House appropriators recommended the defense appropriations bill add $469 million for three P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the FY 2020 Navy budget to help recapitalize Navy Reserve forces, according to the draft bill released by the committee on Monday.
The Navy requested $1.2 billion for six P-8As in the FY ’20 budget, but the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee recommended to the full committee that they add three aircraft because the “Committee is concerned with the disconnect between the Navy’s stated warfighting requirements and its annual budget requests.”
The full committee plans to mark up the bill on Tuesday.
According to the committee’s draft bill report, the Navy’s FY ’20 request increased its warfighting requirement for P-8As from previously 117 up to 138 total aircraft. This also includes 12 aircraft to recapitalize the two Marine Patrol and Reconnaissance squadrons assigned to the Naval Reserve.
However, the report noted the Navy only requested six aircraft, which achieves the total program of the old 117 requirement. “After fiscal year 2020, the Navy intends to curtail production of the P–8A Poseidon and remain 21 aircraft below the stated warfighting requirement,” the report warned.
The report said the two Navy Reserve squadrons currently operate legacy P-3C Orion aircraft and the Chief of Navy Reserve estimates without getting new aircraft the units will decommission by 2023.
“The Committee appreciates that the Navy recognized the Navy Reserve squadrons as part of its increased requirement of P–8A aircraft but believes that dedicated funding for the aircraft should have been budgeted in fiscal year 2020 and in the future years defense program,” the report said.
The draft bill not only funds these three additional P-8As, but would also direct the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the defense committees within 90 days of enactment outlining a plan to recapitalize the two squardons with P-8As before FY ’23.
The report would include estimated acquisition costs, acquisition timelines, aircraft fielding schedules, and manpower impacts to the Navy Reserve.
The P-8a Poseidon is built by Boeing [BA].