Courtney Lauds Committee Passage of Defense Authorization
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last night, Congressman Joe Courtney joined a unanimous bipartisan majority on the House Armed Services Committee in voting 61-0 to pass the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill fully supports continued investment in programs critical to Connecticut’s economy and industrial base. Among its provisions, which are detailed below, the bill supports continued two-a-year production of Virginia Class Submarines, ongoing development of the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) and denies a request for a new Base Realignment and Closure round (BRAC).
“Despite a difficult budget outlook across the federal government, the bipartisan bill we reported out today makes critical investments in programs that will enhance our national security,” Courtney said. “Chief among those is continued support for submarine construction to maintain our superior undersea fleet—a priority I have fought vigorously for since I was first elected to Congress. The unparalleled work of the men and women at Electric Boat in Groton has yielded a high degree of confidence and increased investment in the Virginia Class construction program, the Virginia Payload Module, and the Ohio Replacement Program. While other areas of the defense budget will see cuts, I am pleased that these reliably successful—and strategically critical—programs are securing full funding, and I hope to see this bill adopted by the House soon.”
Below are selected provisions of the bill:
Denies a request for a new Base Realignment and Closure round (BRAC) in 2017.
Key Connecticut Programs
Submarine Procurement and Development
·Virginia Class Submarine. $6.095 billion request to the Virginia-class sub program as part of a multiyear procurement contract between the Navy and Electric Boat to include the beginning of construction of two ships in FY 2016 with $2.330 billion for advanced procurement of future vessels.
o $205 million for continued research and development on the Virginia Class Submarine.
o $133 million for continued development of the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). Funds support design efforts on future Virginia submarine strike payload capacity for Tomahawk Land Attack and follow on missiles. The design is targeted for the Block V ships which are scheduled to begin construction in 2019. In addition, the 2014 QDR submitted with the budget supports “sustaining or affordably enhancing asymmetric advantages to remain ahead of or keep pace with adversary threats including offensive strike capabilities such as the…Virginia Payload Module.” (Electric Boat; Navy RDT&E, 123, 0604580N)
o $73 million for other improvements of the submarines. Virginia Class research and development efforts continue to focus on cost reduction efforts, operational evaluation testing, development of sonar, combat control, and electronic support systems, and submarine multi-mission team trainer efforts.
·Ohio Class Replacement. $1.289 billion continue to design the OHIO class ballistic missile submarine replacement. The Ohio Replacement Program is designed to replace the current class of ballistic missile submarines. Currently in the research and development stage, ship requirements and specifications are being refined. The ships will begin construction in FY 2021 for FY 2028 delivery when the first Ohio class ships are due to be decommissioned. In addition, the 2014 QDR submitted with the budget supports recapitalization of the SSBN fleet with a 2021 construction start date.
·National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund. The fund is designed to help offset the impact of future funding for the Ohio Replacement SSBN while ensuring that the other shipbuilding programs remain stable, by creating a new account outside of the Navy’s shipbuilding account.
Air Craft Procurement and Development
·F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. $8.3 billion for 34 F-35 joint strike fighters: 26 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and two for the Navy. $1.6 billion is for research and development efforts.
·KC-46 Tanker Replacement. $2.35 billion for continued development of the Boeing KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.
·C-130 Modernization. The Air Force’s FY 2015 budget request supports fleet structural viability by continuing to replace center wing boxes and addresses C-130H modernization with a reduced scope Communications Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) program. Increases funding to C-130 AMP by $35 million.
Helicopter Procurement and Development
·$1.36 billion for 79 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters, $1.04 billion for 29 MH-60R helicopters, $236 million for 8 MH-60S helicopters.
·Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH). While there is no funding the budget request for CRH, the Air Force announced that it intends to move forward with a contract award to Sikorsky using the $334 million provided for the program in 2014.
·VXX Presidential Helicopter. $388 million for continued development on VXX, which will continue the Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase to include the integration of systems, production, qualification, and support of test articles, logistics products development, demonstration of system integration, interoperability, safety and utility. Yesterday Sikorsky announced it received the contract for VXX.
·CH53K. $573.2 million for development of the heavy lift helicopter replacement.
·Connecticut Air National Guard: $16.3 million for a C-130 Fuel Cell and Corrosion Control Facility at Bradley AIP to support the new flying mission.