Watchdog: Air Force May Spend $300M Per Jet for Next-Gen Fighter Fleet

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office predicts the U.S. Air Force might spend nearly $300M per aircraft for a new fleet of next-generation air superiority jets, Defense News reported Saturday.

The service plans to buy the new Penetrating Counter Air jets to replace its existing F-15C/Ds and F-22s. The CBO said each PCA would cost more than three times that of an average F-35A jet that currently costs nearly $94M. The report states the Air Force needs 414 PCAs to update its aircraft inventory.

“The PCA aircraft would probably have a greater range and payload, as well as improved stealth and sensor capabilities, than today’s F-22,” CBO said. “Those characteristics would help it operate in the presence of the high-end air defenses that DoD believes China, Russia and other potential adversaries may have in the future,” the office added. 

In its fiscal year 2019 budget, the Air Force requested $504M for “next-generation air dominance” and hopes to increase funding to $1.4B in fiscal 2020 and $3.1B by fiscal 2022. The service expects to put the first PCA into service in 2030. 

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