Image copyright US Navy
By Christopher P. Cavas
Copyright Military Times
WASHINGTON — Most of the Navy’s aviation programs take significant hits in the 2015 budget, including the P-8A Poseidon, F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, and MH-60R helicopter, and plans to buy the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned shipboard aircraft have been shelved for now.
The budget also takes a big bite out of weapons procurement, notably the elimination of Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile procurement after this year.
Shipbuilding buys were only slightly reduced, with one Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) being taken out of the budget as the buying plan shifts from either four or two ships per year to three.
Several key decisions affecting the budget have yet to be made, most notably the question of eliminating an aircraft carrier and a carrier air wing, a judgment being left to next year. Decisions of how to handle the temporary reduction of 11 cruisers and three amphibious ships also have yet to be signed off on, and the Navy has yet to explain its new process for counting Battle Force ships, which affects fleet size.