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HASC denies USAF UAV funding shift

The House Armed Services Committee has denied a Pentagon reprogramming request that would have cut more than $139 million from two unmanned aerial vehicle programmes.

Included in an 81-item reprogramming list submitted by the Pentagon 11 June were requests to move $71 million away from the RQ-4 Global Hawk programme and $68.1 million off the MQ-9 Reaper programme.

The Global Hawk request was denied, with the note that the "program has been consistently underfunded in the area of spare parts," according to a 30 July letter from panel chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., to Defense Department comptroller Robert Hale. "The committee encourages the Air Force to obligate these funds as soon as possible in order to support ongoing operations."

The company that builds the Reaper, General Atomics, can confirm that the committee denied the request but could not provide any details on contracts or options, says General Atomics. Global Hawk builder Northrop Grumman also could not comment.

The US Air Force is set to brief the committee on the reasons for its request 13 Aug, according to Pentagon sources.

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