US defence bill approved

THE US HOUSE ARMED Services Committee (HASC) approved the $263.3 billion fiscal year 1995 defence authorisation bill on May 5. Included was $3.7 billion for an additional nuclear- powered aircraft carrier for the US Navy. Another USN allocation was transfer of $60 million previously earmarked for the cancelled Grumman EA-6B Prowler advanced capabilities upgrade programme to studies into a lower-cost alternative such as the Improved Capabilities II (ICAP II) Plus upgrade. The HASC also suggested converting the F- 14D into a dual-role F/A-14D with capabilities similar to the F-15E and wants to abandon the F-14A/B upgrade which would have cost $273 million.

HASC only approved acquisition of four McDonnell Douglas C-17As for the USAF rather than the six requested, plus long-lead funding for four more in FY1996, rather than the eight requested — the extra $550 million funding being allocated for alternative off-the-shelf non-developmental airlifters.

Fears that there may be a break in AH- 64A Apache production before the advent of the AH-64D were allayed by funding for procurement of six unrequested AH-64As for the US Army. With planned retirement of the 45 remaining Grumman OV-l/RV-1 Mohawks over the next two years, procurement of a low-cost alternative replacement aircraft for electronic intelligence and surveillance missions was also recommended.

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