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Military Capabilities

US authorisers differ on F-35 funding

29 June 2017

Key Points

  • US lawmakers responsible for authorising spending propose different levels for the F-35
  • They'll have to work out difference, final funding limits could be lower

US House and Senate authorisers disagree on how much to permit the Pentagon to spend on F-35 procurement (Lockheed Martin)US House and Senate authorisers disagree on how much to permit the Pentagon to spend on F-35 procurement (Lockheed Martin)

United States lawmakers responsible for authorising defence spending disagree on how much to allow for procuring the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018).

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) recommended authorising roughly USD11.2 billion, including enough spending for 87 F-35s. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) recommended authorising USD10.6 billion, which it said provides for 94 F-35s.

Both HASC and SASC approved their versions of the FY 2018 defence authorisation bill on 28 June. Any differing versions of the bills must be sorted out in conference negotiations and approved by the House and the Senate before potentially becoming law. Authorisers provide limits on how much can be spent, appropriators can provide less, if they desire.

HASC recommended roughly USD6.6 billion in procurement funding for the US Air Force (USAF) to spend on its F-35A conventional variant. The committee provided enough funding for 56 aircraft, according to HASC spokesperson Alison Lynn. SASC recommended authorising USD6.3 billion in procurement funding for F-35As, which it said was worth 60 aircraft.

For the US Marine Corps' (USMC) F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant, HASC recommends authorising roughly USD3.3 billion. Lynn said HASC provided enough for 23 F-35Bs. SASC suggests authorising USD2.9 billion, which it said was good for 24 aircraft.

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