Recent Press Releases

Senate Passes Defense Funding Bill

Includes Several Thune Funding Requests for Defense Projects in South Dakota

October 4, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today issued the below statement following Senate passage of the FY2008 Defense Appropriations bill, which included several requests Senator Thune made on behalf of various South Dakota defense-related initiatives:

"After months of attempts by the Democrat Leadership to improperly use this important military funding bill as a political football, I am pleased that the Senate has finally gotten some of its work done. The significant funding in this bill would not only help our entire Armed Forces, it would directly enhance South Dakota's defense-related operations. These projects represent important research and new technology that will create jobs, boost our state's economy and provide for a stronger, safer America," Thune said.

The FY2008 Defense Appropriations bill passed by the Senate today includes the following requests made by Senator Thune:
  • $400,000 for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to study Improvised Explosive Device (IED) simulation in different soils to develop tools to design countermeasures for these explosive devices.
  • $300,000 for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the Army Research Laboratory to provide for development of transparent armor for the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS). There is a need for windows in military vehicles to be both ballistically strong and light. Polycarbonate and polymethylmethacrylate materials offer great promise to improve performance.
  • $400,000 for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to develop low-frequency acoustic shielding rocket payloads technology for the Air Force. This project would reduce sound pressure levels within space vehicles to avoid damage to payloads during launch.
  • $2,000,000 for the Next Generation Lightweight Electric Drive Systems for Army Weapon Systems at Dakota Power Incorporated in Rapid City, which provides a reduction in size and weight, which can enhance performance for FCS vehicles, UAVs and ROVs.
  • $4,000,000 for the Advanced Electronics Rosebud Integration Center (AERIC) - Army Missile Defense program. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe advances the capabilities of the Army defense system electronics by reducing size, weight, and cost of electronic circuit cards, components, wire harnesses and electronic cabling with an emphasis to reduce hazardous substances-materials and employ lead-free components in micro-electronic products.
  • $4,000,000 for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's Alternative Power Technology (APT) for Missile Defense program, which advances, adapts and demonstrates alternative technology to meet Army requirements for stealth, short to mid-range energy needs with minimal sustainable logistics. A prototype device will harness solar energy converted to narrow wavelengths and will validate alternative power electronic controls.
  • $5,800,000 for the HiSentinel program at Aerostar International Inc., in Sioux Falls, which provides a long-duration unmanned airship for 24/7 capability for intelligence, surveillance, communications and networking. Current platforms are limited to short duration missions of 24 hours or less, this provides an unmanned airship capable of carrying different payloads for durations greater than 30 days.
  • $2,000,000 for the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) Qualification for Aging Weapons Systems Structural Repair program at H.F. Webster Engineering Services in Rapid City, which provides for the qualification of Laser Engineered Net Shaping and Friction Stir Welding technologies and the development of a mobile friction stir welding capability. This has significant potential for extending the structural life and reducing the cost of sustaining aging weapons systems.
  • $5,800,000 for the Integrated Mechanical Diagnostics Health and Usage Management System (IMDS) and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) for CH-53 at Goodrich Corp, Vergennes, VT and Raven Industries in Sioux Falls. The IMDS automates and simplifies maintenance tasks and collects data to support the transition to CBM. The Marines have purchased over 50 IMDS for the 148 aircraft fleet and it has provided a significant improvement in readiness rates and the ability to maintain aircraft while improving accuracy of the fleet health.
  • $49,500,000 for LITENING 4th Generation (LG4) Advanced Targeting Pods for Air National Guard F-16 and A-10 Aircraft. Advanced Targeting Pods will help the Air National Guard with precision strike capability, training and counter IED operations. It will also help support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as well as Homeland Security and Disaster Relief capabilities.
  • $5,700,000 for Smart-Bomb Rack Unit Upgrade for B-1Bs at Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB. The S-BRU increases weapon load-out by 25%, reduces mission turn-around time and the logistics footprint by 30%. Upgrading the BRU-56 to the S-BRU, the B-1 will be capable of carrying 30 inch, as well as 14 inch weapons on a single CBM type. Multiple CBM configurations will not be needed and maintenance will be reduced.
  • $10,000,000 for a 16 Carry Adapter for B-1Bs at Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB. This 16-Carry Adapter fitting for the B-1 bomber will improve its flexibility and reduce its deployment footprint. The adapter increases B-1 load-out of JDAM bombs from 14 per aircraft to 48. It also exploits the B-1's flexibility to employ multiple types of weapons in a single sortie.

The Senate bill now goes into conference to be reconciled with the Defense Appropriations bill that was passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives. Sadly, so far this year, none of the 12 annual appropriation measures have been sent to the President for his consideration despite the fact that the new Fiscal Year started on October 1, 2007.