Boeing’s Sub-Hunting Poseidon Gets a Pentagon Budget BoostTony Capaccio
Boeing Co.’s maritime surveillance aircraft will get an increase in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2016 budget, with the Navy to request 16, one more than planned for that year, according to budget documents.
The Navy will request $3.4 billion for the plane, the P-8A Poseidon, according to documents from the Defense Department comptroller circulating in the military services. The documents were obtained from a person briefed on the spending plans who asked not to be identified before President Barack Obama sends his budget to Congress on Feb. 2.
The P-8A has been deployed in the Pacific since late 2013, and the increase in the 113-aircraft program from Chicago-based Boeing signals support for the U.S. pledge to rebalance forces to Asia. Raytheon Co., based in Waltham, Massachusetts, makes the aircraft’s ocean- and ground-surveillance radar.
The Pentagon’s $534 billion budget request for the year beginning Oct. 1 will exceed the spending caps known as sequestration by about $34 billion. Sequestration will go back into effect after a two-year break unless Congress and the White House agree on legislation to ease or eliminate it.
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2016-2020 plan calls for spending each year exceeding the budget caps: $547 billion in fiscal 2017, $556 billion in 2018, $564 billion in 2019 and $570 billion in 2020.
The Pentagon for the second consecutive year will seek to save money by retiring the Air Force A-10 “Warthog” close-air support fleet and propose another round of domestic base closings starting in fiscal 2017. Both proposals were rejected last year by lawmakers. The A-10 retirement is strongly opposed by Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, an Arizona Republican.
The proposed budget reflects a slight slowdown in the Army’s plan to reduce its force to 450,000 by 2017 from about 500,000 today to give the service more time to minimize disruptions from the change. The 450,000 would be reached in 2018 instead, according to briefing charts.
The fiscal 2016 proposal also will call for a 1.3 percent pay raise for troops, up from the 1 percent proposed for this fiscal year.
The Pentagon’s $50.9 billion war spending request, which is separate from the base defense budget, would provide $7.8 billion for retrofitting and upgrading worn military equipment; $5.3 billion for operations against Islamic State extremists, including the training and equipping Iraqi forces and vetted Syrian rebels; $2.1 billion for a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund; and $789 million for the European Reassurance Initiative that Obama set up last year after Russia annexed Crimea and threatened intervening in Ukraine.
About $42 billion of the war funding would be spent on U.S.-Afghanistan troop support and logistics while American troops continue to withdraw from that country.
The base budget proposal provides $107.7 billion to buy weapons and $69.8 billion for research including:
* $11.6 billion for nine Navy vessels, including $5.4 billion for two Virginia-class fast-attack submarines and $3.2 billion for two DDG-51 destroyers. The ships are made by General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.
* $1.6 billion for three of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships and $55 million for “capabilities improvements” on the ships made in different versions by Lockheed and Henderson, Australia-based Austal Ltd.
* $10.6 billion for 57 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp.;
* $5.4 billion to improve cybersecurity capabilities;
* $4.5 billion to modernize Army helicopters;
* $3 billion for Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers;
* $1.6 billion for continued reliability improvements to Raytheon’s missile defense ground-based interceptor;
* $1.4 billion for continued early development of the Ohio-class nuclear submarine replacement;
* $1.2 billion for development of the Air Force’s new long-range strike bomber;
* $821 million for additional purchases of MQ-9 armed Reaper drones made by San Diego-based General Atomics;
* $678 million to continue the overhaul of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier -- an expenditure that the Navy didn’t include in this year’s budget but was later demanded by Congress.
(An earlier version of this story had an incorrect total for the budget request.)