Meanwhile, the Marine Corps
wants $1.1 billion to buy six additional F-35Bs, which makes up
nearly half of the service’s $2.2 billion unfunded wish list.
“These programs contained on
the list would further enhance our
combat readiness and effectiveness
should additional funds above
those already requested in the
Fiscal Year 2016 President’s Budget
be made available,” Marine Corps
Commandant Gen Joseph F. Dun-
ford wrote in a letter to key law-
The catch, however, is whether
additional funds actually become
available. Defense Secretary Ashton
B. Carter already has made it clear
to lawmakers that he does not want
them to pay for programs on the so-called “unfunded requirements list”
at the expense of items already in
the budget request.
“We have made extensive efforts
to thoroughly assess, prioritize and
balance force capacity, capability
and readiness in the development of
PB [Pentagon budget] 2016,” Carter
wrote in a March 27 letter that
accompanied the services’ wish lists.
“Any extra program inserted into
our budget submission will come at
the expense of other programs we
deemed more important, with ripple
effects across the rest of the budget.”
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 6 SEAPOWER / MAY 2015
Advanced Fighter Aircraft Top Navy,
Marine Corps Unfunded Wish Lists
The Navy and Marine Corps have made it clear to lawmakers that — if money were no object —
they would prioritize funding for advanced fighter jets
over just about anything else.
In their annual budgetary wish lists sent to lawmak-
ers in late March, the two services detailed nearly $5 bil-
lion in needed items that did not make their budget cut.
Of those wished-for dollars, more than $3 billion would
be spent on F/A-18F Super Hornets and F- 35 Lightning
II joint strike fighters. Specifically, the Navy said it
would like $1.2 billion to buy 12 additional Super
Hornets, stressing that the shortfall in the service’s cur-
rent strike fighter fleet is “barely manageable.”
The additional Super Hornets, Chief of Naval
Operations ADM Jonathan W. Greenert wrote in a let-
ter to lawmakers, would “reduce near-term strike
fighter inventory gaps and risk.” He also stressed that
the fighters ultimately could be reconfigured into EA-
18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, giving the serv-
ice flexibility in managing its future fleet.
But while Navy officials want to manage the near-term demands on the fighter fleet, they also want to
ensure that the service procures the fifth-generation F-
35 as quickly as possible. As such, they want an additional $1 billion next year to buy eight more F-35Cs,
restoring some of the aircraft that were cut because of
stringent budget caps.
An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Red Rippers of
Strike Fighter Attack Squadron 11 performs an air refueling
with an EA-18G Growler assigned to the Rooks of
Electronic Attack Squadron 137 March 22 during an air-power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Atlantic. In its budget wish
list, the Navy said it would like $1.2 billion to buy 12 additional Super Hornets. Appropriators added $1.5 billion in fiscal 2015 to buy 15 Growlers that were not requested.