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.