What the DoD budget means for B-21 bomber and NGAD sixth gen fighter

Lockheed Martin concept art for a sixth generation fighter jet, originally released in 2017 02062021
Lockheed Martin concept art for a sixth generation fighter jet, originally released in 2017 02062021

The US Department of Defense has released its budget request for 2022, including funding for its aircraft development programmes.

Approximately $715 billion in defence spending is being requested, including for new aircraft purchases and advancing new programmes like Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) and the B-21 Raider stealth bomber.

For the F-35 programme, the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are collectively asking for funds to purchase 85 new aircraft, including all three variants of the fighter jet.

Related: US Air Force just revealed a first look at its new fighter jet

In line with recent reports on an in-development sixth generation Navy jet, the service is not asking to buy any new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in this budget proposal. The Navy will instead focus on its innovative new NGAD system (not to be confused with USAF’s own NGAD programme.) The Navy is also looking to accelerate the retirement of remaining legacy F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets.

USAF wants funding to buy an additional 12 F-15EX fighter jets. The service has already received funding for eight F-15EXs in the 2020 Fiscal Year budget and a dozen more in the budget for the 2021 Fiscal Year.

The service is also looking for $1.5 billion to support its NGAD programme, an increase of roughly $623 million compared to the funding USAF received for NGAD previously.

Related: B-21 bomber is on time, on budget, US Air Force briefing says

For the B-21 Raider, successor to the B-2 stealth bomber, USAF is requesting $2.87 billion for continued work on the programme. This is an increase of $30 billion on its previous budget request, which will be used to prepare for initial production of the new bomber aircraft.

The service's goal, at present, is to buy at least 145 Raiders in the coming years from prime contractor Northrop Grumman.



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