The U.S. Air Force’s $2.3 billion fiscal 2024 request for Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) includes $392 million associated with Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA)–figures that indicate that almost 17 percent of the NGAD fiscal 2024 request is for CCA.
The Air Force’s March 13 fiscal 2024 budget overview lists a request of $522 million for CCA. The remaining $130 million for CCA outside of NGAD may be mostly attached to the service’s “autonomous collaborative platforms” research and development effort, begun last year, which was a continuation of work under the Skyborg Vanguard program. The “autonomous collaborative platforms” program is to move mature autonomous drones, including the Kratos [KTOS] XQ-58A Valkyrie, into the prototype phase.
The Air Force requested nearly $119 million for “Autonomous Collaborative Platforms” in fiscal 2024, a $67 million increase from last year’s appropriated amount.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced last week that the Air Force’s fiscal 2024 budget would contain plans for 1,000 CCAs to be used by the Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35 and the service’s future manned NGAD fighter, but the service’s March 13 unclassified fiscal 2024 budget documents contain scant reference to CCA.
Kendall said that he could not divulge breakouts of the requested fiscal 2024 CCA funding, as to do so would venture into the classified realm.
CCA is among the programs that account for a requested $4 billion boost in the Department of the Air Force’s research and development accounts compared to last year’s appropriation. The department received $61.7 billion for research and development last year, including $16.6 billion for the U.S. Space Force, and asked for more than $65.6 billion this year, including nearly $19.2 billion for the Space Force.
The Air Force’s fiscal 2024 budget request of $2.3 billion for NGAD is about $600 million more than the nearly $1.7 billion appropriated by Congress last year.