The Air Force is requesting more munitions for use in a future battle against peer adversaries and shifting away from weapons used in counter-terrorism activities, senior service officials said this week.
The fiscal year 2020 presidential base budget request includes over $2 billion for Air Force missile procurement and over $1.6 billion for new ammunition. The service is also requesting an additional $202 million for munitions and $939 million in ammo in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funds.
The budget request, released March 12, “begins to transition our munitions priorities from the counter-[violent extremism operations] fight to the high-end fight,” said Air Force Deputy for Budget Carolyn Gleason during the service’s budget briefing Tuesday.
The Air Force is “placing greater emphasis” on buying more of Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and Raytheon’s [RTN] Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), “both of which are critical to defeating threats in a highly contested environment,” Gleason said.
The FY ’20 budget requests 430 new JASSM-ER weapons for nearly $582 million, with 411 of those missiles being funded in the base budget and the rest via OCO funds. The request includes $78.5 million in research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds for JASSM-ER.
The Air Force is seeking $651.2 million for 389 AMRAAMs, with 169 of those units in OCO funding, along with $55.4 million in RDT&E funds for AMRAAM product improvements including fuzing, guidance and kinematics. The service also requests over $160 million to procure 355 Raytheon-made Air Intercept Missile-9X Sidewinders and $10.3 million in RDT&E funds to address obsolescence issues.
During this shift from the counterterrorism fight to combating peer adversaries, the Air Force aims to replenish stockpiles of Boeing [BA]- and Raytheon-made small diameter bombs, procuring over 8,200 missiles. The FY ’20 budget included over 3,800 new Lockheed Martin-produced Hellfire air-to-ground missiles in the budget request, with over 2,300 units to be paid for with OCO funds.
The Air Force also requested over $1 billion in OCO funds for 37,0000 Boeing-made Joint Direct
Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to convert unguided gravity bombs into precision guided munitions.
The service is committed to growing its munitions stockpiles and keeping the manufacturing base in business, said Air Force Maj. Gen. David Krumm, director of strategic plans, in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements on March 14.
The service has learned “through some bumps and bruises … that a steady commitment to procurement when it comes to munitions is the best way to preserve our industrial base and our capacities that we may need to accelerate in terms of high usage if we go to war,” he said at the Air Force Association in Arlington, Virginia.
“A company can’t afford to keep people standing around not building anything, and so we’ve got to project our path a little bit better,” he said.