By a 22-8 vote, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $594.2 billion Pentagon defense spending bill Thursday. The bill is not yet law; it requires a vote by the full Senate, the House of Representatives, and a signature by the President before that can happen.
As currently written, the bill would fund the Pentagon with a $516.4 billion "base" level budget, plus an additional $77.8 billion to fund Overseas Contingency Operations (meaning primarily, Afghanistan).
Among other terms, the bill:
- Adds $227 million to funding for Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines being built by Huntington Ingalls (NYSE: HII ) and General Dynamics (NYSE: GD ) , and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers built by General Dynamics.
- Fully funds planned 2014 purchases of F-35 stealth fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) , but reduces planned funding preparatory to building planes for 2015.
- Maintains funding of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) Chinook and Apache helicopters and Poseidon sub-hunting aircraft, Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, Northrop Grumman's (NYSE: NOC ) Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, and the Boeing/Textron-built Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.
Funds were also found to continue development work on a new Long Range Strike Bomber, a new aerial refueling plane for the Air Force, electronic warfare craft, and military "drone" aircraft. Additionally, the bill will provide $173 million to help the Israeli military develop Arrow and David's Sling missile defense systems.