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Pentagon budget 2022: DoD requests less aircraft and related systems spending

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is requesting USD52.4 billion for aircraft and related systems in its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request, which would represent a decrease of 7.9% from the nearly USD57 billion provided in FY 2021.

DoD requested roughly USD12 billion for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, 6.7% less than the USD12.9 billion provided in FY 2021. This is according to budget documents released on 28 May. The Pentagon wants 85 F-35s in FY 2022, 11 fewer than the 96 provided in FY 2021.

The US Air Force (USAF) wants 48 F-35A conventional variants, the US Marine Corps (USMC) requests 17 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) models and five F-35C aircraft carrier variants, while the US Navy (USN) requests 15 F-35Cs. The F-35 is the Pentagon’s largest weapons programme.

The USD12 billion request for the F-35 programme would continue systems engineering, development and operational testing, and support Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) to provide incremental capability improvements. It would also accelerate an organic depot maintenance capability to reduce depot repair cycle times to improve aircraft availability rates.

The US Army is requesting USD1.6 billion for its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) rotorcraft effort. This would be a 38% increase from the roughly USD1.1 billion enacted in FY 2021. These numbers include both research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) and procurement funding. The Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) are the two ongoing FVL competitions. The US Army considers FARA its top aviation modernisation priority.

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