The Navy’s shipbuilding and aircraft procurement accounts are getting a boost in the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal.
“The department appreciates the strong support in Congress for naval shipbuilding,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Brian E. Luther told reporters. “New construction totals have increased since last year's plan, with three additional ships added in this request: one DDG 51, one expeditionary sea base and one fleet oiler, for a total of 10 battle force ships in Fiscal Year 19.”
Indeed, the Navy gets a boost throughout the future years defense plan. “Throughout the FYDP, the department added a total of 11 ships in the battle force count,” Luther said. “The department expects to be at 326 ships by Fiscal Year 23, and 355 by the 2050s.”
Recommended: 5 Places World War III Could Start in 2018
Recommended: How North Korea Could Start a War
Some of the most important programs are ballistic missile submarines and Ford-class carriers. “Specific key efforts for this request include continuing the Columbia-class program in its third year of advance procurement, and it remains on schedule for its first deployment,” Luther said. “The USS Enterprise is in its second year of funding, and the delivery date remains September of 2027.”
However, SSNs and the destroyer programs are also continuing apace. “Continued procurement of two of our Virginia-class submarines in the Block V multi-year contract -- all future Virginia-class will have the acoustic superiority upgrade, and the second ship of this year begins incorporation of the Virginia Payload Module,” Luther said. “An increase of one Flight III destroyer in each year of 19, 21, 22, and 23, for a total of four additional DDG 51s in the FYDP. The remaining LCS completes the program and supports the transition to the FFG(X) in Fiscal Year 20.”
Naval aviation is also getting a significant boost. “The department appreciates continuous support by Congress for naval aviation,” Luther said. “All major aviation acquisition programs remain consistent or increase from 18 to 19. There's a net increase of 29 aircraft from the President’s Budget 18 submission.”
Strike fighters are a key feature of the new budget. “In this request, there's an increase of five F-35Cs, 10 F-18s, three P-8s, two C-40s, four 53Ks, one Navy MV-22, and three Zulu Cobras and six presidential helos. There is reduction of one E2D and four STUAS,” Luther said. “Specifically, the F-35 increased four to nine aircraft, as scheduled in the second year of their Block V. The F-18s were increased by 10, for a total of 24, to support a follow-on multi-year procurement, beginning in 19, which will include the Block III upgrade. Additionally, there's an increase of 34 aircraft programs across the FYDP.”
Additionally, Boeing’s Poseidon—which is needed for hunting subs in the Atlantic and Pacific—is also seeing a boost. “The P-8s increased three aircraft in 19, bringing procurement from 7 to 10, and has an additional three aircraft programmed in 20,” Luther said. “An increase of six would complete the program of record at 117 aircraft.”
Overall, the Navy came out ahead in this year’s budget.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest . You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar .