Ukraine crisis – Defense24.pl special report
Air-to-air refueling capability is essential for the US Air Force, supporting all branches of the armed forces. This is reflected in many places in the draft budget for 2023. Perhaps most important, however, is the procurement plan the first four MQ-25A Stingray series unmanned tankersfor which more than $740 million. These machines will take off from aircraft carriers and support aircraft carrier combat groups. Over the next few years – until fiscal year 2027 – four of these systems are expected to be purchased each year. Eventually, they will be 49. The “complement” will be five tankers KC-130Jused by US Marines.
In turn, the Air Force wants to continue acquiring tankers of the type KC-46Aonly 15 of them are to be purchased in FY2023, while 13 much older ones are to be retired KC-135The recall process for KC-10 machines will also be continued. Work will also continue on the KC-Y program, aimed at introducing the next generation of tankers (KC-46A has been selected in the KC-X program, KC-Z is to be a new forward-looking refueling system, possibly based on UAV Vehicles).
Recognition, supervision and maintenance
Another key area of US air operations is reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence. It also connects here investments in new capacities with discounts. And yes, the US Navy must receive three new MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehiclesand sailors five MQ-9 Reaper kits. In turn, the Air Force wants to transfer about 100 out of 300 belonging to aircraft of this type by “another government agency”. This type of action is often used in connection with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which also operates its MQ-9 fleet with at least some cooperation with the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NASA also have different Reaper variants. Other US government agencies could potentially be interested in these unmanned aerial vehicles to support various missions.
Reminder plans are also for that 15 out of 31 AWACS machines (their successor has already been chosen, it will be the E-7 Wedgetail) and eight E-8C JSTARS. Both types of aircraft are widely used on NATO’s eastern flank, with AWACS for airspace surveillance and Joint STARS for radar observation of troop movements on the ground. However, you must remember that all these machines are based on Boeing 707s and are very worn. However, it cannot be ruled out that the planned withdrawal of some of them will encounter opposition from Congress due to operational needs linked to the war in Ukraine. As for gear early warningfive more E-2D AvdanceHawkeye will receive Navy
When we talk about procurement by the US Department of Defense, we cannot forget helicopter aviation. The Air Force plans to purchase 10 HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search and rescue machines, but their target numbers will be reduced from 112 to 75. There are also plans to resume funding for the HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search and rescue machine. MH-139 Gray Wolf helicopters, which be used, among other things, to protect Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Minuteman III bases. The USAF suspended purchases of these helicopters in fiscal year 2022 due to Federal Aviation Administration certification issues.
Quite large purchases of helicopters are also planned by the US military – they will receive 35 Apache Guardian AH-64E machines (most of them will probably be built by rebuilding existing helicopters), as well as 53 new UH-60M machines Black Hawk. The acquisition of heavy CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the marines (there will be 10) must also continue, and the Navy also wishes to purchase 26 TH-73A training helicopters (Leonardo AW119 variant). This is interesting because the Air Force for training also uses a “European” structure, namely the UH-72 Lakota, based on the Airbus Helicopters H145.
In the draft budget for 2023, the Pentagon wants to continue the process of fairly decisive investment in next-generation platforms, while reducing existing ones. The extent to which such an approach will be accepted by Congress is not a foregone conclusion, for example, given the greater operational requirements associated with the war in Ukraine. On the other hand, it should be noted that the transfer by the Americans of equipment still meeting the requirements of the battlefield (such as the F-15, F-16, or even certain tanker aircraft) may be an opportunity for other countries to buy second-hand aircraft, increasing their capabilities in the short term. .
Cooperation Jakub Palowski