President Donald Trump has called on department secretaries to deliver 5 percent cuts for their upcoming FY20 budget requests, opening the door for a potential decline in defense spending. At the same time, Trump said the defense budget would “probably” total $700 billion in FY20. Initially, it was unclear if this $700 billion figure applied only to the Pentagon, or to the total national security budget, which also includes programs and agencies outside of the U.S. Department of Defense, such as nuclear programs within the Department of Energy. Continue reading
Aircraft programs won big in the FY19 defense appropriations bill, which was released by Congress in September. Lawmakers bolstered the major service aircraft accounts by a combined $2.5 billion in the bill, which includes an additional $1.2 billion for the Navy, $841.8 million for the Air Force, and $500.6 million for the Army. Most of the major changes made to the aircraft coffers stemmed from the House Appropriations Committee markup, which originally called for an additional $2.4 billion in aircraft funding. The Senate markup added $1.7 billion for aircraft, but the Army would have actually lost nearly half a billion dollars under the Senate bill.
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers completed the conference markup of the FY19 defense authorization bill on July 23. The defense policy bill adheres to the spending levels agreed upon in the bipartisan budget act, providing a defense base budget of $639.1 billion. That figure comprises $616.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $21.9 billion for nuclear programs in the Department of Energy, and around $300 million for defense-related activities outside the DoD. Another $69 billion is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $708.1 billion in discretionary defense spending. When including $8.9 billion in mandatory spending, the FY19 topline authorized in the legislation totals $717 billion. The separate congressional appropriations process will finalize how much money the military actually has available to spend in FY19.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is poised for a boost in 2019, as two U.S. congressional defense panels have signed off on additional aircraft for the Department of Defense. Precisely how many additional aircraft each service will receive must be ironed out in conference committee. This plus-up contrasts with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, both of which expressed concern about the F-35 production ramp-up. Continue reading
Lockheed Martin formally delivered Turkey’s first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters on June 21. However, the milestone occurred amidst various moves within the U.S. Congress aimed at blocking further deliveries of the new fighter to that country.
The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and associated equipment to Canada as part of a potential deal worth $5.23 billion, according to a September 12 announcement from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The announcement outlines the potential sale of 10 F/A-18Es, eight F/A-18Fs, eight F414-GE-400 engine spares, APG-79 radars, 100 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II missiles, 30 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles, and eight AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Special Air Training Missiles, as well as additional avionics and electronics. Continue reading
Despite drawing equal amounts of praise and ire, the F-35 program is in a continual process of progressing as the airframe surpasses 100,000 hours of flight time. An expensive piece of kit, the aircraft has conjured up arguments as to whether it is suitable in today’s military environment and if the price is commensurate with performance. Any aviation forum site chosen is rife with F-35 discussions; however, one aspect that seems to get less attention is the F135 turbofan engine that powers the fighter. Continue reading
Forecast International is pleased to announce the launch of a newly enhanced U.S. Defense Budget Forecast database, now featuring the ability to track major program spending and identify winners and losers within every Pentagon budget request. FI’s budget database provides quick access to DoD request and forecast budget data, justification documents, congressional markups, and more. The Pentagon’s massive weapons spending plan can be sorted by value, with options for filtering programs by appropriation title (R1/P1), service, and appropriation account. Continue reading
This blog post briefly highlights recent Airborne Retrofit & Modernization news. More in-depth news can be found in Forecast’s E-Market Alerts. Sign up here to receive our World Aerospace and Defense Intelligence Newsletter. To the minute R&M news can also be found via the Forecast R&M twitter account, @MBeresFI. Continue reading
The Hellenic Defense Ministry announced on February 7 that Greece intends to move forward on an upgrade to its large inventory of F-16C/D combat aircraft and begin exploring a future purchase of the new-generation F-35 from the U.S.
The first project represents a much-needed focus on deteriorating Greek military capabilities in the air-sea domain, while the second remains an over-the-horizon dream nowhere remotely near Athens’ current fiscal reality. Continue reading