U.S.A.F. to Procure F-35A and F-15EX Fighters, Sets Aside $577M for Hypersonic Weapons

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  • 06:07 AM, March 31, 2022
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U.S.A.F. to Procure F-35A and F-15EX Fighters, Sets Aside $577M for Hypersonic Weapons
@U.S.A.F.

The U.S. Air Force is planning to acquire 33 F-35A Lightning II fighters, 15 KC-46A Pegasus tankers and 24 F-15EX Eagle II fighters in the next fiscal year, besides putting aside $577 million for hypersonic weapons.

A $194 billion combined budget proposal for the Air Force and Space Force was unveiled on March 28.

In dollar terms, the proposed Air and Space Forces budget that the White House submitted to Congress for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, is $20.3 billion larger than the budget submitted for the Department of the Air Force last year. Under the proposal, the Air Force would receive $169.5 billion and the Space Force $24.5 billion. If approved as written, which is unlikely since Congress will spend months analyzing and debating the budget request, the increase reflects an 8% growth, not including inflation.

The proposed budget boosts funding by $1.1 billion in research, development, test and evaluation to modernize the nation’s aging, ground-based nuclear deterrent ($3.6 billion compared to $2.5 billion in the 2022 proposal). It adds $320 million in additional funding for continued development and nuclear certification of the B-21 Raider long-range bomber ($3.25 billion from $2.87 billion). It also increases the budget for hypersonic weapons by $138 million ($577 million from $438 million).

The proposed budget also calls on the Space Force to spend an additional $1 billion on “resilient missile warning/missile tracking to address hypersonic and maneuverable RVs (re-entry vehicles).”

In a portion of the request known as ‘procurement funds,’ the fiscal 2023 proposal provides funding to purchase 33 F-35A Lightning II fighters, 15 KC-46A Pegasus tankers, 24 F-15EX Eagle II fighters, among other hardware procurements. It provides funding to the Space Force for three National Security Space launches, three additional launches by the Space Development Agency and two launches that will put into orbit crucial GPS III satellites to enhance the resiliency of the positioning, navigation and timing constellation accessed by billions of users daily.

More broadly, the request calls for spending $7.9 billion (an increase of $300 million) to boost flying hours to 1.1 million, a level officials said is the “maximum executable level.” It increases spending for “weapons system sustainment” to $16.6 billion from $15.4 billion and carries funding to increase pay for civilians and active-duty personnel by 4.6 percent. It also has $77 million for the Air Force to address climate change requirements. The budget also proposes funding for 501,800 Total Force Airmen and 8,600 Guardians.

Among the more notable Space Force line-items are the transfer of the Space Development Agency and budget into the Space Force, $987 million to space technology development and prototyping missile warning/tracking, and $1 billion for ground and space segments of the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning system.

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