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Pentagon budget 2023: Services desire additional F-35 aircraft

A F-35A Lightning II takes flight. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Air Force (USAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC) all want more Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters than they officially requested for fiscal year (FY) 2023, the services told Congress in their respective unfunded priority lists.

The Pentagon officially requested USD11 billion for 61 F-35 fighters in 2023, down from the 94 it had previously projected, but the services recently told lawmakers they would like additional aircraft if possible, according to the unfunded priority lists obtained by Janes.

More specifically, the USAF would like USD921 million for seven additional F-35A conventional variant fighters to augment its official request for 33 fighters.

The USN, meanwhile, said it could use an additional USD708 million in FY 2023 for six more F-35C carrier variant jets than its request for nine aircraft.

USMC leaders also said they would like USD357.6 million more than they officially requested for three additional F-35B short take-off and landing variantjets, which would mean acquiring 18 F-35B aircraft next year, along with three additional F-35C aircraft above its official request for four aircraft.

In addition to more dollars for F-35 fighters, the services told lawmakers they could also use more money next year for various other aircraft including USD400 million for two more navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye planes. USN leaders officially requested five of these aircraft but said FY 2023 will be the last year the airborne early warning system will be purchased and noted that the line's closure will begin in FY 2024.

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