View Full Version : Senate approves money for Hueys , Super Cobra's

07-30-2009, 02:51 PM
The budget battle over the Corps’ H-1 upgrade program continues as the House and Senate try to merge the two different versions of the fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization Bill.
The Senate approved its version late July 23, almost a month after the House, with a vote of 87-7. Earlier that day, it unanimously adopted an amendment that ensures production of the UH-1Y Hueys and AH-1Z Super Cobras will exceed fiscal 2009 levels.
The amendment — introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz. — once again allocates an additional $283 million to the H-1 program and eliminates a previous earmark that would have provided funding for an alternative engine for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter.
It also calls for the Defense Department to prove that production of an alternative engine will actually lower the overall cost of the JSF program and will improve the aircraft’s performance in the long run without disrupting the research, development and procurement of the JSF program or result in the procurement of fewer F-35s before funding is provided. However, it does not prevent production of the engine.
The Senate bill is a hard fought victory for the Obama administration, which has threatened to veto any bill that negatively impacts production of the Joint Strike Fighter. However, the House version still includes funding for the controversial program.
Proponents of the alternate engine say it is necessary to prevent a fleetwide grounding if anything goes wrong with the existing Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, and to lower the overall cost of the JSF by increasing competition. The Corps argues that the savings would be nominal and that the risk of relying solely on the Pratt & Whitney engine is small compared with the risk of prolonging the JSF’s development.
Commandant Gen. James Conway has said that unless the Corps can procure the 28 H-1s as planned for fiscal 2010 it will be forced to continue relying on a helicopter fleet long overdue for retirement.
The Navy Department’s proposed fiscal 2010 budget included funding for 28 UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters, both of which are built by Bell Helicopter and share 84 percent of the same parts, including the four-blade rotor system and crash-worthy seats, intended to reduce the logistical and supply load on squadrons. The plan was to build 16 new Yankees and two new Zulus and upgrade 10 AH-1W Cobras next year

Marine Corps times Printed edition