THE PENTAGON — Shipbuilding and aviation procurement received modest bumps in the $194.1-billion Defense Department budget request for the Navy and the Marine Corps, according to Monday’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget submission to Congress.
Billed as increasing the capacity of the Navy and Marine Corps while filling the readiness gaps that the FY 2018 budget began to repair, the FY 2019 budget requests $21.9 billion for shipbuilding compared to $20.4 billion requested in FY 2018 — a 7.4-percent increase. That request includes funding for 10 new ships and $3 billion in advanced procurement for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.
The request includes $7.17 billion the first two Virginia-class Block V attack boats that will include the Virginia Payload Module, the planned replacement for the capacity of the Navy’s four Ohio-class nuclear guided-missile submarines. The budget also includes $5.6 billion for three Arleigh Burke-class Flight III guided-missile destroyers that will be part of a five-year buy between two shipbuilders.
The budget also marks the last procurement of the Littoral Combat Ship, with a single hull funded in the request for $646 million. The budget also includes funding for two John Lewis-class TAO-205 fleet oilers for $1.05 billion.
Aviation accounts have seen a 28-percent increase over the FY 2018 request to $19 billion, for a total of 120 aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps.
The combat aircraft include nine carrier-variant Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, 20 Marine Corps-variant F-35Bs, 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters and 25 Bell AH-1Z Viper Marine Corps attack helicopters.
Other aircraft in the request include 10 Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft, two KC-130J Marine transport airplanes, and four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft.
According to out-year projections within the budget request, the Navy won’t buy its first four MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles until FY 2023.
The Navy and Marines requested $63.4 billion for operations and maintenance that includes $18.3 billion for ships and $11.4 billion for aviation operations.
The Department of the Navy is requesting $49.7 billion for personnel. The Navy is looking for a bump in end strength of 8,000 active duty sailors over last year’s request to grow the service to 335,400 sailors. The Marine Corps is looking for 1,100 more Marines as part of their request to grow to 186,100.