House Appropriators are looking to restore $163 million to the Army’s procurement plan for CH-47F Block II Chinooks as well as proposing a potential $235.6 million cut to the service’s future augmented reality headset program.

The two provisions are detailed in the report accompanying the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense’s $694.6 billion fiscal year 2021 defense spending bill, which is set to be marked by the full committee on Tuesday.

A CH-47F Block I Chinook helicopter with 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade maneuvers to pick up an M119A3 howitzer during sling load operations on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

For the CH-47, HAC-D provides $323.8 million to cover 11 Block II aircraft, above the Army’s request of $160.8 million for six aircraft. 

Appropriators also included $47.4 million for long-lead procurement for CH-47 Block IIs, which is $18.4 million more than the budget request.

“The committee remains concerned with the Army’s lack of support for the CH–47F Block II program. The Chief of Staff of the Army certified the need for this capability less than three years ago and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020 outlined certain expectations for future CH–47F Block II funding,” lawmakers wrote in the report. “The Committee expects the Secretary of the Army to restore funding for the CH–47F Block II program across the next future years defense program when the fiscal year 2022 budget request is submitted.”

The Army included CH-47 among the program’s that accounted for $13.5 billion in ‘night court’ cuts to shift funds from lower priorities toward modernization efforts, detailing plans to truncate its buy of Block II aircraft (Defense Daily, Feb. 10).  

For the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), being developed by Microsoft [MSFT], the panel proposed a $235.6 million cut due to the Army’s funding request being “ahead of need.”

The Army had requested over $1.1 billion, while appropriators provided for $891.8 million in the bill. 

The proposal aligns with the House Armed Services Committee’s outlook on IVAS in its FY ‘21 defense authorization bill, which calls for a reduction in funding to adjust for operational test delays and plans to purchase fewer units (Defense Daily, June 26). 

“It’s a very aggressive schedule. And the operational testing of the system has been delayed. The delivery of ruggedized versions of the headset are just now getting started. And with the delays with the operational test, we don’t have the confidence we need at this moment, from an oversight perspective, on going forward with a $900 million procurement beginning in FY ‘21,” HASC committee aides told reporters last month.