Trump’s Budget Proposal Allocates $24B for DoD Aircraft

By Nick Zazulia | February 13, 2018
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President Trump sent his FY 2019 budget proposal to Congress. (Public domain photo by Gerd Altmann)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal directs $716 billion toward national security, including $686 billion for the Department of Defense. Of that, $24 billion would be spent on new aircraft, with Lockheed Martin F-35 investment leading the way.

The major aircraft investments under Trump’s budget proposal break down as follows:

  • 77 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters – $10.7 billion
  • 15 Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker replacements – $3.0 billion
  • 1 Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber – $2.3 billion
  • 10 Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft – $2.2 billion
  • 24 McDonell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters – $2.0 billion
  • 8 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion cargo helicopters – $1.6 billion
  • 60 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters – $1.3 billion
  • 6 Sikorsky VH-92 presidential helicopters – $900 million

In addition, there would be expenditure toward armaments, facilities and manpower. This is a considerably more defense-heavy resource allocation than in previous years.

Prior to the administration releasing its budget, during a question and answer session with media ahead of his trip to Europe, Secretary of Defense James Mattis outlined the importance of improving the nation’s defense capabilities, including a focus on buying more F-18 fighter jets with the existing 2018 budget, which he referred to as a “stopgap.”

“Squadrons that rate 10 airplanes have only seven. They can’t repair the others; they’re no longer repairable. We’ve flown the wings off of them, so to speak,” said Mattis.

“We’ll get to buy some new F-18s, for example, in order to keep the F-18 squadrons where they can be maintained at full strength,” he added.

The budget still needs to go through Congress for changes and approval before anything is finalized.

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