R&D Boosts for Demos

Spending on research, development, test, and evaluation activities gets about a 10 percent increase in the Air Force’s Fiscal 2016 budget request compared to Fiscal 2015 levels. Most categories, such as basic and applied research, would remain flat versus the enacted Fiscal 2015 budget, but two areas seeing growth would be demonstration/validation—up from $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion—and operational system development, up from $7.6 billion to $8.5 billion. The Long-Range Strike Bomber would get an increase from $916 million to $1.25 billion; the Air Force anticipates selecting the LRS-B contractor in the spring. New adaptive engine funding is distributed across many sub-accounts in RDT&E and there is seed money for the recapitalization of the JSTARS fleet. Combat Rescue Helicopter funding would grow from $100 million in Fiscal 2015 to $156 million. Science and technology overall gets a boost from $2.28 billion to $2.38 billion. Maj. Gen. James Martin, Air Force budget director, said at the service’s budget rollout briefing on Monday there is not yet a sixth generation fighter program in the Air Force’s budget, but that research supporting such a system is “scattered” among various accounts. “It’s a concept, not a platform” at this point, he said. (See Air Force Fiscal 2016 Budget Overview and Air Force Fiscal 2016 Budget Rollout Briefing slides; caution, both are large-sized files.)