US De­fence Bud­get for FY 2019

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - World Aviation & Defence News -

The US Pres­i­dent has re­cently pre­sented the Congress with a pro­posed Fis­cal Year (FY) 2019 bud­get re­quest, which in­cludes ma­jor in­vest­ment in emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies even as the US mil­i­tary seeks to shift em­pha­sis from ‘counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions’ to po­ten­tial ‘great-power com­pe­ti­tion.’ The two-year bud­get agree­ment in­cludes $700bn of de­fence fund­ing in Fis­cal Year (FY) 2018 and $716bn in FY 2019. Ma­jor aerospace pro­grammes in the bud­get in­clude pro­cure­ment of 77 F-35As (48 for USAF and 29 for US Navy); 15 KC-46s, 24 F/A-18s; 60 AH-64Es (12 new built and 48 re­man­u­fac­tured); 6 VH-92s; 10 P-8As and 8 CH-53Ks.

The US Navy is set to re­ceive $19 bn for air­craft pro­grammes, an in­crease of 26%. The Navy has re­quested 120 new air­craft for 2018 and wants to buy 110 more F/A-18E/Fs over the next five years, while con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to ex­tend the ser­vice of its Su­per Hor­nets, in­clud­ing the air­frame life ex­ten­sion, con­for­mal fuel tanks, new com­put­ers and ad­vanced cock­pit displays. R&D funds for the US Air Force amount to $30.4 bn, which will fund pro­grammes in­clud­ing the B-21 bomber and the Next Gen­er­a­tion Air Dom­i­nance (NGAD) ‘fam­ily of sys­tems.’ Other ef­forts will help de­velop hy­per­sonic strike weapons (both the Hy­per­sonic Con­ven­tional Strike Ca­pa­bil­ity and the Air-Launched Rapid Re­sponse Weapon), au­ton­o­mous tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing swarm­ing drones, cy­ber-in­te­grated de­fences, elec­tronic war­fare, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and di­rected en­ergy. The USAF will also con­tinue ef­forts to field a high-en­ergy laser with a fighter.

The in­creas­ing fo­cus on ‘near-peer’ foes is re­flected in the em­pha­sis of mod­ernised nu­clear weapons, in­clud­ing pur­chase of pre­ci­sion-guided tail-kits for the B61-12 tac­ti­cal nu­clear bomb and de­vel­op­ment of the AGM-180/181 Long Range Stand­off Weapon (LRSO, $0.6bn) that will arm the B-21 and B-52H. For the lat­ter bomber, a lon­gawaited re-en­gin­ing pro­gramme should be kick-started with the help of $399m of fund­ing. The Strato­fortress is set to out­live the B-1B and B-2A, ac­cord­ing the Air Force’s new ‘bomber vec­tor’ pro­posal, which en­vis­ages in­cre­men­tal re­tire­ment of the Lancer and Spirit once the B- 21 ar­rives in the mid2020s. The Air Force had pre­vi­ously in­tended to op­er­ate the B-1 and B-52 un­til 2040, with the B-2 con­tin­u­ing till 2058. Sur­pris­ingly, the US aims to re­duce planned pur­chases of the F-35 in the short-term, down from 341 to 329 air­craft in FY 2018-21.

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