The US Government has submitted the proposed US Air Force (USAF) budget request of $156.3bn to Congress for the fiscal year (FY) 2019.
Aligned with the National Defense Strategy, the current budget proposal supports the progress made by the USAF this year in order to restore its readiness, enhance lethality, modernise cost-effectively, and move in the direction of multi-domain operations.
USAF Secretary Dr Heather Wilson said: “The airforce needs the right size and mix of capabilities to compete, deter, and win in this environment, brought to bear by well-trained, resilient, and competent airmen steeped in the business of joint and combined warfare.”
The FY19 submission addresses several aspects such as readiness, people, nuclear deterrence, upgrade, space and air superiority, multi-domain command and control, as well as science and technology development.
The budget includes proposals for a $10.7bn investment on 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, $3bn on 15 KC-46 Tanker Replacements, $2bn on 24 F/A-18 aircraft, $2.2bn on ten P-8A aircraft, $1.6bn on eight CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, $1.3bn on 60 AH-64E attack helicopters, and $0.9bn on six VH-92 presidential helicopters.
The request also supports the acquisition of 48 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and 15 KC-46 Pegasus tankers, along with the continued development of the B-21 Raider.
In addition to proposing the selection of the T-X advanced trainer aircraft and the replacement of the UH-1N helicopter, the FY19 budget request suggests the development of B-52 replacement engines and the long-range stand-off missiles, as well as the replacement of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.
The submission also proposes for a 33% increase in the research, development, test, and experimentation budget for the Air Force Space that would help address the growing threat from China and Russia.
The budget also includes upgrade plans of seven E-3 Airborne Warning Command and Control aircraft (AWACS), in addition to ensuring operational capability of the current E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar systems (JSTARS) to run through the mid-2020s.