The US House or Representatives has approved a US$40bn defence budget increase.

The US$471bn budget does not include President Bush’s US$196bn request for funding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but does include US$12bn for new roadside bomb-resistant troop vehicles.

Most of the budget increase will be spent on procuring new and expensive weapons systems, including US$6.3bn for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The budget is US$3.5bn less than Mr Bush requested.

The bill will now be sent to the president to be signed into law.

By staff writer