Panel Cuts Boeing Weapons Program By 23%

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
May 10, 2007
By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News
The Army's $3.7 billion budget request for its largest weapons program -- a family of armored vehicles connected by drones and radio networks -- was cut about 23 percent Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee.
The panel endorsed a cut made last week by a subcommittee in the Future Combat Systems program, which is jointly managed by Chicago-based Boeing Co. and San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. The committee rejected an amendment to restore $200 million.
The $867 million cut is the largest since the program was proposed in 2003. Cuts in the past two years have averaged about 10 percent.
This latest cut could be overturned by the Senate Armed Services Committee when it completes its version of the fiscal 2008 spending measure later this month.
At $161 billion, the Future Combat Systems is the Pentagon's second-most-costly program, behind the $276 billion Joint Strike Fighter.
Congress has been skeptical that the complex program can be achieved without major cost growth and schedule delays.
Since fiscal 2003, the program's research-and-development phase has slipped five years and the final fielding date by seven years.
In a separate action, the committee voted to kill the Textron Inc. Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, a $3.6 billion program.
The committee recommended that the program be reopened to competition. In voting to kill Textron's stewardship, the committee cited a long list of problems.
The program's development phase has grown to more than $300 million from $210 million, and the per-aircraft price has nearly doubled -- to almost $10 million from $5.2 million, according to Army officials.
The helicopter is being made at Textron's Bell Helicopter unit in Forth Worth, Texas.