Home » Budget Industry » HAC-D Passes $674.6B FY 2019 Spending Bill; $22.7B for Shipbuilding


HAC-D Passes $674.6B FY 2019 Spending Bill; $22.7B for Shipbuilding

USS Tripoli (LHA-7) is launched at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. on May 1, 2017. US Navy Photo

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee passed its Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill, according to a Wednesday statement.

The $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill — $606.5 billion in the base budget and $68.1 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending — follows last year trend of increasing the bottom line for the Defense Department, according to a statement from Defense Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas).

“Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world. This bill does what General Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff has asked, it ‘ensures the joint force has the depth, flexibility, readiness and responsiveness that ensures our men and women will never face a fair fight’,” she said in the statement.

The bill supports a $22.7-billion shipbuilding budget for the Navy and $20.1 billion for new Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.
The shipbuilding line includes three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers (DDG-51), two Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN-774), two John Lewis-class fleet oilers, an Expeditionary Sea Base and a fleet tug.

The spending bill also supports $2.9 billion for advanced procurement of the Columbia-class nuclear ballistic missile program, $41 million for the LCU landing craft replacement program and $507.8 million for the Ship-to-Shore Connector program.

The aviation spend includes $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, $1.1 billion for 13 MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and $1.8 billion for 10 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The bill also sets aside $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, split between the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

  • PolicyWonk

    “…it ‘ensures the joint force has the depth, flexibility, readiness and responsiveness that ensures our men and women will never face a fair fight’,” she said in the statement.
    =====================================================
    Mission accomplished: Our mighty “littoral combat ships” were specifically designed to be all but defenseless, ensuring every near-peer naval vessel of similar (let alone half the) tonnage will be able to sink them with little (if any) risk of retaliation.

    • Desplanes

      The LCS is the “near pier” naval vessel.

      • Curtis Conway

        What He Said ↑

      • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

        Yep, you absolutely right there admiral, ‘your’ bathtub LCS are ‘near pear’ to your other bathtub ‘warships.’

      • Secundius

        And where does the “Gerald Ford” and her Sister Ships fit in that “Pier’age”…

  • NavySubNuke

    Lots of good here – especially the advanced procurement for USS COLUMBIA (what a terrible name for an SSBN by the way). Getting 2 VA’s and 3 Burke’s is also great. They are sorely needed in the fleet!!
    That said, if two extra unnecessary and unwanted LCS are the price of getting the military fully funded on time then that is a small price to pay as compared to the damage a multi-month CR would once again inflict on the military.
    At the end of the day it is about politics and unneeded and unwanted vessels like LCS provide jobs even if they never do leave the pier and provide no real capability to the fleet even if they do.
    Hopefully these will be the last LCS and we will get a real frigate out of the FFG(X) program.

    • Kypros

      I have accepted the fact that nearly 3 dozen LCS will do little for the security of the United States. I just hope that a tourniquet can be applied to the bloody LCS stump and a non-LCS based Frigate is built.

      • Dean687

        Perhaps they’ll have a ‘use’ someday, as sinkex targets, once they wear out (which shouldn’t be very long). But of course, they’ll sink with just a couple of 50 cal hits so we probably wouldn’t get much exercise out of them.

        • PolicyWonk

          I agree it may not take much to sink them: the USN never completed the planned shock trials regime for LCS, and apparently has no intention of doing so.

          Its therefore valid to speculate the testing they did do didn’t go well.

          Hence – using LCS for sinkex targets isn’t likely as useful as it would be with a military-grade sea-frame. That said, I have to admit it would be interesting to see what would happen – just to see how tough these things really are (or aren’t).

          • Kypros

            Maybe they can be sold to civilians and converted to party boats. The Indys especially, have a HUGE dance area!

          • PolicyWonk

            They prove useful for that purpose, and there’s room for a band-stand to boot!

            OTOH, I’d thought the might be useful as tenders for Mark VI patrol boats.

            Drop the hook in a secluded cove; bring along a pair of Vipers in the event of trouble, bring along several extra pallets of ammo/ordnance, a couple of fuel bladders and a maintenance crews, and you’d be good to go.

          • Ed L

            I think a couple of LCPL’s could do the job

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS should be limited operationally to NORTHCOM/SOUTHCOM AORs, supporting SOF and Marine Raider Battalions, and used sparingly anywhere else and only in low intensity tasking like Anti-Piracy.

          • PolicyWonk

            This is largely in keeping with my posting – and we’re agreed on the low-intensity tasking. The Marine Raider Battalions/SOF’s would definitely benefit from having a few Vipers nearby…

            I find it astonishing that given the rigor with which our forward deployed fleets are being used (exhaustion of crews, etc.), that neither of these LCS classes seems to be capable of even performing mere “presence” missions – for which even the existing SUW mission package shouldn’t be necessary.

            There is pitifully small value coming out of these ships, that have now been theoretically in service since 2008.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’ve said it before, and I will say it again . . . the LCS (both classes) will be an albatross around the Navy’s neck as long as they are in service. They will artificially inflate out Surface Combatant count, and be a net negative to any formation to which they are assigned, save (perhaps) an Amphibious Ready Group.

          • PolicyWonk

            Concur.

            However, I am unclear of the added value of LCS if/when assigned to an ARG, which are comprised of blue-water assets.

            Granted, they don’t tend to move as fast through the water as a CSG – but I’d see the FFG(X) (assuming they are designed and constructed as warships) as a far better option because it adds defensive capabilities missing in both LCS classes.

            I see little value added by LCS, unless you’re strictly referring to mine clearing capabilities.

          • Curtis Conway

            One day the the MCM modules may actually work, but the SOF support for Marine Raiders, and their potential interface with the Navy Expeditionary Forces is where the real return on this platform lies. All the weapon systems developed for it so far have outstanding applications in that realm. Amphibious groups do not move that quickly, and the LCS can keep up, refuel often, and/or race ahead as a vanguard. It is a shame it does not have a non-rotating 3D AESA radar so it can participate with NIFC-CA capabilities. With the ASuW 30mm installed, and the Hellfire package on board they will formidable in that environment.

          • Secundius

            Once a Helicopter and/or Fire Scout is Parked on Open Flight Deck, “Stealth” just became meaningless…

          • Curtis Conway

            A $100 Million F-35B on a flight deck of a small boy will definitely take that flight deck out of operation until the Jet can be craned off, or flown off. I wonder if the F-35B recovery process for CVNs has been developed? Don’t know if the front landing gear can handle rolling over arresting cables, and a horizontal hovering approach requires clearance of antennas and Thermion on the deck. Conventional carrier F-35B Landing Spot folks . . . its coming . . . count on it.

          • Secundius

            What’s the distance from the Third or Fourth Arrestor Cable to the Edge of the Angled Flight Deck? The F-35B in a SRVL (Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing) requires less than 450-feet of landing space traveling at ~57kts…

          • Curtis Conway

            First cable is somewhere in the vicinity of 200′. The area from the Stern Ramp forward to the first wire would be the logical place to install Thermion. No antenna removal is required. Other areas to consider would be to facilitate a normal LHA recovery technique, so top of the Port Elevator-4, to the left of Cat 2 (Crotch), or somewhere on the Port-side of the bow, would be the areas of consideration. Can’t do the Port-side of Cat 3-4 because there is not enough room except for the end of Cat-4, and you don’t want to heat up the track during landing. Antennas and the weather station are all over the Starboard side, and the F-35Bs make their approach from behind or Port-side anyway.

          • Secundius

            Is the Port Elevator “Steel” or “Aluminum” construction, do you know? Thermion is only rated for ~3900F from 15-minutes at 100% of F-35B’s Down Wash…

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m sure everything is steel on deck, including the elevators. If it’s aluminum I would be highly surprised, particularly after the Forrestal business.

          • Secundius

            Didn’t know that about “Forestall”…

          • Curtis Conway

            We used to have to watch the [old] film in Shipboard Firefighting.

          • PolicyWonk

            I agree that the MCM module, and the “box o’ hellfire” package will be useful. The ASW package also contains some very interesting technologies, and the LCS mission package concept has proven useful in that these systems and weapons are designed to be lightweight/compact.

            However, these could also be installed/used by a variety of military-grade platforms, that IMHO, further reduces the value of LCS. And the job of being the vanguard of an ARG, is likely better suited for FFG(X), which should have a lot more punch, and range. LCS would be better off cruising with the main fleet for mine clearing purposes: as this simply isn’t a sea-frame that belongs in harms way.

            You might recall, that the PC’s also had SOF support intentions, but the SOF’s considered them too big, which was part of the reason the USN transferred some of them to the USCG, until they realized they needed a littoral combat platform for duty in the Persian Gulf, and LCS simply wasn’t the answer. If the PC’s were too large for SOF’s, then I have trouble thinking LCS will fare much better for SOF purposes, especially since stealth wasn’t a major design goal.

            Given their size, the PC’s were (are) far better armed than LCS, especially since they were up-gunned prior to shipment to the Persian Gulf. LCS has the large flight deck, which is why I consider them better for the role I described: acting as a tender for Mark VI (or SOF boats), carrying a few Vipers along to do the fighting if/when the going gets tough.

            There could be other as-of-yet unpublished design features of LCS that may prove us (or me) all wrong, which I for one, truly hope is the case.

          • Curtis Conway

            PolicyWonk, get yourself some FFG(X) pompoms. You are 100% on target for FFG(X). As for ASW and the LCS, I wonder what the submarine boys say about their ability to passively track those huge waterjets up top. I bet the LCS is not very quiet acoustically. Its not like the hull and screw with masking.

          • PolicyWonk

            Agreed: I’ve heard from a sub-driver friend of mine (Virginia class, Block III boat), that they could hear/identify LCS from a LOT of miles away (his emphasis, not mine)…

          • Curtis Conway

            So, we have a platform that is inappropriate for the Arctic/Antarctic Regions, and is intended to be used as an ASW platform dragging a tail and VDS (which means they have to be underway), and the submarines can hear that steaming volcano underwater for miles. OH . . . this is a marriage made in heaven (NOT!).

          • PolicyWonk

            Well… This would seem to be the case. His opinion was LCS would be what he referred to as “easy pickings”.

            Now whether the LCS crew was aware they were being tracked/targeted, I don’t know (I doubt it). I’d bet they were FDH at the time, and had no idea whatsoever they were being tracked.

            OTOH, what’s a sub driver to do to provide entertainment value for the crew (and keep ’em sharp), but to continuously detect, track, and find shooting solutions for anything that floats that might someday warrant a torpedo?

          • Curtis Conway

            Skimmers & Targets

          • Secundius

            Just to let you know, that the US Navy has decided on the Mk.110 57 Bofors as Main Gun for FF(X)…

          • PolicyWonk

            PEO UCS – formerly PEO LCS: your tax dollars at “work”.

            At least, the ship should have a sizable missile complement. I can hardly wait to see which LCS variant they choose! ;-P

          • Secundius

            Last I heard, the US. Navy want’s to go from a 16-cell configuration to a 32-cell configuration. As a possible augmentation to bolster BMD. Also if you haven’t heard, the US Senate “Green Lighted” F-35A’s sale to Turkey. Despite John McCain’s opposition…

          • PolicyWonk

            Excellent – especially given how cozy Turkey has gotten with Putin.

            And we know what a great friend and ally they are, because when Turkey, Iran, and Russia were conducting talks w/r/t Syria’s fate at the end of the civil war, the USA not only wasn’t invited, but didn’t even have a low-level observer taking place.

            I sure am tired of all this “winning”…

            BTW – the USN really wants to get out of the BMD business – its taking too much away from many other operational assignments. They want to see a lot more “Aegis Ashore” installations instead.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’m wondering about research and development money for development and test of improving that round. The Navy is putting a lot of faith in that gun mount, round, and future of the safety of our sailors. I could go for the development of a hyper-sonic 57mm round. That would make up for the lower blast effect of the package.

          • Secundius

            I suspect the US. Navy chose the 57 Bofors for it’s Anti-Swarming role defense gun…

          • PolicyWonk

            I suspect you’re correct, w/r/t the 57mm and FFG(X).

            With capital ships (DDG’s, CG’s, CVN’s, LHD’s, LHA’s, etc.), the newly developed “Box o’ Hellfires” would go a long way to having swarm protection, at fairly low cost (for the larger ships).

            That said, defense contractors love missiles, as they have high profit margins, compared to bullets and shells, which are dirt cheap.

          • Secundius

            Well they (US Navy) also want to place more NSM’s onboard as a Long-Reach Artillery Missile for Shore-based Targets…

          • Secundius

            There’s also a rumor that the US Military (don’t know which branch) want’s to replace the GAU-22/A 4-barrel 25x137mm Gun on the F-35 with the M230LF Single Barrel 30x173mm Gun. To either supplement or replace the A-10 Warthog. The only handicap being Low Rate of Fire of ~200rpm, compared to the GAU-22/A’s ~3,000rpm…

          • PolicyWonk

            The only question I’d have, is how much ammo do they think is going to fit into the magazine?

            I recall reading about an exchange between USAF F-35 fighter jockeys and the CAS crowd championing the A-10 for the CAS mission the F-35 is claimed to replace, where the fighter jockeys were asked “how many rounds can the cannon fire with a full load”?

            The answer was in the very low hundreds, while the A-10 carries in the thousands. It seems the question made them angry.

          • Secundius

            The Apache’s Gun Magazine is ~300-rounds, but if using a 12-PAK magazine. Ammunition capacity is raised to ~1,200-rounds. Gun Size and Weight of M230LF is nearly identical to that of GAU-22/A…

          • PolicyWonk

            The Apache is/was specifically designed to be a flying tank-killer. A solid, and very successful war machine: it carries lots of ammo/ordnance.

          • Secundius

            Missile Armament (i.e. Hellfire) was designed to Kill Tanks! The 30x113mm M230 was designed to Kill Secondary Armored Vehicles (i.e. ACP’s and BMP’s)…

          • Secundius

            In 1943 American Scientist F. L. Permutter and British Scientist S. W. Coppock developed a “Tungsten Carbide” APDS for the British QF-6 (57x441mm/R). That had a Muzzle Velocity of ~1,151m/s (~Mach 3.475). The 57 APDS can be used on the Swedish Mk.110 57x438mm/R Bofors, simply by changing shell casing. The British/American 57×441 used “Cordite” propellant in WWII, the Swedish 57×438 uses NC-1066 (Single-Based, Monotuular, Graphired Granular) propellant…

          • Curtis Conway

            Those big armored Russian ASCM warheads will require it.

          • Secundius

            And where exactly does Hypersonic come into play, when their maximum speed is only Mach 2.9? Terminal Altitude is ~50-meters, but Cruising Altitude is ~1,000-meters. Not exactly hard to spot at that altitude…

          • Curtis Conway

            All I’m saying Secundius is a standard 57mm round (practice or the other one) will not defeat the armor around Russian warheads on their ASCMs.

          • Secundius

            I also don’t expect an AA Gun to be trying to Shoot Down a Missile traveling at Mach 2.9! If the Mk.45 127mm is incapable of doing it, what makes you think that the 57mm Bofors will…

          • Curtis Conway

            Because our valiant LCS proponents say so (tongue in cheek).

          • Secundius

            The Mk.110 57mm Bofors “Won’t” engage an Aerial Threat until it comes to within ~7.600-meters of the Ship. The Mk.45, won’t engage an Aerial Threat until said threat comes within ~15,700-meters. Regardless of what “Bell’s and Whistle’s” are mounted to it…

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, with the new powered HVPs that may change. There is even an inference that the 5″ could take on a BMD mission for low altitude threats.

          • Secundius

            And of the Two Gun System, which is more likely of Shooting Down the Threat? Considering the rate of Fire of the Mk.45 is less than 1/10th of that of the Mk.110…

          • Curtis Conway

            Every Mk45 has superior sensors (SPY-1 radar) that can provide the track to the FC system. They will see it coming and use that superior range capability, and larger blast effect, overcome the threat. Really don’t know what the new projectile will look like, but the Excalibur capability is a good indication of its lethality.

          • Secundius

            I don’t recall “Excalibur” ever being used to Shoot Down a threat Missile! Also a Mach 2.9 Missile is traveling at ~963.96m/s or ~16.28-seconds for the Mk.45 to engage and kill the Threat Missile. And at 1 round every 3 seconds gives you ~5 probable hits against Threat Missile, all while the Ship is evading and pitching on a x, y, z motion of the ship…

          • Curtis Conway

            That is because it is not used to Shoot Down threat Missiles, but it is about the same form factor (roughly). All your calculations and musing missing the fundamental point. It maneuvers on its own. The delivery system just has to point it in the right direction, program the threat recognition into it, and cut it loose. All that x, y, z business is happening when we shoot Mk41 VLS too, and the missiles still do their job, just like the HVP will, only it gets a head start pointed in generally the right direction, and gets a speed boost (propellant).

          • Secundius

            The Mk.110 57 Bofors isn’t required to Shoot Down the Threat Missile Directly, when an Indirect Kill will be just as effective. The “57” only need to Build a Wall between the Threat Missile and the Target Ship. That the Threat Missile has to Fly Through to get to the Target Ship. WWII “Kamikaze Physics”, and at ~220rpm that’s ~11 Times more rounds on Target Area than the Mk.45 5-inch Gun and produce…

  • John McHugh

    Instead of continuing the LCS class, the USN should start a follow-up class of the USCGC Eagle.

    1) It will be vastly more reliable.
    2) It will be much more survivable.
    3) It could be considered a hybrid plant.
    4) They could raise funds doing weekend booze cruises.
    5) The SWO candidates could now actually learn seamanship while shuttling the brass around the islands, thus keeping them from making any more quality acquisition decisions !

    WIN-WIN

    • James276

      I hear the heavy footsteps of admiral duenee coming spitting forth “sheesh, sheesh, sheesh.”