Home » Aviation » UPDATED: FY 2018 Omnibus Bill Boosts Shipbuilding $3.3B Over Pentagon Request; Expands F-35, Super Hornet Buys

UPDATED: FY 2018 Omnibus Bill Boosts Shipbuilding $3.3B Over Pentagon Request; Expands F-35, Super Hornet Buys

The omnibus funding bill will fund the completion of Ford-class carrier John F. Kennedy, more F-35Cs, MQ-8C Fire Scouts, the first LX(R) amphibious warship and three Littoral Combat Ships. USNI News Image

This post has been updated to include the Senate’s passage of the omnibus spending bill early on Friday morning.

Congress showed significant support for Navy shipbuilding in its defense-heavy Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus budget deal that emerged this week, adding $3.3 billion for five additional ships to support Navy fleet growth and industrial base needs.

The omnibus spending bill covers the current fiscal year, which is still being funded with a continuing resolution, and comes just days before another government shutdown deadline.

The appropriations bill, passed by the House on Thursday and the Senate early Friday, sets aside $23.8 billion for the Navy to procure 14 ships – five more than the service requested in its original $20.4 billion shipbuilding ask.

The additions include one more Littoral Combat Ship, bringing the total for FY 2018 to three. The bill also increases funding to start what is likely to be the first-in-class next-generation LX(R) amphibious warship, adds money for a fourth Expeditionary Sea Base a year earlier than the Navy intended, and funds an additional Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport.

Highlights from shipbuilding and conversion line:

  • $3.35 billion for two Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51)
  • $3.30 billion for two Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN-774)
  • $2.32 billion to complete the refueling and complex overhaul USS George Washington (CVN-73) and start advanced procurement for the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) RCOH
  • $2.14 billion to complete funding of Ford-class carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)
  • $1.80 billion for the first next-generation LX(R) amphibious warship
  • $1.71 billion to complete big-deck amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA-8)
  • $1.57 billion to begin construction of Ford-class carrier Enterprise (CVN-80)
  • $1.56 billion for three Littoral Combat Ships
  • $862 million for Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile sub advanced procurement
  • $635 million for a fourth Expeditionary Sea Base
  • $524 million Ship-to-Shore Connector landing hovercraft
  • $458 million for a John Lewis-class (T-AO-205) fleet oiler
  • $225 million for a Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport
  • $216 million for the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-100) program

In aviation, the bill includes $19.9 billion for procurement of new aircraft – $5 billion more than the Navy requested for FY 2018, according to the bill.

Highlights in aviation expenditures:

  • $10.2 billion for 90 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft across the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps
  • $1.8 billion for 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft
  • $1.7 billion for 10 Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft
  • $1.3 billion for 14 Bell-Boeing V-22 aircraft
  • $84 million for six Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout UAVs

According to a Senate summary of the bill, the agreement adds six Navy-variant Lockheed Martin F-35C JSFs to the Navy’s ask, for a total of ten, and adds four Marine F-35Bs, bringing the total to 24.

The deal also adds four Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft over the Navy’s ask for six, and adds ten Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters over the service’s request of 14, according to a House summary of the bill.

Congress also kept open the line for Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned rotary wing aerial vehicle, including funds for six additional UAVs.

The massive $1.3-trillion spending bill was passed by the House on Thursday and early on Friday by the Senate. The bill pumps an additional $15.5 billion over the administration’s ask for the Defense Department, bringing the total to $654.6 billion. President Trump must sign the bill by midnight Friday to avert another government shutdown.