As has become the norm for the Congressional committees who set policy and spending for the Pentagon, every piece of legislation becomes an opportunity to lard up the F-35 inventory with more than the military services requested.
You can review this TCS chart about the President’s request for F-35s in FY21. And then we’ll give you the highlights of the increases the SASC wants to press on the services.
- Air Force requested 48 airframes, this draft legislation would give them 60
- Marine Corps requested 10 airframes; this draft legislation would give them 12
- Navy requested 21 airframes; this draft legislation would give them 23
And, yes, the Air Force and Navy requested more airframes on their Unfunded Priorities Lists. But keep in mind the Commandant of the Marine Corps recently released his new strategy document which included this line, “The Marine Corps will reduce the Primary Aircraft Authorized per squadron of F-35B and C aircraft from 16 to 10.” And the Marine Corps UPL didn’t ask for more either.
So, even though the Commandant says he can do with fewer, the Senate Armed Services Committee disagrees. And this is one reason why Pentagon spending is out of control.