Airforces - Typhoon school

(Jacob Rumans) #1


// APRIL 2018 #


Pentagon releases Fiscal Year 2019

budget proposal

Trump presented Congress
with a proposed Fiscal Year
(FY) 2019 budget request
on February 12. The
latest Pentagon spending
plan includes major
investment in emerging
technologies as the US
military seeks to shift
emphasis from counter-
terrorism operations to
potential “great-power
competition”. The two-year
budget agreement includes
$700bn of defence funding
in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018
and $716bn in FY 2019.
Major aerospace
investments in the
budget include:

  • 77 F-35As - $10.7bn
    (48 for USAF,
    29 for US Navy)

  • 15 KC-46s – $3.0bn

  • 24 F/A-18s - $2.0bn

  • 60 AH-64Es -
    $1.3bn (12 new builds
    and 48 remanufacture)

  • 6 VH-92s - $0.9bn

  • 10 P-8As - $2.2bn

  • 8 CH-53Ks - $1.6bn
    One of the major
    beneficiaries will be the US
    Navy, set to receive $19bn
    for aircraft programmes, an
    increase of 26%. The navy
    has requested 120 new
    aircraft for this year alone
    and wants to buy 110 more
    F/A-18E/Fs over the next
    five years. Meanwhile, the
    navy will continue efforts
    to extend the service of its
    Super Hornets, including
    an airframe life extension,
    conformal fuel tanks, new
    computers and advanced
    cockpit displays.
    US Air Force R&D should

get $30.4bn, up 18.8%.
This will fund programmes
including the B-21 bomber
($2.3bn) and the Next-
Generation Air Dominance
(NGAD) ‘family of systems’.
Other efforts will help
develop hypersonic
strike weapons (both the
Hypersonic Conventional
Strike Capability and
the Air-Launched Rapid
Response Weapon),
autonomous technology
including swarming drones,
cyber-integrated defences,
electronic warfare,
artificial intelligence and
directed energy. The
USAF will also continue
efforts to field a high-
energy laser on a fighter.
The USAF is aiming to
spend $2.7bn more than

originally planned over the
next five years to accelerate
NGAD, which is designed
to ensure air superiority
well into the century.
NGAD will also include
a “renewed emphasis”
on electronic warfare.
The increasing focus
on ‘near-peer’ foes is
reflected in the emphasis
on modernised nuclear
weapons, including
purchase of precision-
guided tail-kits for the
B61-12 tactical nuclear
bomb and development of
the AGM-180/181 Long-
Range Standoff Weapon
(LRSO, $0.6bn) that will
arm the B-21 and B-52H.
For the latter bomber, a
long-awaited re-engining
programme should be

kick-started with the help
of $399m of funding. The
Stratofortress is set to
outlive the B-1B and B-2A,
according to the air force’s
new ‘bomber vector’
proposal. This envisages
incremental retirement of
the Lancer and Spirit once
the B-21 arrives in numbers
in the mid-2020s. The
air force had previously
intended to operate the
B-1 and B-52 until 2040,
and the B-2 to 2058.
“With an adequate
sustainment and
modernisation focus,
including new engines,
the B-52 has a projected
service life through 2050,
remaining a key part of the
bomber enterprise well into
the future,” said Gen Robin

Rand, Air Force Global Strike
Command commander. 
One notable victim of the
funding plan is the USAF’s
E-8C Joint Surveillance
Target Attack Radar
System (Joint STARS)
replacement, which will
be scrapped, pending
Congressional approval.
Meanwhile, seven E-3s will
receive improved cockpits
and navigation systems.
Perhaps surprisingly, the
Pentagon aims to reduce
planned purchases of the
F-35 in the short-term,
down from 341 to 329
aircraft in FY 2018-21.
The USAF’s five-year
Future Years Defense
Program includes $2.4bn to
procure a new fleet of light
attack aircraft. A planned
combat demonstration
has been ditched in favour
of a second evaluation,
involving the non-
developmental AT-6 and
A-29. It will take place at
Davis-Monthan Air Force,
Arizona, from May to July.
“Rather than do a combat
demonstration, we have
decided to work closely
with industry to experiment
with maintenance, data
networking and sensors
with the two most promising
light attack aircraft – the
AT-6 Wolverine and the
A-29 Super Tucano,”
said Secretary of the Air
Force Heather Wilson.
“This will let us gather
the data needed for a
rapid procurement.”

Top: A B-1B from the 7th Bomber Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, takes off from Nellis AFB, Nevada, for a Red Flag 18-
mission on February 5. The Lancer is now set for early retirement, a victim of its labour-intensive maintenance and inability to
carry cruise missiles. USAF/Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum Above: Company-owned A-29B demonstrator PT-ZNV over the White
Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, during last August’s Light Attack Experiment (OA-X). The Super Tucano has been selected
for a second light attack evaluation this summer. USAF/Ethan D Wagner
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