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Pentagon budget 2023: US Navy plans to reduce JSF buys, procure Stingrays

The US Navy wants to reduce the number of F-35Cs it buys in fiscal year 2023. (US Navy)

The fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request for the US Navy (USN) seeks to reduce the number of F-35C and F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) for the FY, while starting the procurement of a number of MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to budget documents released on 28 March.

The USN is also requesting funding to start procurement of multi-engine training aircraft.

The USN plans to procure nine JSFs in FY 2023, after buying 15 in FY 2022 and 16 in FY 2021.

β€œThe numbers did come down,” Rear Admiral John Gumbleton, deputy assistant secretary of the navy for budget, noted during a media briefing on the day the budget request was released.

The navy reduced the requested number of JSFs for FY 2023 to free up more money for ship construction, research and development, and other accounts, he said.

The budget request documents show the navy intends to return to 15 F-35Cs per year during the rest of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). However, the procurement of F-35Bs drops to four during FY 2026 and to three for FY 2027.

The budget request also includes the procurement of four Stingrays and six multi-engine training aircraft for the navy and four training aircraft for the US Marine Corps.

Altogether, the request includes about USD16.8 billion for 96 aircraft. The service procured 129 aircraft in FY 2022 and 144 in FY 2021.

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