Former A-10 pilot Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said in a statement this week that without accelerated funding for A-10 wing replacements, USAF would be forced to ground some A-10s until new wings become available. USAF photo by Munnaf Joarder.
Congress on Friday released details of compromise defense appropriations language for Fiscal 2019, which includes $674.4 billion for defense spending—a figure consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act.
The House and Senate are likely to consider the measure in coming weeks.
The package also includes a short-term continuing resolution aimed at keeping the government operating until President Trump signs all the annual appropriations bills.
According to a Senate Appropriations Committee release on the bill, the $674.4 billion is an increase of $19.8 billion from the Fiscal 2018 enacted level, and includes $43 billion for military aircraft procurement—$4.8 billion more than the President’s budget request. Of that, $1.7 billion will fund 16 additional F-35s, including eight more F-35As; $640 million for eight additional Air National Guard C-130Js; and $100 million for the Light Attack Aircraft program. The bill also includes $10.3 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, including $1.1 billion in funding not requested by the Trump administration.
The conference report included an additional $65 million for A-10 rewinging, an initiative supported by former A-10 pilot Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). In a statement issued earlier this week, she said that without accelerated funding for A-10 wing replacements, the Air Force would be forced to ground some A-10s until new wings become available.
“Our combatant commanders and the ground troops that depend on the Warthog’s unique, life-saving mission capabilities cannot afford this delay,” she said.