WASHINGTON, June 25 (Reuters) - The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bill on Thursday authorizing defense spending for fiscal 2010 that largely supports the Pentagon’s proposed weapons cuts, but continues funding for several big-ticket programs that were targeted for termination.
Key elements of the measure include:
— Adds $1.7 billion to buy 7 more F-22 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), rejecting the Pentagon’s decision to halt production after 187 fighters.
— Backs Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recommendation to cut funding for the missile defense program by $1.2 billion, including cutting the number of ground-based interceptors to 30 from the 44 initially planned.
— Backs Gates on ending production of the Boeing Co (BA.N) C-17 transport plane at 205 planes already on order, including no funding for additional aircraft.
— Backs Gates on ending the Lockheed VH-71 presidential helicopter program after the program’s costs threatened to double to over $13 billion.
— Requires the Pentagon to submit a report on its plan to transfer responsibility for the C-27J cargo plane being developed by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc LLL.N to the Air Force and cut the number of planes to 38 from 78.
— Supports President Barack Obama’s proposed changes for military commissions, including language that would ban the use of coerced testimony, and set limits on the use of hearsay and classified evidence. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Andre Grenon)