The Navy has sent a special funding request to Congress seeking $2. 2 billion for buying 12 Boeing [BA] F/A-18 Super Hornets and eight Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35C Joint Strike Fighters in the 2016 budget year.
The wishlist, requested separately from the fiscal 2016 budget request, said the additional fighters are needed to fill a potential capability gap that could arise at the end of this decade because existing fighters, namely F/A-18 Hornets, are wearing out.
“Our legacy strike fighters…are reaching end of life faster than planned due to use and wear,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said in a March 13 letter to Congress.
The Navy has said that extending the lives of the Hornets has been complicated by the level of corrosion in the aircraft, as well as budget cuts that slowed work at maintenance depots.
Further, current orders for F/A-18 Super Hornets and sister airframe EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft will only carry Boeing’s production line through 2017, putting it at risk of closure and loss of the capacity.
The Navy had requested zero Super Hornets and Growlers in its formal budget request in February, and sought four F-35Cs, which is the aircraft carrier variant of the jet. Eight F-35Bs were requested for the Marine Corps.
The unfunded priority list also is asking for one additional Northrop Grumman [NOC] unmanned MQ-4C Triton at a cost of $65 million. The Navy requested three in the fiscal 2016 proposal.