he F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of Joint Strike Fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.
As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.
The Air Force also plans buy between 80 and 100 Long Range Strike-Bombers for up to $100 billion. The new bomber will replace the Air Force’s fleet of B-1s and B-52s.
In order to pay for the bomber, the Air Force will likely have to reduce the number of F-35s and other procurement programs, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the Teal Group.