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Blumenthal Announces Historic Defense Funding Victories for Connecticut

Funding for two Virginia Class Subs, Money for additional F-35s and CH-53Ks included in appropriations package

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced that as part of bipartisan omnibus appropriations package, several key Connecticut defense priorities will be fully funded, including two Virginia Class submarines, 97 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, 9 CH-53K helicopters, and key investments in Defense Health Research programs that will benefit veterans, servicemembers, and their families.

“This funding package provides critical resources to assure our nation’s security in a challenging world. I am proud to support this appropriations package that provides essential funding to build submarines, aircraft, and helicopters in Connecticut – providing our troops with the equipment they need to defend our nation. I have consistently fought to fully fund two Virginia Class submarines, secure additional funding for the F-35 and CH-53K programs, and provide additional investment in C-130H blade propeller upgrades to support our Connecticut National Guard,” said Blumenthal. “The workforce at Electric Boat, Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney and throughout the entire Connecticut supply chain are prepared to build the most advanced military machines on the planet.”

“This package also provides significant financial support that will support Connecticut research institutions and expand research for critical long-term health ailments of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families,” added Blumenthal.

Included in the final package are the following funding levels Blumenthal fought for:

Making Strong Investments in Connecticut’s Submarine Industrial Base: Blumenthal fought for robust submarine funding to fortify our undersea superiority and grow Connecticut jobs. Blumenthal secured:

  • $2.869 billion to fully fund the first Columbia Class ballistic missile submarine, the boat that will modernize the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad and replace the Ohio Class of ballistic missile submarines.
  • $1.298 billion in advance procurement for the Columbia Class, including an additional $130 million above the President’s budget request to invest in submarine supplier development. This funding will support the health of Connecticut submarine suppliers who provide vital services, material, and expertise to both the Columbia and Virginia Class programs.
  • $4.603 billion to fully fund two Virginia Class submarines, restoring the cut in the President’s budget request, and over $2.173 billion in advance procurement that will fund future boats, including long lead material to preserve the option for 10 Virginia Class submarines in the Block V contract.
  • Robust funding of the future of undersea warfare, including over $250 million to fund New Design SSN research, $149.188 million in advanced Nuclear Power Systems, and over $317 million to fund Ohio Replacement New Design research. These funds will support the ongoing research, development, testing, and evaluation necessary for the Columbia program to remain on schedule for its first deterrent patrol in 2031, and allow Connecticut companies like Electric Boat to continue to produce submarines that maintain the qualitative military edge.

Funding the Future of the F-35: Blumenthal fought to fully fund the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as Connecticut’s Pratt and Whitney is the sole engine-manufacturer for the only fifth generation fighter in production. The bill includes more than $9.6 billion for 96 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters across the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, including an additional 17 aircraft above the President’s budget request (62 F-35A fighters, 10 F-35B fighters, and 25 F-35C fighters).

Ensuring Robust Production of Helicopters: Blumenthal pushed for strong funding of helicopters, including the CH-53K King Stallion, UH-60M Black Hawk, VH-92A Presidential Executive Helicopter, Combat Rescue Helicopter Program, and Future Vertical Lift Program. Funding of these programs ensures the health of Sikorsky helicopters and countless other Connecticut businesses that support the helicopter industrial base. Blumenthal secured:

  • $1.05 billion to fund 9 CH-53K King Stallion Helicopters, including 2 above the President’s budget request, and over $406.406 million in research, development, test & evaluation funding.
  • $725.298 million to fund 21 UH-60M and 15 HH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters.
  • $1.147 billion in procurement funding for 19 Combat Rescue Helicopters.
  • $589.042 million to fund 5 VH-92A Executive Helicopters.
  • $652.937 million to fund Future Vertical Lift Research, Development, Test & Evaluation efforts.
  • $63.169 million to fund Combat Rescue Helicopter development and demonstration.

Prioritizing Work Force Development and Stability: Blumenthal secured $20 million to support workforce development and fund investments in the submarine construction workforce training pipeline to support increased hiring needs. It is projected that over the next decade the submarine shipbuilding industry must hire at least 18,000 new skilled workers to support the production of the Columbia and Virginia Class submarines.

Supporting the Connecticut National Guard: This appropriations package adds $180 million above the President’s budget request to support C-130H 8-bladed NP2000 propeller upgrades, as well as $79 million for the C-130 engine enhancement program. The NP2000 propeller upgrades are critical to improve operational performance and enhance crew safety.

Expanding Opportunities for Partnerships between the Department of Defense and Connecticut Research Institutions: Blumenthal fought to expand opportunities for coordination between Department of Defense research requirements and Connecticut’s talented research universities. Blumenthal secured:

  • $14 million above the President’s budget request in funding for Undersea Warfare Applied research for submarine research partnerships between the Navy and academia. This funding will enhance collaboration between the Navy, the University of Connecticut, and Electric Boat – to translate technological advances to emerging Navy undersea vehicles and systems in cost effective ways, to train a highly skilled workforce, and to support increased and sustained submarine production capacity.
  • $17 million above the President’s budget request in funding for the Defense Established Program to Simulate Competitive Research (DEPSCOR) program in an effort to expand the base of Universities that support defense research and innovative missions.
  • $2 million above the President’s budget request to fund research into the safety and performance of female warfighters in extreme heat.
  • $3 million above the President’s budget request for wearable medical devices for Traumatic Brain Injury prevention.

Making Strong Investments in Research and Development of Next Generation Military Technology and Defense Health Programs: Blumenthal fought to include critical funding to support investment, research, and development including:

  • $10 million for metals affordability research through the Metals Affordability Initiative, a collaboration managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and dedicated to reducing metallic aircraft component costs and accelerating component implementation.
  • $10 million for lightweight high efficiency generators as well as $10 million for ceramic matrix composites for Air Force engine components.
  • $22 million for gulf war research illness, as well as $10 million for military burn research.
  • $40 million for Peer-reviewed ALS research and $20 million for Peer-reviewed neurofibromatosis research.
  • $7 million for research of tick-borne diseases.
  • $115 million for Peer-reviewed cancer research programs, including brain cancer and pediatric brain tumors, $130 million for Peer-reviewed breast cancer research, $110 million for Peer-reviewed prostate cancer research, and $35 million for ovarian cancer research.