House Appropriators Add More F-35s for 2015

House Appropriators Add More F-35s for 2015

A U.S. House of Representatives committee has voted to add more funding for the F-35 fighter jet program in fiscal 2015.

The House Appropriations Committee, headed by Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, on Tuesday passed its version of the annual defense spending bill, which included funding for 38 of the stealthy, fifth-generation fighters. That’s four more of the aircraft than the Defense Department requested for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The bill will go to the full House for debate, reportedly sometime this summer before the August recess.

The Pentagon had planned to purchase 42 of the planes, known as Lightning IIs, next year but was forced to reduce the quantity to 34 due to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees supported the department’s budget request for the Joint Strike Fighter program, though the quantities could still change during negotiations on a final authorization bill.

The F-35 program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated to cost a total of about $400 billion for 2,457 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Notably, the House appropriators also differed from their defense committee colleagues in agreeing to retire the A-10 gunship. The panel rejected an amendment that would have steered $339 million from the Pentagon’s operations and maintenance account to keep the Cold War-era plane known as the Warthog flying.

The bill was otherwise similar to the one that passed out of the panel’s defense subcommittee, headed by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey, with more funding for weapons procurement than the President Barack Obama’s budget request, but less money for research and development and operations and maintenance.

The procurement funding includes $2.4 billion for 87 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 37 MH-60S/R choppers made by United Technologies Corp.‘s Sikorsky unit; $1.6 billion for seven KC-46A refueling tankers made by Boeing Co.; and $789 million to refuel the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.

It also includes $975 million for 12 EA-18G Growlers, also made by Boeing. The added money for the Growlers comes after an aggressive lobbying campaign by the Chicago-based aerospace giant to promote the radar-penetrating qualities of the jet over the F-35.

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Money concerns uber alles. Good money after bad in the case of the F-35. And relative peanuts saved by ridding the AF AOB of the capable and proven A-10. Pure politics as the AF/Lockheed Martin made sure that every state in the union has a piece of the (lack of) action. I sure hope that we don’t have any more blue-on-blue ‘mishaps’ due to inability to distinguish friend from foe.

At least the Growler will still be produced, they’ll least have something working to counter electronics warfare attacks that F-35’s stealth profile can’t over come. Stupid to scrap the A-10, F-35 is poor substitute for its mission. Its worth the money.

It’s going to be harder to justify replacing A-10s with aircraft flying at medium/high altitudes considering recent events. Perhaps Sen. McCain’s incredulous reaction to the USAF considering B-1s as CAS platforms has more merit than industry operatives care to admit.

This beast is going to die. I don’t know what’s going to kill it, but the funds are just not there for it to remain alive.

And it took Boeing a while, but they finally got their act together. The 12 EA-18G Growlers are at least a useful weapons system.

So how many do they actually have to build before you stop saying it’s going to die?

This and they struck down the A-10 (admittedly history). Maybe we really do need a change in congress to where we know who the enemy really is.

When this program actually produces an affordable aircraft that’s combat ready I’ll consider it. So far it has failed entirely.

If, you only knew what you were talking about.…

Well, maybe if the current administration didn’t blown the deal to sell Super Hornets to Brazil. Then we wouldn’t need to buy Growlers to keep the Super Hornet Production Line Open!

It truly aches my heart knowing how our senior leadership let us all down canning the A10’s: a workhorse, a proven platform and one the guys in the dirt can atest to it’s battle field performance and reliability. Asked anyone who’s lives were hanging in the balance until the A10’s arrived on seen. You can ask the folks on the receaving end as well…they’ll share with you the fear and terror they experienced when A10’s orbited the Battle-field. Our senior elected leadership and DoD staff three and four star’s forgot about us guys in the dirt…again.

They have forgotten about the troops needs; but, I’ll bet they haven’t forgotten what happened in Virginia 2 days ago. It’s time for some of these old-timers to go, and it looks like people are waking up to the fact. I hope that military people, and their families get out and vote!

The F-35 is a unproven platform, the A-10 has proven over and over that it is. The very best $$$ a F-35 can destroy a main battle tank is for 80,000$. a A-10 can destroy a main battle for 235.00$ that’s what a round of 30mm cannon ammo costs for the A-10.

And yet, BO18E, the professionals that actually run the Air Forces of nations allied to us are standing in line to get new orders and to increase the orders they have. The F-35 is having teething pains much like aircraft that have become workhorses in our air force.
Will it be as inexpensive and as great as it was supposed to be? No.
Will it be a very good aircraft that fills a lot of roles? Yes.

Suprisingly, the article doesn’t cover a really important aspect of the funding bill — that the HAC is trying to nickel-and-dime the Navy’s sideline plan to put half the Tico fleet in mothballs. The reality is that there is no money to operate those hulls on the reduced schedule that HAC wants. The Navy knows that, and while the decision to idle those hulls wasn’t made easily — it had to be done. Now HAC’s trying to UNDO that, and the cost will be paid in readiness and training funds. Great — we still have 3/4 of the Tico fleet active. Not so good news, we don’t have enough money to fuel them, maintain them and keep the crews trained and ready. The Hollowing of the Force will not happen because we didn’t buy enough weapons, it will happen because we can’t AFFORD to keep up the ones we have and be READY to use them.

You’ve got to be kidding me. They’re in line to buy them only because we told them to. Many of those nations want out of the program, but they can’t get out. Do you even UNDERSTAND the nature of defense corporations and politics? They’ve been economically blackmailed with jobs promises and contracts to stay. Pulling out of the program is not so simple.

This jet will not even be a very good aircraft. By all standards, when this thing is finished (if it is ever finished) it will have compromised so much in so many areas to fulfill those roles that it will be good at nothing. Even if it meets the current targets it will be inferior to current 4th gen fighters and will cost about 3x or 4x as much. LM gets to take everything while delivering nothing that they promised.

On another hand, the F-16s will not be upgraded due to lack of funds, so maybe it’s a good idea to give them more strike missions. They can be used for CAS, point air defense, anti-helicopter defense, CONUS air defense and attack in lower threat environments.

The USAF should still spend a part of the money saved from the A-10s to increase their CAS capabilities. Perhaps 500k per plane for 600 F-16s to integrate new a/g weapons on the cheap.

+100 thumbs up.

A GBU-12 costs around 20k.

From what I have read the A-10 fires around 100 rounds per pass. And the GAU-8 is not powerfull enough to kill a modern MBT.

Although I’m sure the recent friendly fire tragedy will stir the debate, it is most likely a red herring. There have been plenty of blue-on-blue incidents involving A-10s and helos, which are even lower and slower than the Hawg.

Nobody disputes the A-10 is an awesome, premier CAS platform. The question is…what do we propose the AF get rid of if it keeps the A-10? Who pays the $4+ billion bill?

When nations that are ordering F-16’s cancel and replace orders with F-35 then we should take notice. Lockheed hasn’t written off the –16 yet because it knows the –35 has a long way to go to impress export customers.

Maybe the next plan is to shut down F-16 wings to reprogram the money for F-35 buys…that’s the ticket.

Re pressure to buy F-35’s:

The Congressional fixation on number of hulls instead of readiness is actually very scary. If we pay for the GW’s refuelling and the Ticos at the expense of readiness (see the dodbuzz post about the navy trying to do more maintenance in-house) then we are screwed in wartime.

A small, professional, vertically integrated military can serve as a nucleus to scale up in wartime. A hollow military that is un-evenly polished is an unsteady construct.

How about we just get rid of a few air farce generals, their huge staffs and close down a couple of air farce golf courses. That will easily make up the difference.

That won’t be making any difference to those fired gernallies because they’ll be working for Lockhead anyway.

Close more bases. If we are going to have a smaller air force after the F-35 gets rammed through, are we still going to need as many air bases?

I guess it’s time to impose tariffs on products imported from the People’s Republic of China. No advantage to free trade if you don’t make enough export to offset the flood of imports.

Yep, keep throwing good money at the most expensive lawn ornament ever. Not another cent should be spent on this failure

No one seems to have brought up the fact the the Boeing B-52s have been around a LONG time and cost the defense aircraft industry a LOT of money over the years by not being replaced, only upgraded. They won’t allow that to happen with the A-10 no matter how good the platform is. The A-10’s demise is about corporate profits, not what’s best for the people on the ground. Comments anyone?

So they retire 300 A-10’s to save money and turn around and buy more F-35’s — HUh???

Actually it is. The DU rounds chew through armor reactionary or not.

But the most important role it plays is pin point fire support with explosive rounds. Nothing else can do that.

So its money as usual the congress critters get kick backs from L.M. to save this inferior plane from the scrap heap.

Lets hope the senate save real planes we need like the A-10.

And that’s why the Pentagon is broke. These large Defense contracts that become money pits, 3 times over budget. But they scrap a useful plane like the Warthog. Hmmm. To wit: IG tells Pentagon to provide a list of what the taxpayers money was spent on in their Defense budget. Pentagon to IG, we don’t have a clue, but we’ll get a list together maybe. Hmmm.

There were supposed to be F-35s sitting on the ramp at Cherry Point by now. Instead they recently extended the AV-8B essentially indefinitely. That should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the F-35.

My strong educated guess is that all the services, Air Force included, wouuld LOVE to close some bases. The problem is, 1) Congress is dead set against it, and 2) it takes a long time to harvest the savings from base closures, especially if you have to do a bunch of environmental clean-up and remediation.

Gotta be another solution that pays the bill within the FYDP.

Big-D, the cost savings from cutting a bunch of AF GO billets wouldn’t even add up to a significant accounting error in this budget. And, BTW, even thought the AF has more GO billets than the other services, I believe they have the fewest SES posiitons. So in the big scheme it is probably a wash…

Dino… Air Force is moving in the another direction. Recently, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James recommended to the Secretary of Defense Charles Timothy Hagel to add over 1100 people to the Global Strike Command, and elevate the leadership billet from the current three-star general to a four star rank. They have had some discipline problems, and this seems to be their solution.

$400 billion dollars of tax payer waste!! Congressman Rogers and the rest of the staff need to be voted out of office and we are going to do it in the upcoming primaries. The real conservatives likethose who defeated Cantor are tired of run away pentagon spending. Wy are they not listening to road, schools, infrastructure lobbyists who are the real might of America? A jet figher is not the power of America. it is our English language and mighty indtrial might not the pentagon.

There are more Acquisition persnnel (both military and civilians and support contractors) “buying” stuff than there are front line solders in the DOD. WHen is someone with some smarts going to see this stupidity? I support Retired General Punero who is now the head of NDIA and the Congress and DoD should listen to him. After 35 years of first hand knowledge of the pentagon spending waste and corruption I have seen it all, it is getting worse. I put in those suggestions for the better buying power ideas and to date they ar not being follwed, it is all a joke!

True. The other alternative would be to simply shut down bases. Consolidate air wings and leave Wackenhut to keep the urbexers out.

Exactly, that would start saving $$$ the instant you mothballed the base. However, I think Congress is ahead of that game, and the law puts a limit on the # of positions that can be cut/moved from a base. That would make it impossible to do a Wackenhut solution without getting specific Congressional approval…which they ain’t gonna do.

Perhaps they’ll strip down the number of A-10 wings, but maintain the capability at a low level. I wish the F-35 well and all, but so long as they can pull A-10’s out of storage for the next war we should be ready for anything.


Still fighting the last war ? What kind of war will the next one be ? Another Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya ? What if its a country with more robust modern air defenses. Say Iran, North Korea, or God forbid Russia or China. What use do you see for an A 10 in any of these situations. Sure it can kill a tank but Russia doesn’t have tens of thousands of T 90 tanks to send flooding across eastern Europe. What they do have are excellent point defense SAM and AAA. Some on the same armored vehicle like the SA 19 and the truck mounted SA 22.. The SA 19 was designed to counter western helicopters and the A 10 in particular. Only long range stand off weapons and high speed stealthy or masked aircraft can penetrate these types of defenses. These high value assets will only be employed against the long range SAMs, airbases and CCC assets, to achieve some level of air dominance. Total Air superiority is almost out of the question against the Chinese or Russians. Helicopters will have to operate behind friendly lines. A 10s would be almost useless since unlike a helicopter it cannot hide behind a tree. As for the Pacific Theater it would be totally useless anywhere other than North Korea.

There isn’t much that will survive prepared air defenses. It’s probable the A-10 will need organic EW to survive against a modern foe…not like the Navy will have time to scare up some Growlers for the Air Force.

An A-10 modified to trade weapons payload for EW would be an intimidating Wild Weasel. One that could jam its way through radar, one-punch-knockout anything that moved on wheels and tracks while taking a beating would be an incredibly versatile platform.

Sounds like sour grapes from a Boeing Hornet lover, who doesn’t remember all the growing pains that aircraft went through… Only difference today is social media is instantaneous, back then it took weeks or months to get stories out, and it was much easier to hide issues… not so much today!

You said it very well

Another dirty little secret is what exactly the F35 is doing to the buyers’ air forces and military procurement.

Take a look at the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, among others. They signficantly cut into the bone of other services and capabilities, not to mention the process of acquiring much needed new systems, to get this flying turkey.

I know in the US, it is profoundly affecting our big 4.

“What use do you see for an A 10 in any of these situations”

Close air support for units on the ground is absolutely invaliable. JRTC proved that.

Especially with the comparatively anemic Stryker brigades.

The strength to defeat modern integral aerial defense batteries is not super radar stealth, but jamming technology…which causes the enemy to revert to traditional gun AAA, which the A10 is well suited against (and even against russian 30mm this is iffy but certainly better than the F35). The newer systems such as the S400 are specifically designed to counter B2s and other radar stealth capabilities.

“A 10s would be almost useless since unlike a helicopter it cannot hide behind a tree”

This arguement was made in favor of helicopter gunships in iraq (where there ARE trees and foliage), but it didn’t undue the face of reality, which is that the A10 is FAR more survivable than AH64s. Compare the loss rates.

Why do that when you can use F15s, which have a higher payload, for strike missions? (the strike eagle)

Dont tell the air force fighter mafia that. Their F15 was NEVER meant to be a ground support aircraft! (which is bullshit, but this mythology continues)

Except the Hornet “WORKS” for one, and two? it wasn’t a trillion dollar plus project.

If anything, the F35 reminds me of the F105 delta dagger and F111. Both abortions.

I have nothing against this idea, but the AF doesn’t have many F-15Es (150 combat coded or something like that). As for the F-15C, you would have to buy CFTs for them, and each set of CFTs probably costs several millions. You would also have to upgrade the avionics significantly to be able to use all the new CFT hardpoints. Finally the AF will not have many fighters with AESA if the F-16s are not upgraded, so the F-15Cs should reserved for air-to-air.

I agree! Also,the A-10 has redundant systems (i.e. hydraulic), self sealing fuel cells, and a titanium bath tub around the cockpit to protect the pilot, making it a highly survivable CAS aircraft!

The A-10 is a better CAS aircraft than the F-35.They should hang the idiots who want to retire the Warthog.

It was presumably the NSA angle, and the lower cost.

Brazil would bend over backward for FIFA, but not Boeing.

They chose to focus on the World Cup, and paid for it by cutbacks elsewhere. Looking at the money, I wonder what the cost of building all the infrastructure translates into in long-term gains…versus one-time cash flows. It’s a big mistake countries tend to make after the Olympics as well.

Returning to aircraft, considering the Hornet and the Gripen are very different aircraft it sounds like the Brazilians were going at it with an open mind. Hornet’s also too big for Sao Paulo, so asides from interoperability with the USA, what were the benefits? They likely would have received an indifferent export package: unlike the Middle Eastern clientele they can’t afford the shiniest toys.

Eisenhower said it: Beware of the Military/Industrial Complex

“The F-35 program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated to cost a total of about $400 billion for 2,457 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

That’s a LIE. 2013 prices for the F-35 varied from $185 million to $199 million each depending on the variant. With inflation they’re all probably over $200 million each now and the price will only keep increasing. By the time half of the planes are built the price will likely pass $300 million each. The total cost for the planned number of planes will likely exceed $600 billion. The prototype was 50% over budget, over weight, under-powered, and under-armed to compensate. After 17 years they’re still under development. The ‘concurrent development’ scheme is a disaster.

May I ask to what you are refering? I agree with what you are saying on principal but need clarification. I agree that the f35 is crap but how does that contribute to blue on blue fatalities? Tks in advance for your your reply.

We should get rid of Obama care and all of the other stupid entitlement programs and stop giving bilions of dollars to forigen countries while complaining that we don’t have the fundingb to keep planes and ships in operation for starters. And while we’re at it we should stop bringing every illegal immigrant and their mama over here in the name of compassion while thousands of college grads are unemployed and are defaulting on student loans. I’m not attacking you I’m mad at the gov and the administration for allowing and causing these types.or senarios to happen and at the folks that repeatedly vote these politicians in office

NO kidding on the FF for mode 4 mishaps. Lets build the 800 or so new Abrams to join their brothers at DREP!!

The cost per aircraft decreases as more are produced. It’s not unusual for the first few aircraft to cost 2 or 3 times more than those produced once in full production.

From what I have seen over the years, whenever you try to make a piece of equipment fit many different rolls, it does none of them well. The F35 is a little different in that the variants are build differently to perform their specific roll. Whether that works out well or not remains to be seen. The one thing I can say for sure is that none of the variants have been designed to fill the A10’s role. A single, in the fuselage engine and not bathtub around the cockpit, does not sound like a smart CAS aircraft and let’s not forget the A10’s gun.

And we get the funding from where? We don’t have funding for retired veterans or their health care, taking retirement away by raising fees/co-pays.…. but we build planes that we don’t need.

We’ve been needing a change in Congress for a long time now. Man, how we screwed up! We kept re-electing these bastards thinking they were doing us a good job. They turned on us, created a career laddar for themselves, a retirement package that goes to the spouse when they die. A big assed pay raise whenever they feel they need one, and free health care for themselves and family. We were stupid and they saw a hole in the dam and broke through.

If you haven’t served in the US Armed Forces, you should not hold office in Washington. How can non-military people make military decision.

The negative replies on the F-35 CAS abilities are obviously from individuals who do not know the unsurpassed capabilities of this fifth generation multi-role fighter. Ask anyone who has been briefed on these capabilities and they will agree. The F-35 will not only provide more precision weapons than the A-10, in its non-stealth configuration, it provides 5th Gen electronic attack, ISR, speed, agility and loiter time. The A-10 is a great jet for what it was designed for…CAS in the low threat environment. However, it can not survive against adversaries with any kind of air defense system.

more fancy tech toys that’ll fail in combat like the F4 and F5 debacles in Viet Nam or a myriad of others instead of tried and true tools like the A-10

did the autocensor actually chop up your word cockpit…?? too stupid for words

agreed. i think one solution which may not be approvable in today’s Army is to have any dirt GI equipped with much larger mobile gunnery and armament. that ‘s what the A-10 supplied
when the grunts got into a firefight with bad guys
out at a few hundred meters trading shots and RPG rounds.
diplomacy has it’s place but you need lots of ammo

…seems a mere 3 months ago there was not a penny to restore TRICARE PRIME for Retirees.
Now we have enough for 5 extra-magical electric jets.

Thanks. Really… thanks. I have incurred a couple of thousand in additional bills because I was tossed onto Standard at a time in my life where the benefit was the most important part of the compensation package…

To an E-6 retired, punking me out of my benefit to build extra jets… tells me all I need to know.

i agree, the A-10 has proven itself, and still is. I think that congress is (like always) really screwing up by now keeping the A-10. I have worked on the A-10 and can attest to the reliability, and ease of maintenance. Get your head out of the SAND congress.

Be careful what goes up will come down I have seen first hand of people not qualified to do their job and falsely accepting parts that were either not inspected or they just wanted them out of their area so being a level 3 ndt person he felt he has the power just to cheat Pratt , charge time to a job and sign it off. and while I am here I have a question, How are you a level 3 in FPI and red/green color blind HHHMMMMM makes you wonder what he can’t see.


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