Congress Adds to FVL FY19 Funding

UPDATE Oct 1, 2018: 2019 Defense Bills Signed Into LawUS Capitol Building

On Aug. 13, US President Donald J. Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019. On Sept. 28, President Trump also signed the appropriations bill that included funding for the Department of Defense. The bills increased Pentagon funding to $674.4B, which was $19.8B above the fiscal 2018 enacted level. This was the first time in 10 years that the US defense budget was signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year, and the first time since fiscal 1997 that 75% of the US federal appropriations had been signed on time.

The additions detailed below brought the total appropriation for the Army’s Program Element 0603003A “Aviation Advanced Technology,” to $240.6M; this compares to a fiscal 2019 request of $125M for this funding line. Funding has thus increased dramatically in Army rotary wing investment in the past several years from about $40M in fiscal 2011–2013. 

As detailed in our Vertiflite, the Vertical Flight Society and the Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) have been collaborating on a highly successful educational and advocacy campaign on Capitol Hill. 


UPDATE Aug 1, 2018: All 4 Defense Congressional Bills Passed

On Aug. 1, the US Senate passed a $717B defense budget authorization bill for fiscal year 2019, followed by the $675B defense appropriations bill on Aug. 23. The House of Representatives completed their two bills in June (see below).

Joint House-Senate appropriations and authorizations conference committees will reconcile the differences between their respective bills before they are signed into law by President Donald J. Trump to fund the 2019 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. (The actual funding comes from the appropriations bill, whereas the authorizations generally provide more guidance.) ‚Äč

The Senate appropriations bill approved the funding that was set by the Senate Committee on Appropriations (SAC) in its committee report on June 28 (see below). 

Although the Army’s decision to pursue FARA in parallel with the Capability Set 3 — now called “Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) — was made after the House passed its appropriations budget, the Army hopes that the funding will carry through the conference into its final budget. 


UPDATE: Senate Adds $75.4M to FVL

On June 28, 2018, the US Senate Committee on Appropriations approved its proposed FY2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act for $675.0B, an increase of $20.4B over the FY2018 enacted level. 

For vertical flight aviation, this amount includes:

$42.2 billion for the procurement of military aircraft, including an additional $3.8 billion to address high priority programs across the services, such as $1.2 billion for eight F-35 carrier variant and four F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing Joint Strike Fighters (Navy & Marine Corps); $720 million for additional AH-64E Apache Block IIIB New Build aircraft (Army) ... $320 million for 15 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters (Army National Guard); and $240 million for three V-22 Osprey aircraft (Navy).

Most notably, the report (pg 11-12) includes an additional $75.4M for the Future Vertical Lift CS1, under Program Element PE 0603801A, "Aviation Advanced Development" (6.4 funding), explained in the discussion of the Army's new Cross Functional Teams:

ARMY CROSS FUNCTIONAL TEAMS

In October 2017, the Army announced its intent to establish a new Army Futures Command, which is intended to synchronize efforts among the other Army Commands through Cross-Functional Teams [CFT] to advance the Army’s six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires, air and missile defense, next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, network modernization, and soldier lethality. These eight CFTs will report directly to the Under Secretary and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and work to compress the modernization and procurement timelines by involving the end user, defining requirements, integrating, prototyping, and validating a concept prior to low-rate initial production.

While the Committee is supportive of these prioritization efforts by the Army in accordance with the April 2018 Army Modernization Strategy, it is concerned with the timeliness and adequacy of the budget justification materials presented to the Committee. The Committee is still awaiting an above threshold reprogramming request from the Department to realign fiscal year 2018 funding and received a request from the Army to realign science and technology funding and support additional fiscal year 2019 funding for CFT priorities very late in the budget process.

The fiscal year 2019 President’s budget request includes $2,119,871,000 for Army CFT priorities within the Missile Procurement; Procurement of Ammunition; Other Procurement; and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation accounts, with the Army requesting an additional $416,953,000 above the budget request. The Committee understands that the fiscal year 2019 President’s budget request was developed before CFT plans, requirements, and acquisition strategies could be finalized and that several programs under CFT purview continue to work to complete these decision points. Given this fluctuation, the Committee recommends modest reductions to the programs within the CFT budget request while also providing an additional $127,737,000 for CFT science and technology efforts in anticipation of the Army’s need to realign funding to resource future CFT efforts. In addition, the Committee recommends $75,400,000 above the budget request for the Army’s future vertical lift program to accelerate Capability Set One Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft development.

The Committee looks forward to a continuing dialogue with the Army’s acquisition and CFT leadership in order to provide appropriate, executable resources for Army modernization priorities.


On June 13, 2018, the US House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee approved the Defense Subcommittee (HAC-D) draft of the fiscal year 2019 Defense Appropriations bill, which was released on June 6

The bill included an additional $20M for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) under the Army’s “Advanced Aviation Technology” S&T funding line (Program Element PE 0603003A). If this additional $20M becomes law, it will total $70M over the past five years that VFS — working with the Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) and our industry partners — has succeeded in adding to the US Army's science and technology budget to reduce risk for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrations and the FVL initiative. 

In addition to being the highest mark we’ve received, it’s also the highest percentage — this year our request was $24M. See www.vtol.org/FVL-FY18 for past years’ successes.

Including other non-FVL efforts, the total FY18 HAC-D funding addition for this PE is $40.6M, for a total budget line of $165.558M:

  • rotorcraft automated component tracking: +$6M
  • future vertical lift: +$20M
  • advanced helicopter seating system: +$5M
  • surface tolerant adhesive for bonded airframe structure: +$5M
  • joint tactical aerial resupply vehicle (JTARV): +$3M
  • date refinement and optimization for aviation sustainment: +$1.6M

The HAC-D the report is available at: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP00/20180613/108421/HRPT-115-HR_Defense.PDF. The above numbers are from the table on pg 226.

In addition, there are these FVL-relevant statements (not requested by AHS/VFS-VLC):

Page 117:

APACHE UPGRADES: The Committee is aware that the Army has sought information from industry on the state of technology that could be incorporated into a potential materiel solution for replacement of the targeting and pilotage sensor systems on the AH–64 Apache. The Committee encourages the Secretary of the Army to pursue upgrades to the Apache mission systems in order to close existing capability gaps and mature technology which may be adaptable for the Future Vertical Lift program. The Committee further encourages the Secretary of the Army to acquire these system upgrades using full and open competition.

Page 234:

IMPROVED TURBINE ENGINE PROGRAM: The Committee understands the Army is advancing research and development of the Improved Turbine Engine Program and is exploring ways to accelerate the development and fielding of this program. The Improved Turbine Engine Program is intended to develop a more fuel efficient and powerful engine for the current UH–60 Black Hawk and AH–64 Apache helicopter fleets. This new engine will increase operational capabilities in high and hot environments, increase range, and improve fuel efficiency while reducing the Army’s logistics footprint, and operational and support costs. The Committee recommends fully funding the Improved Turbine Engine Program in fiscal year 2019 and encourages the Secretary of the Army to ensure that the program is funded appropriately in future years budget submissions.

Page 235:

JOINT MULTI-ROLE PROGRAM: The Committee acknowledges that the development of a helicopter emergency oil system under the Joint Multi-Role program may increase the combat survivability of the platforms under development. Such a system could potentially slow the engine oil drainout providing additional flight time and offering the pilot and passengers the necessary time to carry out evasive landing maneuvers to safely land the rotary wing aircraft. The Committee encourages the Secretary of the Army to consider investing in the further development of this technology.

For fiscal 2019, the Trump Administration requests for the Army Aviation RDT&E funding, all down somewhat from fiscal 2018, are as follows:

  • $64.8M for PE 0602211A Aviation Applied Technology (6.2)
  • $125M for PE 0603003A Aviation Advanced Technology (6.3)
  • $10.8M for PE 0603801A Aviation Advanced Development (6.4)

A detailed report on the final FY18 budget and FY19 budget request was published in the May/June 2018 Vertiflite

Details on the JMR/FVL efforts and about how VFS-VLC has supported the initiation and furtherance of FVL is available at www.vtol.org/FVL.

VFS and VLC will continue to work with our partners and our representatives in the US Congress to support robust funding of Future Vertical Lift in the coming years. 

Posted 2018-06-13; Last updated 2018-10-10