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Pentagon budget 2022: US Air Force requests USD212.8 billion, plans major aircraft divestments

The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) USD212.8 billion budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 would be USD8.8 billion more than the USD204 billion in funding provided in FY 2021 and would represent a boost of 4.3%.

The service plans major aircraft divestments in FY 2022 that it expects to save roughly USD1.4 billion. The USAF, once again, wants to reduce its fleet of Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support (CAS) aircraft. This time, by 42 units. This would save the service USD344 million. The USAF regularly tries to trim its fleet of A-10s, only to be rebuffed by lawmakers.

The USAF plans to save USD273 million by cutting 20 Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk high altitude, long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from its force structure. The service wants to cut 48 Boeing F-15C/D Eagle fighters for a savings of USD249 million, and divest 47 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons. The USAF expects this to save it USD31 million.

The air force wants to divest older aerial refueling tankers to make room for new Boeing KC-46A Pegasus platforms. The USAF wants to cut 18 Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers for a savings of USD113 million, while reducing its fleet of McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extenders by 14. This would represent USD174 million in savings.

The USAF wants to cut eight Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transport aircraft as this would save USD83 million. The service, lastly, wants to reduce its fleet of Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft for a savings of USD107 million.

The FY 2022 budget request is just that, a request, and is considered a starting point for negotiations with lawmakers. The USAF’s budget request includes USD39 billion in “non-blue,” or pass-through, funding.

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