USAF seeks $140.4 billion in Fiscal 2011, including $20.8 billion for the wars.
—Michael C. Sirak
Feb. 2, 2010—The Obama Administration seeks a baseline budget of $119.6 billion for the Air Force in Fiscal 2011, plus $20.8 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO) to fund the service's share of fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This $140.4 billion request represents two percent real growth over the enacted appropriations for Air Force-specific activities in this fiscal year, said Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers, USAF's deputy assistant secretary for budget.
(Please note: The Air Force's Fiscal 2011 proposal grows to $170.8 billion when factoring the $30.4 billion in outlays that the Air Force would manage, but that would pay for defense-wide activities and services such as military health care, special operations, and intelligence.)
Notably, the service requests $200 million in Fiscal 2011 to mature "critical technologies" for a new bomber platform and support "competitive exploration" of technology for it or a family of systems for future long-range strike. Overall, the Air Force seeks $1.7 billion through Fiscal 2015 for the new bomber, with plans to formally start a program in Fiscal 2012 after more study of the interplay between LRS and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance.
The budget proposal also funds development of the new KC-X tanker and a new utility helicopter. It would buy one missile warning satellite, one communications satellite, and 149 aircraft, including 52 unmanned platforms.
It also would terminate development of a project to develop next-generation space sensors to warn of ballistic missile launch. And, it reflects the decision by the Defense Department and Commerce Department to dissolve the joint program to develop the nation's next-generation weather satellite.
As in the past several years, the proposal seeks to stop work on the F136 engine for the F-35 strike fighter and includes no money for more C-17 transports.
Nearly two-thirds of the Air Force's $119.6 billion baseline request would cover the service's day-to-day operations, while 20 percent goes towards procurement, 15 percent for research, development, test, and evaluation, and two percent for military construction.
The day-to-day operations include $45.8 billion for operations and maintenance (up $3.6 billion from Fiscal 2010) and $29.3 billion for military personnel (up $800 million).
The procurement request is $24.2 billion ($1.5 billion more than Fiscal 2010), while $18.2 billion is sought for RDT&E ($1.2 billion less than prior year) and $2.2 billion for MILCON ($800 million less).
Flowers noted that 20 percent of the procurement budget is earmarked "to sustain legacy systems."
The baseline budget request funds a total force of 510,100 uniformed and civilian personnel. This includes an active duty force of 332,200, an increase of 500 over the Fiscal 2010 level, said Flowers. It includes a 1.4 percent base pay increase and would in-source 7,700 former contractor positions.
The combined baseline/OCO request would buy 149 aircraft in Fiscal 2011. The aircraft list includes 23 F-35s (including one in the OCO request to replace an F-15E lost in combat), 48 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (including 12 in the OCO proposal to replace MQ-1 Predator RPVs lost in combat), four RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, eight C-27J transports, eight C-130J transports, four HC-130J tankers, five MC-130Js, and five CV-22 tiltrotor platforms.
The aircraft list also includes six Army Blackhawk helicopters (including three in OCO request) that will be modified to the Air Force's HH-60 Pave Hawk configuration to replace Pave Hawks lost in combat since 9/11. The Air Force is similarly buying four Pave Hawk replacements in Fiscal 2010.
The list also includes 15 light mobility aircraft, a platform upon which the Air Force has not yet decided, but wants to field starting in Fiscal 2011. Overall the Air Force is planning to buy about 60 LiMAs to support operations in austere locations.
The baseline budget includes $800 million to begin development of the KC-X tanker, which would begin replacement of Eisenhower-era KC-135s.
The spending proposal also includes $6.4 million to initiate development of the Common Vertical-Lift Support Platform, the planned successor to the service's Vietnam War-era UH-1N Huey helicopters, used primarily for ICBM field operations.
Included in the space outlays is funding to buy the fourth Space Based Infrared System satellite (GEO-4) and seventh Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft as well as advanced procurement of components for SBIRS GEO-5, WGS-8, and the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite.
The spending request would also buy three space launch vehicles.
It would terminate the Third-Generation Infrared Surveillance program that was meant to mature the next generation of highly sophisticated space-based sensors beyond those designed for the Space Based Infrared System satellites to warn of ballistic missile launches.
Marilyn Thomas, Air Force budget deputy, said the outstanding performance of the two SBIRS sensors already on orbit as well as more pressing funding priorities service-wide drove the decision to cancel 3GIRS.
Although the service has requested more than $400 million for the NPOESS weather satellite, which has had its share of cost overruns and delays, the satellite's future is in flux. According to one Pentagon budget document, DOD and Commerce "have agreed to diverge their satellite development efforts." While there may still be some aspects of the partnership that remain—like data sharing and some sensor development—the two parties intend to transition to their own efforts.
The baseline request also includes funds to develop an electronic attack capability for the F-22 stealth fighter as well as block 3.2 of its software, which will enable the aircraft to carry the latest version of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile and the Small Diameter Bomb.
The proposal also includes $118 million to facilitate the shutdown of the F-22 production line. This builds upon the $64 million slated for this purpose in Fiscal 2010.
No money is included for the F136 engine for the F-35. This is the fourth consecutive year that the White House will attempt to stop its development over Congressional objections. Thomas said F136 termination is warranted since its competition, the F135 engine, is "making good progress" and there are more pressing needs for the funds.
There is also no money to buy more C-17s beyond the 223 that Congress has already funded. However, the request does include $39 million toward the $501 million earmarked from Fiscal 2010 to Fiscal 2014 for the phased shutdown of the C-17 production line.
The baseline budget request does continue to fund the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program and the effort to install new engines on E-8C Joint STARS ground-surveillance aircraft. The future of both of these projects was in doubt several months ago due to more pressing funding priorities identified by the Air Force leadership.
The proposal also includes funding to develop upgrades for EC-130 communications-jamming aircraft and the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II system.
It also reinstates procurement funding for the JASSM cruise missile, which was halted this time last year—and only recently reinstated—due to some reliability issues affecting missile performance.
Flowers said the unmanned aircraft request of the spending proposal keeps the Air Force on pace to field a total of 50 combat air patrols in Fiscal 2011 to provide overhead ISR support to ground troops in Southwest Asia. Today there are 40 CAPs supporting the fight and the Air Force intends to have 65 in Fiscal 2013, he said.
There is also money earmarked, for the first time, to conduct structural stress studies of the F-16 fighter. Similar fatigue tests are already being funded for the F-15.
The budget would also fund 1.2 million flying hours.
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