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Pentagon Budget 2024: US Navy requests funding to procure 88 aircraft

A CH-53K King Stallion performs aerial refuelling trials in 2020. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Navy (USN) in its fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget requested USD17.3 billion to purchase 88 aircraft and helicopters, including spare parts, support equipment, and facilities.

The USN intends to spend USD4.9 billion dollars to procure Lockheed Martin F-35s. USD2.3 billion is meant to purchase 16 F-35Bs, the vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft flown by the US Marine Corps (USMC). The F-35Bs will replace Boeing AV-8Bs and F/A-18C/Ds. Another USD2.6 billion is slated for 19 F-35Cs, the conventional aircraft carrier-capable variant flown mainly by the USN. 15 of the C-models will go to the Navy, while the remaining 4 will go to the US Marine Corps.

The other major purchase is the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion, designated to replace the CH-53E as the USMC's heavy-lift helicopter. The USN allocated USD2.16 billion to purchase 15 of the King Stallion helicopters.

The USN also requested to purchase 26 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft, which are based on the Beechcraft King Air 260, at a cost of USD289 million. They are slated to replace T-44s – an older model of King Air – as the navy's primary multi-engine flight training aircraft.

The budget also included a request for USD241 million for 2 Lockheed Martin KC-130Js, which the USMC uses as transport and air-to-air tanking aircraft.

The service proposed buying several varieties of unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The navy intends to add 3 MQ-25 Stingrays to the fleet for use as carrier-based air-to-air refuellers at a cost of USD596 million. The type's entry into service remains intended for FY 2025.

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