House panel seeks to block Global Hawk retirement

The Air Force has sought to retire Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30s for two years. The service says that it makes more sense in many operations to continue using the manned U-2 planes, which the Global Hawk was supposed to replace.

Last year, Congress also blocked the Air Force from mothballing the Global Hawk Block 30 variant, questioning why the Air Force should keep operating with the older, manned aircraft.

In a maneuver to prod the Army, the subcommittee mark includes a restriction on funds to the next stage of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle until the Army secretary submits a status report to the congressional defense committees.

The measure fully funds the F-35 program as requested in the Pentagon’s 2014 budget, while including a requirement for the Pentagon to create an independent team to review the fighter’s software program.

The bill, which will be marked up on Thursday, also contains a study for the Pentagon to improve body armor for female service members.