The fiscal year 2024 budget proposal includes a $4.8 billion increase in funding for 20 programs to transform the US Air Force. This list includes the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) and Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) projects.
What is known
As part of the NGAD program, a sixth-generation fighter is being developed to replace the F-22 Raptor. The final product of the CCA project will be a joint unmanned aerial vehicle. The drone will definitely be compatible with the sixth generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, and possibly other manned vehicles.
Funding for the CCA program could be increased to $522 million ($470 million). This will speed up the development and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles. An additional $470 million will be used to develop the drone itself, create the software that will control it, and form a unit to plan how the drone will be used.
A week ago, the US Air Force announced that will ask Congress for funds for 1,000 shared drones – two each for 200 NGAD fighters and 300 F-35 Lightning II fighters. At the same time, the service notes that the final amount may be different.
Funding for the NGAD program in fiscal year 2024 could be increased by $276 billion, in which case it will exceed $1.9 billion. The US Air Force says the need to maintain air supremacy claimed by China. China is also developing a sixth-generation fighter.
The introduction of CCA drones will have a positive impact on the finances of the US Air Force. Drones will be used for reconnaissance, strikes and will cost several times cheaper than manned fighters. Representatives of the US Air Force declare the importance of having a fleet where not all aircraft will cost at the level of the F-35 (from $ 80 million excluding the F135 engine).
Source: Defense News