By Debbie Gregory.
Congress asks for unfunded lists from each service on an annual basis. The documents help guide lawmakers as they work through the budget requests and form policy and spending bills. The Air Force’s $10.7 billion unfunded priorities “wish list” submitted to Capitol Hill last month is heavy on research and development, but it also includes buying more aircraft , specifically F-35s and KC-46s.
Some $70 million would be earmarked to develop a “high power microwave weapon capable of multi-shot, multi-target ability to knock out digital electronic systems with low or no collateral damage and within anti-access area-denial environments.” A hypersonic prototype “to accelerate a Time Sensitive Target Engagement” also made the list.
The service has also planned $8 million for a light attack aircraft. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, as well as other top officials have endorsed the flight demo as a way to test whether a buy of inexpensive aircraft can help the force better meet readiness challenges.
The Air Force included 14 F-35A joint strike, three KC-46As, 12 MC-130Js, as well as one additional HC-130.
The EC-130H Compass Call program is based on an electronic attack aircraft, the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules. The aircraft is heavily modified to disrupt enemy command and control communications, perform offensive counter-information operations, and do other kinds of electronic attack. To keep the Compass Call program on track, the Air Force would need an additional $284.6 million for a number of initiatives. About $30 million would go to extend the life of the current EC-130H aircraft because the replacement program lags behind schedule.
The wish list also includes $131.6 million for various modifications for fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jets.
The wish list included $360 million for nuclear deterrence operations, with nuclear command, control and communications emerging as a priority, and $563 million for cyberspace needs.