Navy’s 2019 Budget Proposal Increases Ship, Aircraft Procurement
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald J. Trump has proposed a fiscal 2019 budget for the Department of the Navy of $194.1 billion, including Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, an increase of $12.6 billion (7 percent) over the request for 2018.
The funding, part of the $686 billion budget request for the entire Defense Department — not including $30 billion of defense spending by the Department of Energy and other departments — includes increases in shipbuilding and aircraft procurement and funding of the Marine Corps personnel to the Corps’ desired end strength.
The 2019 Navy budget includes $50.2 billion for military personnel, $63.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $58.5 billion for procurement, $18.6 billion for research and development, and $3.4 billion for infrastructure.
The Navy’s battle force is on track to increase to 299 ships, up from the current 286. Scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2019 are two Virginia-class nuclear-powered attach submarines (SSNs), two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers (DDGs), four Freedom and Independence-class littoral combat ships (LCSs), one amphibious assault ship (LHA), one expeditionary fast transport (T-EPF) and one expeditionary sea base ship (T-ESB). Only one ship, a Los Angeles-class SSN, is slated to be decommissioned in fiscal 2019.
The $21.9 billion ship construction budget — an increase over the $20.4 billion requested for 2018 — funds 10 ships for 2019: two Virginia-class SSNs, one of which will include the Virginia Payload Module; three Arleigh Burke-class DDGs; the 32nd and final LCS; one T-ESB; two John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oilers; and one T-ATS fleet towing, salvage and rescue ship. In addition, the ship construction budget will fund five LCAC 100 ship-to-shore connectors and two LCU 1700 utility landing craft, as well as a service-life extension for one older LCAC.
The three DDGs, part of a 2018 multiyear procurement, will be Flight III variants equipped with the SPY-6 air and missile defense radar, said Rear Adm. Brian E. Luther, the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Budget and director, Fiscal Management Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, speaking to reporters at a Feb. 12 budget briefing. Luther also said the budget funds four cruiser modernizations for the Ticonderoga class.
The Navy’s budget also funds the third increment of detailed design and construction for the third aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford class, the Enterprise (CVN 80). The budget also plans for construction of the first FFG(X) New Guided Missile Frigate and the first of the LX(R) next-generation amphibious ship in 2020.
The Navy plans to fund the procurement of 120 aircraft in 2019, compared with 90 planned for 2018. The $19.1 billion, a significant increase over the $15.1 billion for 2018, includes funding for 20 F-35B and 9 F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters, 24 F/A-18E/F strike fighters, four E-2D Advanced Hawkeye radar warning aircraft, 10 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, two C-40A Clipper transports and two KC-130J aerial refueler/transports.
Three aircraft were added to the P-8A line specifically to increase coverage of the Pacific region, said David Norquist, Defense Department comptroller, in a Feb. 12 briefing to reporters.
The aircraft account also funds rotary-wing aircraft, including 25 AH-1Z Viper gunships, eight CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters, and seven MV-22B and CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Fiscal 2019 will mark the first production procurement of the VH-92A presidential transport helicopter. Also funded are three MQ-4C Triton surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Navy plans to begin funding a new training helicopter in 2020 to begin replacing the TH-57 Sea Ranger. A replacement for the T-44 training aircraft is planned for procurement beginning in 2023.
Research and development funding includes $705 million for the Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine, $292 million for the launch-and-recovery equipment integration and testing for the Gerald R. Ford class carriers, $146 million for improvements in the Virginia-class SSN, $135 million for development of the FFG(X), and $117.9 million and $92.6 million for development of the Orca and Snakehead unmanned underwater vehicles. Also funded is laser weapon system development for $299 million
The Navy plans to procure 750 air- and ship-delivered weapons in 2019 and again in each of four succeeding years. Fiscal 2019 will mark the last procurement to the Navy of the Hellfire missile and the beginning of procurement of its replacement, the Joint Air-Ground Missile. 2020 will mark the initial procurement of the Maritime Strike version of the Tomahawk cruise missile.
In 2019 the Marine Corps plans to procure 1,642 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and the second lot of the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1, for 30 vehicles. The G/ATOR (Ground-Air Task-Oriented Radar) will enter full-rate production in 2019, for six units.
The budget plans for the Marine Corps to reach its desired 186,100 Marine end-strength, up from 185,000. Marine Corps Reserve strength would remain at 38,500 Marines.
The Navy also is to gain 7,500 Sailors for an end-strength of 335,400, many for manning cruisers returning to operations and for more special operations forces. The Navy Reserve would gain 100 Sailors to reach 59,100. The Navy’s civilian work force also will gain 3,187 to reach 212,195 workers, a boon to the maintenance force.
Video of the Department of Defense budget roll out presentation is available at https://www.defense.gov/Videos/videoid/584324/