-35? The Air Force ended procure of fighters years ago and went all in on the F-35 while the USN has continued to procure Super Hornets and slow roll the F-35. Could the Navy not have accelerated developing and testing of the “C”? I find it ironic that the USMC has stood up its second line squadron of “Bs”, the version with the greatest technical risk, while the Navy is not going to stand up its first line squadron until 2018.

            “Clearly, you FAILED to read the USAF report on what the causes were…”

            Regarding – the F-117 shutdown. The date of the shutdown only matters if SOP has changed or if air defenses have remained static and have not improved. Do you happen to know what type of SAM the F-117 was shot down by? Was it a S-300 or S-400?

            What did the AF discover in its investigation? The colonel who headed the Red Team which investigated the shutdown says SEAD/EA support were sent to another area to counter a greater threat. It was supposedly the only time during the conflict when F-117s didn’t have support. General Michael Short, the air component commander and highest ranking F-117 pilot at the time, believed it was an acceptable risk to remove SEAD/EA support but believes it was a mistake.

            “Clearly, you FAILED to keep up with current and future stand-off weapons.”

            What does this have to do with anything if the F-35 is so invisible?

            I find your posts short on facts and heavy on accusations.

          • Oskar

            LOL!

            You didn’t ask a question about it.

            Nice try at deflection….

            I find your posts to be vacuous and banal.

          • Blain Shinno

            Clearly, you have a simplistic view of the capabilities low observable fighters, their operation, and potential threats.

            To assume the F-35 will never need EA or SEAD/DEAD support is foolish. The F-35 does not have some kind of cloak of invisibility. It has technologies which reduce its radar cross section and increase its situational awareness but it still can be shot down if it is employed improperly – such not providing EA or SEAD/DEAD support when the threat warrants it.

            “If it has to jam something, it’s because it’s been spotted…” Yeah, no kidding. What’s the point of this statement? So let’s never use EA? A Growler doesn’t have to tag along with the F-35 like a puppy dog. The location of the threat and its type will dictate the Growler’s profile. If necessary it could provide stand off jamming of search radars in order to support the ingress of F-35s without every revealing the location of the F-35 strike package. What is the better option? Growlers providing EA support and reveling themselves? Or the F-35s providing EA support and revealing themselves?

            Last, air defense threats are not static. To assume the F-35 has is invulnerable is a little naive.

          • Oskar

            Clearly, you’re squirming.

            To assume the F-35 WILL need SEAD support is the work of an amateur.

            IF the F-35 needed support, what EXACTLY would provide it?

            A NON-STEALTHY aircraft?

            You amuse me, kid.

  • Frank Langham

    I did not see anything that addresses fully populating all of our VLS tubes and an ample stockpile of pre-positioned re-loads.

  • NavySubNuke

    I’m sorry to see additional funding being wasted on yet another little crappy ship but if that is the price of getting the senators from Wisconsin and Michigan to support an extra burke and an extra LPD it isn’t all bad. Maybe some day they will actually be able to stay at sea for a respectable period of time and do something useful instead of being welded to the pier for repairs and crew retraining.
    Regardless – getting this done is the best thing for the nation and getting congress to buy off on $20+B for ship building is no small feat. The navy will need even more to overcome the atrophy and neglect of the last two+ decades but every little bit helps.

    • Fred Gould

      Glad to see money for readiness. That will have a faster return than more hardware.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    The extra DDG is huge, I’m no fan of the LCS, and especially not a fan of the existing FFE program plan, but for the comparatively miniscule price tag why not. Additional F-18s are much needed and acceleration of the F-35 procurement is welcome, but what may matter even more is the potential movement of he total shipbuilding fund from the $16-18B to the $21-22B range. That extra $5B/year could mean moving CVNs back to a 4 year cycle, 4 DDGs and 2 SSNs each year (even in SSBN years). That may not get you to 350 ships anytime soon, but along with sustained increases in O&M funds it will go a long way toward restoring the battle fleet.

  • Duane

    Any time the Navy budget request is exceeded by a significant amount, it’s a very positive development.

    It’s still highly doubtful that the current administration’s stated goal of a 350 ship Navy will ever see the light of day, any more than any of the other countless political campaign promises and boasts made by the orange haired CIC will ever see the light of day. Such as “I’ll build a wall! And I’ll make Mexico pay for it!” … “I’ll repeal ObamaCare, and make health care cheaper, and everyone will be covered!” … and “I’ll cut everyone’s taxes, not just the rich guys’ taxes!” … and “I’ll drain the swamp!” … heck, he may as well have added, “… and we’ll all live happily ever after, surrounded with unicorns and free booze!”).

    But with this funding agreement, it may be we that we are starting a trajectory to increase the fleet size from the previous goal of 308 ships to maybe somewhere north of that, though still south of 350.

    • battlestations

      Duane, your side lost the election, I realize Obama was more than likely your hero, and you were with her all the way, but it is over now. To keep blathering about it now just makes any valid point you were trying to make fall on deaf ears. Suck it up Sunshine, just like we had to do these past 8 years with your king in charge. I could sit here all day and go back and forth about what your guy did and said, but this is a defense website, not a SJW crybaby site.

      • Duane

        My side is the United States of America, and the USA clearly lost in the 2016 election, made more clear every day. Fortunately, the USA is far bigger than any occupant of the oval office.

        Politically I am an independent, and a pox on both major parties which have devolved into useless, actually much worse than useless institutions, for a variety of reasons.

        It is you Trumpians who are the bittler snowflakes, who can’t take any criticms of their hero, or rather, they cannot stand any recitation of facts, as opposed to the baldface lies they accepted from America’s greatest con man in history. The vast gulf between the promises and reality are slowly creeping into your deadened consciousness, but your stubbornness prevents you from admitting that you’ve been had, on a grotesque scale.

        Unfortunately, America must pay the price for your political gullibility.

        • battlestations

          I agree with you on most of what you say, except, there is always one of those, I feel/think/believe as you do that America lost but I say in 2008.
          I went through your posts on here, and I would like to say that you are one of those on here who I enjoy reading your opinion, you are quite knowledgeable, but to claim being independent politically, realizing I do not know you, your posts would not scream “independent”. As for myself, I tell folks I am a right wing fanatic when it comes to defense, a fiscal conservative, States rights independent with a sprinkling of social justice, because We have to have justice.

          I am not a Trumpian as you put it, I live in a very blue State, my vote did not matter, and my guy wasn’t in there, he got bumped way before November, I do find humor in your position of the Trump supporters being the bitter snowflakes, that is laughable!

          America, We have paid the price of these past 8 years, and I probably wouldn’t argue with you if we wanted to say the past 16 years, but 9/11 changed the world, especially the USA.

          To sum this up Sir, from where I sit, you are about as far from Independent politically as I am to Washington DC, using your words, not mine, to come to that conclusion; unless during May Day the left decided to start calling themselves “Independents”.

          • Duane

            I really don’t want to turn this into a discussion of political parties and partisan politics.

            My comment above was about the fact that, like virtually everything else Trump promised, it was either a lie or due to a gross lack of understanding of how our constitutional government works. Trump told people he supports a 350 ship Navy without the foggiest clue of what it would take to build and operate one. But it really sounded good to his ears at political rallies.

            Americans, regardless of their party affiliation or ideology should have learned by now that nothing Trump ever says can be taken as a statement of either fact or future plausibility and reality.

            A 350 ship Navy is not going to happen. The Navy needs to figure out what jobs it can do with less (the current 308 ship plan, or something modestly larger) and what it can’t do, and then tell Congress what it can and cannot do. Pretending that the tooth fairie is real may be fun to do with young children, but telling ourselves tales when the defense of the nation is at stake is not a wise policy, for politicians or military leaders.

          • J_kies

            Duane; thank you for a recitation of those issues that bother many of us. I was fully prepared for 4 years of disappointments and waffling with Congress pushing a stronger defense. Sadly what I have to deal with now is a random collection of sound bites and ludicrous claims that fail fact checks that take 5 seconds on google.

            If the Administration had either brains or cahones it would get over its self-imposed jihad against the Republicans that followed their conscience and signed ‘never Trump’ pledges. Cutting out anyone with either moral fiber or brains from consideration has led to the lowest level of political appointments of any administration in history. It hurts to have no politicals to affirm decisions made by career people who are expected to avoid creating policy.

  • Duane

    I couldn’t care less which stupid party won this or that. Partisanship is for idiots who think good government is about keeping team scores.

    Good government is about good government, and you don’t get good government with the biggest con man to ever win political office in national history. Every single thing he said was a lie … the stuff you like most especially. He conned you, he conned all his voters, he conned his stupid party.

    But Trump cannot con reality. He isn’t conning other world leaders and their constituents, some of whom are our enemies, some of whom are our friends, and many of whom would just like to be able to figure out what Trump is going to do from one 30-second timeframe to the next.

    You know, on big stuff, like Korea. One minute he is threatening unilateral war, the next minute he is saying what a great guy Kim Jong Un is because he managed to murder his family members and other pretenders to the throne before they murdered him. And then the next minute he is saying that the South Koreans have to renegotiate our bilateral trade deal, and then the next minute he is saying that China is going to solve our NORK problem by “making a great deal with me”.

    You cannot parody or mock what Trump is, he is so far out of the real workd in his massively narcissistic, self-referential, self-woshiping looney-tune universe in his head.

  • BlueSky47

    I hear the next LCS is going to be named “Sir Robin” LOL