| WASHINGTON, April 15
WASHINGTON, April 15 The Pentagon on Tuesday
detailed $48.3 billion in cuts to major weapons programs like
Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet that would kick
in from fiscal 2016 to 2019 if Congress does not reverse
automatic budget cuts that are to resume in 2016.
It said the cuts would slash $40 billion from the Pentagon's
planned spending on operations and maintenance over that time,
while research and development of new cutting-edge technologies
would fall by nearly $18 billion from $337 billion.
The Defense Department said the cuts required under a process
called sequestration would damage the military's modernization
efforts, increase national security risks, further slash troop
levels and jeopardize the ability of U.S. forces to go to war.
"If sequestration-level cuts persist, our forces will assume
substantial additional risks in certain missions and will
continue to face significant readiness and modernization
challenges," the Pentagon said in the report.
It said the cuts would leave the military unbalanced and
eventually too small to meet the needs of the Obama
administration's military strategy.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other top military
officials have repeatedly urged Congress to reverse the cuts
passed as part of the Budget Control Act, arguing that they came
on top of nearly $600 billion in cuts already being implemented
by the U.S. military.
If U.S. lawmakers do not repeal the mandatory budget cuts,
the Air Force would have to eliminate its entire fleet of KC-10
refueling planes and divest its entire fleet of the Block 40
version of Northrop Grumman Corp's Global Hawk unmanned
surveillance planes, the report said.
The Air Force would buy 15 fewer F-35 fighter jets in fiscal
2016-2017, five fewer KC-46A refueling planes built by Boeing Co
in fiscal 2017-2018, and a new combat rescue helicopter
to be built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies
Corp, would be delayed until fiscal 2019.
The Navy would be forced to mothball six destroyers and
retire an aircraft carrier and its associated air wing, reducing
the carrier fleet to 10, the report said.
It would delay six orders for Boeing's P-8A surveillance
planes, increasing the cost of the remaining aircraft and raise
the cost of maintaining the older P-3 aircraft.
The Navy would also buy eight fewer ships, including one
fewer Virginia-class submarine built by General Dynamics Corp
and Huntington Ingalls Industries, and three
fewer DDG-51 destroyers, built by the same two companies.
The report said the Army would buy 61 fewer Black Hawk
helicopters built by Sikorsky, 67 fewer Apache helicopters built
by Boeing and would eliminate funding for a fourth brigade set
of double-V hull Stryker vehicles built by General Dynamics.
The Marine Corps's new CH-53K helicopter being developed by
Sikorsky would be delayed by one year, with seven fewer aircraft
to be built for savings of about $1 billion, the report said.
It said the cuts would also delay work on a new amphibious
combat vehicle to replace the 40-year-old vehicles now used by
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)