The Senate Appropriations Committee’s fiscal year 2023 defense appropriations bill, released July 28, adds $4 billion over the Navy’s request in shipbuilding.

The Navy requested about $17.9 billion in shipbuilding funds for FY ‘23, but the Senate panel recommended funding the account to $31.9 billion.

This increase includes adding $2.57 billion for a third

Arleigh Burke-class destroyer; $380 million for large surface combatant shipyard infrastructure funding; $77 million for advanced procurement for a future destroyer; $264 million to buy three more than the five Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSCs) the Navy requested; $250 million in advanced procurement funds for the next San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, LPD-33; $289 million for advance procurement of the future America-class amphibious assault ship LHA-10; and $654 million to procure two more converted Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships as Expeditionary Medical Ships (EMS).

Artist rendering of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship LPD-30 (Image: Huntington Ingalls Industries)
Artist rendering of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship LPD-30
(Image: Huntington Ingalls Industries)

The funds for LPD-33 go beyond the Navy’s plans to end the ship class at LPD-32 before deciding how to proceed further on similar larger amphibious ships, but meets the top item on the Marine Corps’ unfunded priorities list (Defense Daily, April 1).

This matches the House and Senate Arms Services Committee’s appropriations bills, which both call for $250 million in LPD-33 funding.

Navy officials previously said stopping at LPD-32 will allow the Navy time to finish the amphibious force structure and match it with a Force Structure Assessment and then decide on the future of amphibious ships, which might include a modified LPD or a completely new hull (Defense Daily, April 22).

The Senate appropriations bill is also in line with the House and Senate authorization bills on funding three destroyers, two Virginia-class attack submarines, one San Antonio-class Flight II amphibious transport dock, and one Constellation-class frigate.

The Senate committee’s bill also funds $1.96 billion for 16 F-35C carrier-variant Joint Strike Fighters, three more and $297 million more than the Navy requested; $2.245 billion to procure 18 F-35B Marine Corps Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing variant aircraft, three more and $336 million than requested; and $651 million for five MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft where the Navy requested none.

Notably, the Senate appropriations bill does not add funds for additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets after the Navy did not request any because it is trying to end the production line. This is in contrast to the House defense authorization bill, which includes $660 million for eight more Super Hornets (Defense Daily, July 15).