The US Air Force plans to increase its aircraft purchases in 2011 to 149 planes, up from this fiscal year’s plan of 93 planes.

According to the fiscal 2011 budget, 48 MQ-9A Reapers will be bought which is twice the number for fiscal 2010.

Of these, 12 MQ-9A Reapers, unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying a payload of 3,000lb, would replace Predators that have been lost in action.

The plan also includes the purchase of 23 F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters, one of which would replace a lost F-15 as well as 15 light mobility aircraft.