If the Army and Marine Corps expansion creates mostly new combat brigades, the Air Force will need about 35 more strategic airlifters and 1,000 battlefield airmen to go with them, Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley said yesterday. Meeting with reporters at the Pentagon, Moseley said the numbers were developed by Gen. Duncan McNabb, head of Air Mobility Command, and Gen. Ronald Keys, head of Air Combat Command. If, however, the ground force growth occurs mainly in support units, the effect on Air Force requirements could be much smaller, or even nothing at all. The Army, Moseley said, is still working out just how it will add 65,000 troops. The Marine Corps is to swell by 27,000 people. Moseley said he hopes to have a plan from the two land forces by the end of summer so USAF can formulate its own budget strategy. Right now, there’s no money in the budget for either more airlift or more battlefield airmen. Thirty-five more C-17s would cost upwards of $7 billion, and the thousand extra airmen would cost at least $100 million per year.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.