Warplanes Top Navy, Marine Corps Wish Lists

A 33rd Fighter Wing pilot prepares his F-35A Lightning II for a training sortie during preflight checks. (Air Force photo/Bennie Davis III)
A 33rd Fighter Wing pilot prepares his F-35A Lightning II for a training sortie during preflight checks. (Air Force photo/Bennie Davis III)

The Navy and Marine Corps are both asking for additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in unfunded priority lists sent to Congress, according to documents obtained by Military.com.

In a tradition revived in recent years, the services produced wish lists of items not funded by the president's Fiscal 2017 budget request released last month. The Navy's list includes $4.9 billion in aircraft, ships and weapons and another $219 million in military construction projects; the Corps' list totals $2.74 billion, with an emphasis on aviation needs.

According to the Navy's wish list, the service wants $1.56 billion for 14 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in addition to the two it plans to purchase with Overseas Contingency Operations funds in the FY 17 budget request.

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The Navy also requested $270 million for two more F-35C aircraft, in addition to the four funded in the president's budget.

Another big-ticket item is $433 million to foot the remaining cost to build an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that was partially funded in the FY 2016 budget.

Weapons systems also feature prominently on the wish list: the Navy asked for 23 MK-54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes at $16 million; 75 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder missiles at $33 million; and over-the-horizon missile systems for the littoral combat ships Fort Worth and Milwaukee at $22 million.

The list would additionally fund 15,000 permanent-change-of-station moves for sailors that were reduced due to constraints imposed by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Those moves would cost the Navy $156 million.

The Marine Corps' biggest unfunded buys include two AH-1Z Venom helicopters at $57 million; two each of the F-35 B and C variants, specialized for short take-off and vertical landing and carrier operations respectively, $750 million; two KC-130J transport aircraft, $15.8 million; and two MV-22B Ospreys that were cut under the BBA, another $150 million.

If funded, the list would expand what is already a significant aircraft procurement year for the Marine Corps. The FY 17 request includes funding for 16 Ospreys, 16 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, and 24 AH-1Z Venom helos.

The Corps also used the list to request more funds for its construction budget. The service asked for $358.5 million for hangar maintenance and an F-35 parking apron at Marine Corps Air station Miramar, Calif., and a new barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C., as well as funding for five building projects cut under the BBA. Those projects include a barracks facility in Yorktown, Va.; an enlisted dining facility and community buildings at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.; and a fire station at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

Notably, the wish list does not include the purchase of any additional joint light tactical vehicles. The Marine Corps cut its planned JLTV buy for FY 2017 from 269 to 192, citing the need to fund other programs, including development of its future amphibious combat vehicle.

During congressional budget hearings this week, multiple lawmakers expressed interest in what was left off the official budget request due to fiscal constraints.

In a statement, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said he was pleased to see the services sending Congress their unfunded requirements lists.

"Congress needs to know what we need to defend the nation, not just what's in the president's budget," Forbes, chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services' subcommittee on sea power and projection forces, said. "These lists give Congress a sense of what the administration left on the cutting room floor, and guide us as we try to build our national security back up."

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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