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.

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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.

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