House Approves Money for Carriers, Aircraft in New FY 2020 Funding Bill

December 17, 2019 6:57 PM - Updated: December 18, 2019 5:33 AM
Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John F. Kennedy. Navy photo

The House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2020 funding for the Department of the Navy’s new ballistic missile submarine, the future frigate, Ford-class aircraft carrier, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters.

The Navy and Marine Corps funding is part of the $693.3 billion FY 2020 total for the Department of Defense and part of the $1.4 trillion spending bill Senate and House negotiators created that avoids a possible federal government shutdown at the end of this week. The spending bill still needs Senate approval and Trump’s signature before becoming law.

“Today the House will appropriate essential funding for our troops and the Department of Defense. This action comes nearly three months into the fiscal year, but it is not substantially different from the version passed by the House months ago,” read a statement from Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas) the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The bill provides $24 billion in FY 2020 funding for 14 ships, including:

  • $1.8 billion in advance funding for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine
  • $2.2 billion for the third and fourth Ford-class aircraft carriers
  • $1.3 billion for the future frigate
  • $5.3 billion for the Virginia-class submarine and $3 billion an advanced funding for future submarines in the program.

The Pentagon funding also provides the Department of the Navy $20 billion for aircraft, including for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, F-35B and F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, P-8A Poseidon and E-2D Hawkeye aircraft.

The Navy receives funding to field a force of 340,500 active duty personnel, an increase of 5,100 people from the FY 2019 funding. The Marine Corps is funded to field a force of 186,200 Marines, which is about the same as the FY 2019 funding.

However, the bill also addresses some concerns lawmakers have over how some of the Navy’s purchasing agreements are structured.

The funding bill provides $407 million for the Navy to buy large unmanned surface vehicles in fiscal year 2020, but had limits. The Navy can’t arm LUSVs with missile-carrying vertical launch systems.

The Navy already has two large USVs, which are part of the Pentagon’s Overlord program that converted surface vessels to operate under autonomous controls. The Navy wants to take the existing LUSVs and the two new vessels to start Phase 2 testing for more advanced work on navigation, test hull, mechanical and electrical systems, and work with payloads and command and control systems.

Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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