Navy 'wish list' includes $2.7B for planes, but no ships

Navy 'wish list' includes $2.7B for planes, but no ships
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The Navy wants 24 more aircraft but asks for no additional ships in its 2018 unfunded priorities list sent to lawmakers this week.

The service’s biggest unmet requirement is $2.7 billion to acquire 24 more planes, including 10 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighters, six P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft — both made by Boeing — four Lockheed Martin-made F-35C Joint Strike Fighters and four CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, made by Bell and Boeing.

The 48-item list, sent to lawmakers May 30, asks for a total of $4.8 billion for weapons, equipment, operations and maintenance and development efforts not included in the Navy’s $171.5 billion fiscal 2018 budget, which was released last month.

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The document does not include any ships, an unexpected development as the Navy has called for expanding the fleet to 355 vessels. A larger Navy fleet was a top defense issue for President Trump on the campaign trail.

Several lawmakers have pressed for an additional littoral combat ships (LCS) in the budget — the Navy’s 2018 request only includes one — and the acting Navy acquisition chief, Allison Stiller, said last month that the White House is “supportive” of buying two ships. 

The unfunded list does include $84 million for LCS lethality and survivability upgrades, $31 million to develop an over-the-horizon capability for the ships and $110 million for the Navy’s new LCS training facility at Naval Station Mayport in Florida.

The list also include $312 million to buy five Textron-made ship-to-shore connectors.

Congress asks for unfunded lists from each service on an annual basis. The documents help guide lawmakers as they work through the budget requests and form policy and spending bills.