U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced conference committee approval of the Department of Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2007. The legislation includes a number of projects for South Alabama. The bill will soon be voted on in the House. The Senate will consider the bill following House approval, after which it will be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.
“The funding approved by the conference committee will support important defense-related programs in order to strengthen our national security,” said Senator Shelby. “These programs are critical to the stability of our nation’s military infrastructure and readiness, and the conference committee approval demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the safety of our citizens and the strength of our military. In total, this bill provides $436.6 billion for defense-related needs, including $70 billion for contingency operations related to the Global War on Terror (GWOT).”
JOINT CARGO AIRCRAFT (JCA) - $72 million
The conference committee approved $72 million for the procurement of two Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) airframes. Senator Shelby fought to restore funding to the program and ensure that the program remained under the acquisition control of the Army. The Army has an immediate need and clearly defined requirements for the cargo plane, which the Air Force will procure in subsequent years. The Army is currently on schedule to award a contract for the JCA in 2007.
“The Joint Cargo Aircraft will enhance the combat readiness of the Army and Air Force and is a vital asset to both the Global War on Terror and homeland defense,” Senator Shelby said. “Funding is imperative to maintain the current contract award schedule. The $72 million included within the Army funding line will allow us to maintain the schedule and ensure that program control remains with the Army. Without the JCA, the Army will continue to transport soldiers and supplies to remote locations through its overburdened helicopter fleet and ground convoys, placing our warfighters’ lives at risk by exposing them to an increased risk of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”
If the Raytheon/EADS team is selected, the Mobile Regional Airport will be the final assembly and delivery site for the Joint Cargo Aircraft and the the new facility will create more than 150 jobs at full-production rate.
KC-135 TANKER RECAPITALIZATION PROGRAM - $70 million
Senator Shelby has been a leader in working to restore funding for the Air Force’s Tanker Recapitalization Program. The $70 million included in the fiscal year 2007 DoD Appropriations bill will ensure that the Tanker Program remains on schedule to award a contract in 2007.
“Adequately funding this program is imperative to allow the Air Force to maintain its schedule to award a contract in fiscal year 2007 and the $70 million included in this bill will allow the Air Force to progress with this program,” said Senator Shelby. “It is vital that we ensure that our servicemembers have the best military equipment available and I continue to believe that if the Northrop Grumman/EADS team is able to participate in a fair and open competition, their proposal would win. Such success will mean significant jobs and investment in Alabama - particularly South Alabama.”
LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP (LCS) - $520.67million
This $520.67 million will be used to procure two Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) prototypes. One version of the LCS prototype is currently being produced by Austal Ltd. in Mobile, AL.
“The conference committee approved $520.67 million for continued development of the Littoral Combat Ship program,” said Senator Shelby. “The LCS represents an important capability for the Navy and will give our naval forces a new, transformational system with the ability to network manned and unmanned air and sea assets from the single ship configuration up to participation in a Carrier Battle Group. Additionally, the LCS provides the Navy the maneuverability to operate anywhere.”
DD(X) DESTROYER - $2.568 billion
This $2.568 billion will be used to procure 2 new DD(X) Destroyers. The DD(X) is built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls Operations of Pascagoula, MS, and employs over 1,000 Alabamians.
“The DD(X) destroyer is currently being constructed as a replacement for the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates and Spruance class destroyers,” said Senator Shelby. “The DD(X) will provide land attack support for ground forces as well as perform anti-air, anti-surface, and undersea warfare. As the Global War on Terror takes our servicemembers to various theaters of war, it is critical that they have the best technology available to protect themselves.”
LHA(R) – AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT SHIP - $1.135 billion
This $1.135 billion will be used to procure one amphibious assault ship. The LHA is built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls Operations of Pascagoula, MS, and employs over 1,000 Alabamians.
“The Tarawa-class LHA provides the Marine Corps with a superb means of ship-to-shore movement by featuring expanded aviation capabilities,” said Senator Shelby. “The largest of all amphibious warfare ships, the LHA Replacement will have the ability to carry between 20 and 25 of the multi-service, multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).”