WASHINGTON — In a massive spending bill unveiled yesterday, Congress boosted funding for aircraft procurement, allowing the Pentagon to buy additional F-35 joint strike fighters and MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles.
Lawmakers included $1.33 billion for 11 additional F-35s across the armed services: three conventional takeoff and landing F-35As for the Air Force; two carrier variant F-35Cs for the Navy; and six short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, according to a summary of the bill.
For the Air Force, Congress added $80 million to buy four additional MQ-9 armed Reapers, meeting one of the service’s unfunded requirements.
The bill also includes $64.5 million for an additional special operations CV-22 Osprey for attrition reserve, as well as funding to upgrade the service’s fleet of C-130s.
For the Navy, lawmakers included $1.01 billion for seven additional EA-18G Growler electronic aircraft and five more F/A-18 Super Hornets.
The bill also includes a $500 million increase for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), according to the summary.