U.S. Navy Compromises on Ship Programs

The U.S. Navy’s topline fiscal 2013 baseline budget request of about $155.9 billion is a study in compromise, protecting some of the service’s signature programs by reducing some, delaying some, and scuttling some other programs altogether.

The request is about $9.5 billion less than planned for in the fiscal 2012 budget, and the proposed Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) includes about $58 billion less than had been planned going into the middle part of the decade.

The budget proposal adds funding for the next-generation aircraft carriers, but also includes a plan to drop to 10 carriers in fiscal 2013 from the current fleet of 11 — a temporary reduction, analysts note.

And while the budget proposal continues to support submarine programs, the spending plan reduces the level of funding for the Ohio-class nuclear-missile submarine fleet and delays the procurement of a Virginia-class sub to fiscal 2018 from 2014.

The Navy also intends to reduce the procurement of the Joint High Speed Vessel and terminate the fleet oiler replacement, T-AO(X).

Another program facing reductions across the FYDP is the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor, which has become a workhorse for the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

Of the $155.9 billion, the largest share is being proposed for operations and maintenance, about $49.9 billion, with about $44.2 billion being sought for personnel, $42.5 billion being requested for procurement, $16.9 billion being tagged for research and development and $2.4 billion being slated for military construction.

The proposed procurement request breaks out this way: $17.3 billion for aircraft, $3.1 billion for weapons, $13.6 billion for shipbuilding and conversion, $6.3 billion for “other” Navy procurement, $2.6 billion for the Marine Corps and $1 billion for ammunition.

Altogether, total procurement is about $32 billion less than the proposed fiscal 2012 budget, including requested cuts of about $14.6 billion for aircraft, $10.1 billion for ships, $1.1 billion for weapons, $2.5 billion for the Marine Corps, $700 million for ammunition and $3 billion for other Navy procurement.

The research and development request is about $2.3 billion less than the previous fiscal year’s, and operations and maintenance amounts are about $2.6 billion less.

-aviationweek.com

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