USAF submits budget request for FY20 to upgrade capabilities

13 March 2019 (Last Updated March 13th, 2019 14:47)

The US Air Force (USAF) is requesting a budget of $165bn for the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) to modernise its capabilities and equipment, as well as increase readiness to tackle global threats.

USAF submits budget request for FY20 to upgrade capabilities
The budget proposal seeks to provide funding for procurement of 48 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets in FY20. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt Donald R Allen.

The US Air Force (USAF) is requesting a budget of $165bn for the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) to modernise its capabilities and equipment, as well as increase readiness to tackle global threats.

The budget request represents a $10bn increase over FY19 and will help the USAF’s efforts to meet challenges posed by China and Russia and to create an effective nuclear deterrent.

In the FY20 budget request, the airforce outlined its plans to fund measures to restore readiness with a special focus on training, maintenance, spare parts and flying hours.

The proposed budget will allocate funding to modernise nuclear ballistic missile operations, strategic bombers, nuclear air-launched cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and associated nuclear command, control and communications systems.

The USAF plans to acquire an additional 48 F-35A Lightning II aircraft and eight upgraded F-15EX Strike Eagle fighters, as per the budget request. Approximately $2.3bn will be spent on the procurement of 12 KC-46A Pegasus tankers.

Funding plans also include an allocation for third-generation GPS satellite and four launches of space vehicles for national security. The budget request also includes funding to train 1,480 pilots.

“As part of the RDT&E budget, $348.5m will be used to continue the design of T-X trainer aircraft, and $757.9m will be dedicated to the development of Air Force One aircraft.”

In a major boost for the recently announced space force, the USAF is seeking $14bn for investment in the space portfolio, a 17% increase over the previous year.

More than $72.4m of the investment will be used to set up the headquarters for US Space Force, which will operate as a new service within the department of the airforce.

The proposed budget will provide money for training, as well as upgrading live and virtual ranges and infrastructure that provide realistic training capabilities to counter advanced threats.

Facilities due to undergo modernisation include the Nevada Test and Training Range, the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Utah Test and Training Range, the Space Test and Training Range and several smaller range complexes.

The budget proposal comprises $712m for long-range standoff weaponry and $3bn for the B-21 Bomber.

According to DefenseNews website, the proposal contains a $5bn increase in spending for both operations and maintenance (O&M), and research, development, technology and evaluation (RDT&E).

As part of the RDT&E budget, $348.5m will be used to continue the design of T-X trainer aircraft, and $757.9m will be dedicated to the development of Air Force One aircraft, the website added.