UPDATED: Amendment Includes EIGHT F-18 E/Fs, Chairman Likely to Vote NO
The details are being hammered out as we type, but it looks almost certain as if that the House Armed Services Committee may not insert "a handful" of F-18 E/Fs into its version of the defense authorization bill tomorrow.
Given the markup language which we reported on last week -- requiring that the Pentagon use the savings from multiyear authority and plough it back into the program -- it's likely that Rep. Todd Akins, ranking member of the seapower and expeditionary warfare subcommittee, and his fellow F-18 supporters are arguing that in these tough budget times it makes all the sense in the world to take the 11 percent savings from the multiyear and build more fighters. Their case would seem especially strong in the face of congressional and Navy concerns about the F-35 carrier version. The F-35 may be late and it may cost a great deal more in life cycle costs than DoD thinks, they will probably say.
The planes would be added through the medium of an amendment to the bill.