The US Air Force (USAF) has requested Congress to allocate $132.4bn in a budget to fund readiness, nuclear deterrence operations and space and cyber capabilities.
The proposed 2018 budget request supports the Secretary of Defense’s commitment to strengthening the US military by improving warfighting readiness and addressing critical shortfalls, while building a larger, more capable joint force, USAF stated.
The majority of the budget will be allocated for airmen, readiness, nuclear deterrence operations, space and cyber capabilities, as well as combat air forces and infrastructure.
The budget is aimed at funding the acquisition of 46 F-35A Lightning and 15 KC-46 Pegasus aircraft in order to improve recapitalisation of the current fighter and tanker fleets.
It involves investment in the continuous modernisation of the air force’s fourth and fifth-generation aircraft.
The budget also supports efforts to maximise munition production capacity to sustain global precision attack capabilities.
Two additional F-16 training squadrons, 60 RPA combat lines, an intercontinental ballistic missile programme, as well as a space procurement strategy will be funded by the budget.
The budget is also said to support 2.1% pay raise for active-duty Airmen and a 1.9% pay raise for civilian personnel.
The request proposes an increase in pilot training capacity and reducing gaps in critical skill areas such as nuclear, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and the remotely piloted aircraft communities.
The budget supports funding the space-based infrared system, space modernisation initiative, tech maturation and cyber security. It also assists with the modernisation of protected satellite communications and development, as well as fielding of space battle management command and control.
The request also funds four evolved expendable launch vehicle services, three of which are competitive opportunities.