Spending on aircraft to dip 12 percent in 2013
Funding for aircraft decreased in the Pentagonís fiscal year 2013 budget proposal as compared to 2012, according to documents obtained by Defense News.
The FY2013 budget calls for $47.6 billion for aircraft programs, down from $54.2 billion.
The Pentagon would continue to buy General Atomicís Predator series drones at a reduced pace with the Air Force planning to buy 24 MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft for $885 million. The Army would buy 19 MQ-1C Grey Eagle versions of the drone for $750 million.
Northrop Grummanís RQ-4 Global Hawk program has been trimmed, but the Defense Department would still buy three aircraft for NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance program and three more for the Navyís Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. Those moneys come from research and development funding.
The Army would buy 234 RQ-11 Raven drones for $184 million.
While itís not buying any new C-130J aircraft for it regular forces, the Air Force would continue to buy Hercules transports. The service wants to buy seven aircraft for Special Operations missions ó two new AC-130 gunships, four MC-130J tanker-transports and one HC-130 aircraft for $835 million. Thatís down by four from last year.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for the Air Force, Navy and Marines is slowing down its ramp-up to full rate production to reduce concurrency. Procurement would drop by two jets to 29 aircraft: 19 of those jets are to be Air Force F-35A model jets, four are to be Navy carrier-based F-35Cs, six are to the Marine F-35B jump jet variant.
The planes are being bought for $6.1 billion, and the Pentagon would spend $2.7 billion on development work.
The Navy is planning to buy the T-6 primary trainer at a pace of 33 aircraft for $286 million. Three planes were cut compared to last yearís buy.
The Pentagon would trim its V-22 Osprey buy for 2013. The Marine Corps would buy 17 aircraft compared to 30 in FY2012. The Air Force would buy four, down by one from the year before. The goal is to buy 458 aircraft in total ó 408 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and 50 for the Air Force. The Pentagon would buy nearly $2 billion in Osprey spare parts in 2013.
The Army would remanufacture 40 older Apaches into the new Block III configuration and building 10 aircraft from scratch. Thatís up from a grand total of 19 aircraft that the service bought last year. The Army would pay $801 million for the remanufactured aircraft plus $370 million for the new helicopters.
The Army would also buy 44 Chinooks for $1.4 billion: 25 of those would be new, 19 remanufactured. Thatís down from 47 last year.
The Army also wants to buy 34 UH-72 utility helicopters for $272 million. Thatís down from 39 in 2012. And the service would continue building the UH-60 Black Hawk at a rate of 59 aircraft in 2013 for $1.3 billion. Thatís down from 72 in 2012.
The Air Force, by contrast, is not buying any helicopters but would budget $60 million to ďmissionizeĒ the UH-60M helos it has already bought.
The Air Force would spend $808 million to upgrade its fleet of F-22 Raptors with Increment 3.1 hardware and software modification. The new configuration increases the jetís strike capabilities. The service is also continuing work on Increment 3.2 that would further increase the jetís already potent air-to-air sting.
The KC-46 program continues with $1.8 billion in developmental funding.
The Navy would buy five E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft for $984 million. That continues production at a steady pace from last yearís budget.
The service would buy 26 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for $2 billion. Thatís down by two jets from 2012, but the service is getting 12 EA-18G Growler electronic attack variant aircraft for $1 billion.
Growler production remains unchanged from FY12.
The Marine Corps would continue with its H-1 helicopter program. The service would buy 15 new UH-1Ys, and eight new AH-1Z attack helicopters. It would also remanufacture four older AH-1s into the Z-model. One more attack variant was added to replace a combat loss. The Corps would $852 million for the 28 aircraft.
The Navy would spend $849 million for 19 MH-60Rs and $484 million for 18 MH-60S helicopters.
The service would continue to ramp up production of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy would buy 13 aircraft in 2013 and is requesting money for long lead items for 17 more in 2014. The service would spend $3.2 billion on the P-8 program in FY13.
The Air Force is requesting nearly $1.3 billion for C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft upgrades.
The Pentagon would spend $423 million on continued production of the radar-guided AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile for a total of 180 missiles. It would also spend $200 million for 314 infrared homing AIM-9X dogfighting missiles.
The Pentagon would buy four Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle rockets for $1.7 billion. It would also buy two GPS satellites for $1.3 billion and two Space Based Infrared System satellites for $950 million.
Source: By Dave Majumdar - Staff writer, 12 February 2012 - Military Aviation News (http://airforcetimes.com)
Photo: In an undated photo, an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper lands in Afghanistan. The Pentagonís 2013 budget proposal calls for the Air Force to buy 24 Reapers for $885 million (Photo by airforcetimes.com)
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