Department of Air Force releases $169bn budget proposal for 2021

11 February 2020 (Last Updated February 11th, 2020 11:11)

The US Department of the Air Force has released a $169bn budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021, which includes funding for the newly created US Space Force for the first time.

Department of Air Force releases $169bn budget proposal for 2021
The budget has allocated $5.8bn to purchase 48 F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt Donald R Allen.

The US Department of the Air Force has released a $169bn budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021, which includes funding for the newly created US Space Force for the first time.

The proposal also includes funding to help both services upgrade, address potential threats from Russia and China, and sustain readiness.

Additionally, it calls for increased investments in space and ensures enough combat power is in place to respond to any attack against the US or allies decisively.

The department noted that the spending plan carries a $900m rise from the previous year. For 2021, $153.6bn is directed to the airforce and $15.4bn for the space force.

US Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said: “Our fiscal year ‘21 budget proposal helps drive irreversible momentum as we implement the National Defense Strategy.

“The strategic advantages the airforce and the spaceforce bring to our nation are vital. This budget allows us to meet today’s national security challenges while taking important steps toward the air and space forces we need in 2030.”

As part of the budget, funds will be provided for a rapid experimentation, prototyping and development effort that supports the overall initiative led by joint staff to connect every sensor and shooter in land, sea, air, space and cyber.

The budget has allocated $5.8bn for procuring 48 F-35A Lightning II aircraft and $3bn to purchase 15 KC-46A Pegasus tankers and $1.4bn for 12 F-15EX fighters.

Research and development funding for the airforce will increase by $1.5bn to a total of $26.9bn.

In the space force, funding for research and development will grow to $10.3bn from $9.8bn in the fiscal year 2020.

An investment of $2.8bn will be made for the continued development of the B-21 Raider, and $1.5bn to modernise the ground-based nuclear force.

The budget also funds $2.3bn for rapid development of Next-Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared Space and Ground systems.

The spending plan also anticipates retiring some planes, including 13 KC-135 Stratotankers, 16 KC-10 Extenders, 24 C-130H Hercules, 17 B-1 Lancers and 24 RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20/30 aircraft, to free up funding for critical new equipment.

The budget proposal needs to be considered by Congress and must be approved and signed into law by the president by 1 October 2020.