In its first swipe at the 2013 defense authorization bill, the House Seapower subcommittee approved a new cost cap for the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, and rejected again a service request to decommission nine ships as an economy measure.
The Seapower and Projection Forces markup, passed Tuesday and sent to the full House Armed Services Committee, also supports continued procurement of new submarines, destroyers and littoral combat ships (LCS) and grants the Navy’s request for multiyear procurement authority to buy 32 E-2D electronic warfare aircraft through 2018.
Key Navy provisions supported by the subcommittee include:
* Raising the cost cap for the carrier, CVN 78, from $11.755 billion to $12.9 billion;
* Requiring the Navy to demonstrate, test and evaluate unmanned, autonomous aerial refueling using the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator aircraft, using both the Navy’s hose-and-drogue system and the Air Force’s boom system;
* Requiring an annual review by the U.S. Comptroller General on the progress and performance of the Marine Corps’ amphibious combat vehicle acquisition program;
* Requiring the Navy to report on the new air missile defense radar, including its affect on an Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer and other naval platforms including San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships;
* Requiring the Navy to report on its efforts to enhance training efforts to utilize the full range of radar capabilities on the LCS. In particular, the subcommittee lauded the capabilities of the Sea Giraffe radar fitted to Independence-class LCSs.
* Requiring the Navy to report on the likely size of the fleet given a projected annual shipbuilding budget of $16 billion;
* Requiring the Comptroller General to assess the effectiveness of fixed-price incentive fee contracts.
The subcommittee also recommends authorizing one or more multiyear procurement contracts to buy multiple variants of C-130J Hercules aircraft for the Navy and Air Force.