As opposed to recent years, Boeing’s C-17 cargo planes may not find a place in the FY11 Defense Spending Bill.
Defense officials have urged legislators to veto any motions to keep the program alive and that any additional C-17 planes would prove as wasteful and would oppose the Department of Defense’s effort to trim down on unnecessary spending.
According to CongressDaily, Boeing has lobbied to include five C-17s in fiscal 2011 to supplement international orders and keep the production lines running at optimum speed. However, Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to end the C-17 program with the 223 planes now on order.
Neither the House-passed fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill nor the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version includes funding for more C-17s.
House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Norm Dicks is preparing the defense spending bill and is also expected to also oppose the continuation of the F-35 engine program. His stance on this issue is expected to be debated because the alternate engine would create about 4,000 jobs in several states.
The panel is scheduled to meet next Tuesday and will have many supporters for the engine program. Supporters argue that competition against the F-35’s primary engine would drive down costs on the $100 billion alternate engine program and provide a back-up for the multi-service fighter.
However, Gates sees this program as unnecessary and urged its discontinuation. “Every dollar additional to the budget that we have to put into the F-35 is a dollar taken from something else that the troops may need,” he said last year.