Back to news

February 12, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

US Air Force requests $156.3 billion in FY19, plans to retire B-1, B-2 fleets

By: Aaron Mehta

ROME — The fiscal 2019 budget for the U.S. Air Force plans to grow the service from 55 to 58 combat squadrons over the next five years, while buying dozens of high-end aircraft and preparing to retire the B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets as the military retools for the high-end competition forseen by the Pentagon.

The National Defense Strategy, released in January, focused on the potential for great power competition between the U.S. and Russia or China. And in any such battle, the U.S. Air Force would play a critical role; hence, the service's request for $156.3 billion for FY19, a 6.6 percent overall increase from the FY18 request.

Click here for full coverage of President Trump's FY19 budget request!

In FY19, the Air Force is requesting 48 F-35A fighter jets, 15 KC-46A tankers and one more MC-130J aircraft. Ther service is also investing $2.3 billion in research and development in the B-21 Raider bomber, up from the $2 billion request in the yet-to-be-enacted FY18 budget.

The latter is notable, as the Air Force has formally announced it will be retiring the B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets once the B-21 — which will be dual-capable for both conventional and nuclear missions — starts to come online in the mid-2020s.

The budget request also calls for investing in new engines for the B-52 fleet to keep that aircraft going through 2050 — making it an almost 100-year-old design.

“If the force structure we have proposed is supported by the Congress, bases that have bombers now will have bombers in the future,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a service release. “They will be B-52s and B-21s.”

The budget request also seeks to move forward with a new light-attack aircraft, likely either the Embraer-Sierra Nevada Corp. A-29 Super Tucano or the Textron AT-6, to provide a low-end capability.

Although that program seems at odds with the high-end challenge foreseen by the Defense Department, Susanna Blume of the Center for a New American Security believes it fits in nicely, as such an aircraft would remove the need to fly expensive, high-end aircraft for that mission.

Overall, the budget request calls for buying 258 F-35A fighters through the next five years. And in terms of space, the service is requesting $2 billion to fund five launches of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

The service also seeks to increase funding for F-16 modernizations to speed upgrades with the active electronically scanned array antennas, radar warning systems and Link 16 systems.

Naval warfare reporter David B. Larter contributed to this report from Washington.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal-budget/2018/02/12/air-force-requests-1563-billion-in-fy19-plans-to-retire-b-1-b-2-fleets/

On the same subject

  • Lockheed Seeks Commercial Tie-Ups to Chase 5G Work

    October 27, 2020 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Lockheed Seeks Commercial Tie-Ups to Chase 5G Work

    CEO Taiclet wants a leading role as U.S. and allied militaries build out their next-gen mobile networks. Marcus Weisgerber Commercial partnerships will be key as Lockheed Martin seeks to help U.S. and allied militaries move to 5G networking — and diversify its offerings beyond fighter jets and missiles, its CEO said in an interview this week. “I think, an imperative that we Lockheed Martin, and frankly the defense industrial base, partner with [the] commercial industry to accelerate the benefits of what I call 21st-century technologies into the defense [industrial] base, and into our national defense,” Jim Taiclet said in an Oct. 20 interview after his company's 3rd-quarter earnings call. A former telecom executive, Taiclet took the reins at the world's largest defense contractor in June amid an increased push by the Pentagon leaders to better connect the military's weapons, regardless of manufacturer, so they can more quickly share information on the battlefield. The Air Force alone plans to spend at least $9 billion over the next five years connecting its weapons through an initiative known as Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control. The Pentagon is conducting increasingly ambitious experiments with 5G wireless technology, which promises to link weapons with such high data-transfer rates that military commanders will be able to make decisions faster and with more information. “We're interested in operationalizing the technical capabilities of 5G waveforms and technology software and hardware to improve our defense products and our defense products' performance in an interrelated way,” Taiclet said Tuesday on the company's third-quarter earning call with Wall Street analysts. The Pentagon has been increasingly embracing commercial firms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as the military shifts to the cloud. It's also been on a half-decade push to get more commercial tech firms to embrace defense work, which has been a bumpy relationship at times. Taiclet said the company would pursue partnerships not just in 5G, but also artificial intelligence, edge computing, autonomy, and additive manufacturing. “I think there's some incredible runway or open space there for us to be a leader in bringing some of those companies and some of those technology leaders in partnership with us,” Taiclet said in the interview. He raised the prospect of forming alliances or licensing commercial technology from telecom firms like Qualcomm, NextCom or Nokia. He also said the company could form joint ventures with commercial tech firms. It could include buying companies too. “We're just gonna open our aperture wider,” Taiclet said. “And we also want to get more active and mission systems too. So, we'll see what's available in that space as well ... closer to the home base here. I think there's a lot of optionality for us going forward.” On the earnings call, Taiclet also suggested Lockheed could offer “networking as a service, more of a subscription model” to the military. “Then we do the upgrades and the comm layer and make sure we tie it all together, just like you experience on your cellphone subscription,” he said. You don't know all the pieces that go into it. So every morning when you turn it on, it works and it works with the latest applications, and it works with the latest technology. “Those are the kinds of things we're going to explore,” he said. “It will take a little bit longer to get there, but we're positioning ourselves to do that as well.” https://www.defenseone.com/business/2020/10/lockheed-seeks-commercial-tie-ups-chase-5g-work/169566/

  • Le Pentagone accorde une modification de contrat de 7,8 milliards de dollars pour les F-35 à Lockheed Martin | Zonebourse

    January 3, 2023 | International, Aerospace

    Le Pentagone accorde une modification de contrat de 7,8 milliards de dollars pour les F-35 à Lockheed Martin | Zonebourse

    Le ministère de la Défense des États-Unis a déclaré vendredi qu'il avait accordé une modification de contrat de 7,8 milliards de dollars pour les avions F-35 à Lockheed Martin Corp. | 4 janvier 2023

  • Air Force launches $100K challenge for ‘space awareness innovators’

    October 30, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Air Force launches $100K challenge for ‘space awareness innovators’

    by Sandra Erwin The Air Force Visionary Q-Prize competition is set to run from Oct. 29 through Jan. 15, 2019. WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and the Wright Brothers Institute are offering cash prizes for creative visualization tools — such as augmented reality and virtual reality — that can enhance military space operators' understanding and awareness of satellites and other objects in space. The Air Force Visionary Q-Prize Competition, or VQ-Prize, is set to run from Oct. 29 through Jan. 15, 2019. Up to $100,000 in prize money will be distributed in this competition, according to an Air Force news release. There will be multiple awards for different categories and a single VQ-Prize will go to the top overall submission. Specific competition guidelines, prizes, dates, grading criteria, data sets, and submission details will be posted at https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9934120 The VQ-Prize was conceived to encourage nontraditional vendors to engage with the military. The Air Force is aiming this challenge at universities, individuals and small businesses that can help “find solutions for safe and secure operations in space.” No background in space is required. “The need for timely and accurate object tracking is paramount to the defense of space,” said Brig. Gen. William Liquori, Air Force Space Command Strategic Requirements, Architectures and Analysis director. He said the competition is to help “augment existing capabilities with visualization tools that enable operators to intuitively absorb and quickly navigate massive amounts of space object data.” The Air Force wants tools that use existing data, displaying and processing it in a manner that thoroughly captures the space picture, while also facilitating “quick comprehension of changes,” the news release said. Col. Michael Kleppe, Air Force Space Command Space Capabilities Division director said it is “imperative that space operators receive up-to-date information on this rapidly evolving and highly dynamic environment.” They must also be able to “quickly process and interpret the information necessary for decisive action on compressed timelines.” For the competition, specific problems have been scoped and packaged. Contestants may submit traditional user interface solutions, displayed or projected on a flat screen, or AR/VR interfaces. Contestants will need to present new ways of visualizing and understanding the following types of events: Satellite maneuvers, high-speed conjunctions in low Earth orbit, proximity operations and relative orbital activity in geosynchronous Earth orbit, new object discovery, satellite and debris breakups, constellation insertions of multiple satellites on a single launch, and lost or “stale” objects. Submissions will be evaluated by military space operators, space development professionals, and human factors experts. Some considerations include: Clear presentation of information, ability to search for and display specific objects or constellations, support of user recognition rather than recall, ability to monitor all critical information simultaneously, lack of clutter and extraneous information, and lack of over-stimulation of the user. https://spacenews.com/air-force-launches-100k-challenge-for-space-awareness-innovators

All news