The House’s 2018 defense authorization bill goes far beyond US President Donald Trump’s $603 million proposal, with House Armed Services Committee considering $621 billion top line for defense. Of the whopping figure, $21 billion will boost to buy more weapons, allocating major funding upgrades to F-35 and F/A-18 fighter jets and Navy shipbuilding programs. However, the bill falls short of what House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) is seeking.
Thornberry, according to CNN, said he was planning to push a $705 billion defense authorization bill, consisting of a $640 billion base budget and $65 billion in war funding. But he did say it could change if a compromise was reached, and according to three sources familiar with the legislation, Thornberry also agreed to move forward with the budget committee numbers.
“I think $640 (billion) is what we need to address the problems that have developed from sequestration and the pace, the tempo of operations over the years,” Thornberry told reporters Thursday afternoon. “For me personally, if I were to agree to a lower number, I would need some sort of added stability to the out-years.”
US War Frontier 2017: Aviation & Naval Expenditures
Pentagon would have $27 billion more with the Texas Republican’s bill. It would authorize a major boost to procurement, which per Thornberry is required to replace old military equipment– but also is a boon to US defense contractors.
$6 billion is intended for shipbuilding funding, including an extra $1 billion for the Littoral Combat Ship program, $1.9 billion for the DDG-51 destroyer and $1.8 billion for the LPD-17.
The bill would also authorize boost in aviation spending. An additional $2.2 billion would specifically be for more Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter jets, including additional Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps versions of the craft. An extra $600 million would then allow the Navy to buy more Boeing-built F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Additionally, there will be a budget for repairs and improvements as well, including an extra $103 for new A-10 Warthog attack jet wings, extending their service life; an extra $290 million for the UH-60 Army Black Hawk helicopters; and $355 million for the CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
The measure also reserves $319 million for the procurement of new THAAD missile interceptors and $158 million for additional SM-3 block 1B interceptors.
Also Read: US Navy Torpedos To Become More Lethal