Following the signing of a $1.3 trillion budget for this fiscal year top Pentagon contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing will emerge as the biggest beneficiaries since military spending has been increased. This fiscal year approximately $654.6 billion has been earmarked for the military and this is $61.1 billion more compared to last year’s budget. This comes at a time when global tensions are rising.
The budget legislation was passed by the House mid last week while the Senate passed it towards the end of the week. Though President Donald Trump had threatened to veto it he signed the legislation on national security grounds.
In the budget $11.5 billion will be allocated to missile defense and this will be a $3.3 billion increase from last year. It is also higher than what the Missile Defense Agency had requested – $9.5 billion. The figure is also inclusive of $2 billion that had been appropriated last year in December following a special supplementary budget agreement.
About $393 million will be used by the Missile Defense Agency to accelerate the modernization of a kill vehicle located in Fort Greely, Alaska. The work is being carried out by Boeing. The proposed budget also gave approval for the purchase of Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets numbering 24. The Navy had requested for 14 of them.
While the U.S Air Force had requested 15 Boeing KC-46 tankers, Congress approved the purchase of 18. The Army has on the other hand been allocated $577 million to purchase Boeing Ah-64E Apache choppers numbering 17 while the Navy will receive $501 million for an additional Boeing P-8 surveillance aircraft.
With regards to Lockheed Martin, approximately $2.9 billion was approved for the purchase of 20 additional F-35s and this means the total number that has been acquired this year is 90 planes. The U.S. Air Force had requested a total of 60 F-35s but will instead get 56. Some of the major F-35s subcontractors include Pratt & Whitney which manufactures the engine and Northrop.
Amounts of around $165 million have also been allocated for the purchase of high altitude defense interceptors made by Lockheed Martin. Another $178 million has also been approved for the purchase of SM-3 interceptors which are manufactured by Raytheon.
The budget has also approved the purchase of 12 Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules airplanes that are meant Air National Guard. The Army National Guard will also get $108 million to buy Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk choppers numbering eight.