House Adds 5 Growlers, Amphib to Defense Budget

House Adds 5 Growlers, Amphib to Defense Budget

The House Armed Services Committee added funding to the 2015 defense budget for five EA-18G Growler aircraft, a new amphibious assault ship and the refueling of an eleventh aircraft carrier for the Navy.

The HASC’s full-committee mark-up of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act adds $450 million to the legislation for production of five new Growler aircraft even though the Navy’s unfunded priorities list asked for as many as 22 new Growlers.

“The 22 aircrafts would enable us to increase five of our carrier air wing squadrons from five aircrafts, which is the current program of record to seven aircrafts and give us an additional capability. Now we are going to conduct a fleet battle experiment this summer off the East Coast with one of our carriers,” Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, the Navy’s top uniformed acquisition official, told Congress within the last several months.

Grosklags added that the 22 additional Growlers are particularly needed because the existing EA-6B aircraft will all be retired by 2019.

As of February of this year, the Navy has 97 Growlers in the inventory. The formal program of record calls for 138 Growler aircraft, Lt. Rob Myers, Navy spokesman, added.  Each Growler is said to cost $62 million, Boeing officials said.

Boeing is lobbying for more Growlers saying it needs to have at produce at least two Super Hornets or Growlers per month to keep its production line in St. Louis open.

“The domestic budget for FY15 (fiscal year) have no Super Hornets’ or Growlers so it’s very important to us for Congress to act on the request by the Navy for their unfunded requirements,” said Mike Gibbons, program manager for F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Industry sources say the Growler is well suited to counter emerging air defense system threats due to its ability to both jam and detect enemy signals.  Air defenses have become more mobile, digital and computerized, industry experts said, making them more difficult for stealthy aircraft to avert, they say.

However, some analysts such as Loren Thompson, a consultant for Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have said that fifth generation stealth fighters are equipped to respond to next-generation air defenses. He said the Growler could be more easily detectable and therefore alert potential enemies as to the presence of other aircraft.

The Congressional committee also added $800 million in new funds to procure a 12th LPD 17 amphibious dock landing ship. Senior Navy leaders, who have said there is a greater need for amphibs than there are available ships, have previously said the service would only procure 11 LPD 17s.

A group of retired Marine generals, including former Commandant Gen. James Conway and former CentCom Commander Sen. James Mattis, wrote a letter to Congress asking that more funding be allocated for amphibs. In particular, the letter requests funding for the 12th LPD 17 and asks that the effort form the basis of the Navy’s effort to procure a new amphib called LX®.

Navy officials have said that the new LX® amphibdesign could be a new design or a configuration of several existing ships such as the existing LSD 41/49 dock landing ship or LPD-17 San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock.

Overall, service leaders say they will come up short of the 33 amphibious warships which the Navy and Marine Corps deemed an acceptable number. The Navy currently has 29 amphibs.

Also echoing the need for more amphibs, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said there is currently a gap in the Mediterranean because so many Marine Expeditionary Units and Amphibious Ready Groups are in the Central Command area of responsibility.

“There’s no question that we would like to have more amphibious ships. I’d like to have 50-plus amphibious ships,” Amos told lawmakers

The HASC mark-up also adds $483 million to the refueling and overall for the USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier whose continued service will keep the Navy’s carrier fleet at 11.

If the USS George Washington is retired and not refueled to serve the remaining 25 years of its service life – then the Navy’s carrier fleet will drop to 10.  Along these lines, the HASC mark also added $298 million for reactor and power unit funding to support the USS George Washington’s mid-life refueling and overhaul, a process which can take up to four years to complete.

The HASC mark-up also decreased funding for the Navy’s new DDG 1000 destroyer by $54 million and decremented the Littoral Combat Ship by  $450 million, reducing the planned purchase from three per year down to two.

The Committee also added $82 million for plussed-up Tomahawk missile production. It remains to be seen how the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Committees will address these issues — so these mark-ups, while influential and significant, have a long way to go before being finalized.

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glad to hear the George Washington is getting a refueling. We’re going to need every carrier we have real soon, now is not the time to retire them early

and reducing the buy of LCS to two a year a small step in the right direction, I’d prefer they reduce the buy to zero per year.


5 more Growlers!!!!

“Grosklags added that the 22 additional Growlers are particularly needed because the existing EA-6B aircraft will all be retired by 2019.”

Grosklags needs to check his gouge. The Marine Corps is tentatively scheduled to sunset the EA-6B in the fourth quarter of CY 2019.

Whew. A refuel is paid for.

We still need to ensure that each carrier has an adequate battlegroup and carrier air wing…otherwise we are wasting our money. If we trade readiness in other areas just to have eleven carriers and additional amphibs, we’ll be in trouble.

This is all great news.

That being said, who edited this grammatical abortion?!?!

Hey Blight, I’d only wish that our air wings still had ASW and ASuW assets like the S-3, that was a great aircraft and it help to greatly extend the umbrella around the CBG

of course, if the navy brass doesn’t muck it up, the UCLASS can possibly do some of those missions

I agree; both on the GW refueling and the LCS.

You mean because he said “2019” instead of “ the end of 2019″? I think he should hide his head in shame for that!

I’d be inclined to drop the LCS entirely and fund further DDG 1000’s.

I agree to that philosophy the can will offer a lot more when finished.

Also like the HASC plan to save A-10s and keep Apaches in ANG service too.

I’m betting on the newer Burkes running into unforseen problems with new, expensive electronics.

Time for a bigger Burke, CG-?

Indeed, defenseindustrydaily suggests that the modern CV group traded persistent long range capability for point strike capability. The types of aircraft carried aboard shifted in type and consolidated as well. It is somewhat alarming.

Its not simply size working against the –51. To do the job right, the vessel needs to be re-done from the keel-up. At which point its a new ship. So while we may end up with a new Surface Combatant with a very familiar-looking hull form one day, it will be much more than a Burke with implants.

the navy is harming the civilian population on NASWI with the EA-18G. the NAVY is wasting the taxpayers money on a outdated technology and outdated aircraft.

NASWI is waging war on the civilian of Whidbey island, WA with this EA-18G that is so LOUD of 150+ DBA and heavy pollution and as well the high crash potential of this aircraft.

this EA-18G is a waste of the taxpayers money.

Growler isn’t louder than any other F/A-18. But anyone living next to an area with very heavy aircraft takeoff/departure is trapped in a bind.

Which job, the radars to detect things from afar or the railguns to bombard targets on land?

Hopefully the Zumwalts complete proofing and maturation of the technology, but it’s not likely that every BMD ship in the fleet will be dropping rail guns on land. Multi-role ships make a lot of tradeoffs.

We will probably stratify our ship types by blue and green water role with large and small combatants for each area respectively. More likely all our large blue-water-mission vessels with powerful radars will become “cruisers” and “frigates” and anything meant to go into the green becomes a “destroyer” or corvette/cutter/LCS/thing.

Green water ships will lack the standoff range, and thus lack the advantage gained from long range radar. Unless the plan is to park them close inshore and use them in counterbattery deep inland, in which case…

Sunsetting means that’s when they are going to stop making updates and changes in preparation for sending the last tails to the boneyard. Therefore if the “sunset” milestone is late FY19, then the last planes may not be gone until well into FY20. The term “to sunset” is the new euphemism to gradually cut something. It’s already becoming a cliche buzzword in the tech industry to mean “we are not paying for this anymore, but we can’t just hit delete without pissing our customers off.”

If given a choice between the George Washington being refueled and more LCSs. I believe keeping our carrier force strong is better than buying more LCSs

Trouble is that you only get 6 Zumwalts for the price of 32 LCS+modules. No matter how awesome the DDG-1000 turns out to be, sometimes you just need to be in more than 6 places at the same time.

Also — are you seriously proposing that the USN should have no minesweepers other than a few modified Burkes? $2bn missile destroyers are not usually the first choice of ship to send into a shallow-water minefield.

““There’s no question that we would like to have more amphibious ships. I’d like to have 50-plus amphibious ships,” Amos told lawmakers”

Yep…50+ amphibs and no surface combatants to protect them. A winning formula.

It’s quite probable that construction of new Fords will mean replacement of CVN’s before they are due for a costly RCOH. It’ll mean winnowing out much newer CVN’s “before their time” versus retirement of older Nims that were already refueled and upgraded but costs you’ve already paid for is money you can’t get back, versus costs you can skip by early retirement.

However, this would rely on the Fords acing their evals and not turning into a one-off like the Enterprise or a few-off like the Midway class.

I didn’t speak to minesweepers at all…so I’m not sure how you made that link. All I said was I’d drop the LCS for more Zumwalts. Even the Navy does not see them (LCS) as “survivable” Their word, not mine.

Bull. I have a friend with a cabin just off the end of the runway. He enjoys the show every time.

As a retired AF type, I am unfamiliar with some of the Navy’s terminology. The USS George Washington is apparently going to undergo an “overall”, which I assume refers to some type of stealth cloaking??? The other possible explanation is; the editors of these articles should do their jobs before posting them.

The EA-18G has more fuel efficient, quieter and (slightly) less polluting engines than the EA-6Bs and –As that have been at NASWI for the last 25+ years. Replacing the EA-6Bs with EA-18Gs will probably be appreciated by some people up there.
Plus, I’m not sure how a more efficient, more capable, proven aircraft is a waste of taxpayer’s money?


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