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Funding for 22 new EA-18G Growlers uncertain

The Navy has requested 22 additional EA-18G Growlers, an electronic attack aircraft used throughout the military.   - Photo provided
The Navy has requested 22 additional EA-18G Growlers, an electronic attack aircraft used throughout the military.
— image credit: Photo provided

Congress may not fund the Navy’s recent request for 22 more EA-18G Growlers for the 2015 fiscal year.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen said Tuesday that he is still looking into the Navy’s request for additional electronic attack aircraft, but that funding them might be a stretch.

“To be clear, the Navy did not put them in its budget, so Congress would have to cut $2.1 billion from the defense budget to find the dollars to pay for them,” Larsen said.

Navy leadership told lawmakers in March that they see a “growing Growler need,” adding that the planes would help the military keep up with growing demands for electronic attack capabilities.

The noise associated with the Growler at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station has become a hotly debated subject, and the Navy is in the process of conducting an Environmental Impact Statement on the Growler’s effect on the area’s residents and resources.

The Navy included 22 additional Growlers in its “unfunded” requirements request for fiscal year 2015. That document must still be approved by military leaders and includes items that were not in the military’s original budget request released earlier this month.

Larsen said he is in the process of finding out more about the Navy’s request and has requested a briefing about the need for additional Growlers.

“I haven’t yet received adequate answers about the military construction to support the additional Growlers,” Larsen said. “And the Navy hasn’t yet briefed me on the military necessity of 22 additional Growlers.”

While Congress decides the fate of the Growlers, the Boeing Co. is reportedly self-funding procurement of some materials needed for Growler production for several months until Congress signals whether it will fund 22 more jets, according to Reuters reports.

Growler supporters have argued that Congress needs to support Boeing’s production line for the Growler and the similar FA-18E Super Hornet in St. Louis which will run out of work in 2016 if additional orders are not received.

 

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