The US Air Force’s (USAF) FY2018 budget request to Congress seeks $132.4 billion to support readiness, nuclear deterrence and space and cyber capabilities. Also included is a 2.1% pay hike for uniformed personnel (1.9% for civilian employees).

Among specific equipment acquisition requests are 46 F-35A LIGHTNING IIs and 15 KC-46 PEGASUS aircraft, alongside continued investment in modernising the service’s fourth- and fifth-generation platforms. The budget will fund two additional F-16 training squadrons, 60 UAS combat lines, an intercontinental ballistic missile programme and a revitalised space procurement strategy, including four evolved expendable launch vehicle services.

The space strategy will also include further development of the space-based infrared system, modernisation of secure satellite communications and the fielding of a space battle management C2 capability. Cyber security has a high profile in the funding requests, and the Air Force is planning to maximise munitions production capacity in order to sustain global precision attack capabilities.

Tim Mahon


The USAF FY2018 budget request calls for 46 F-35As and 15 KC-46 aircraft to be funded. (Photo: Boeing)

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