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Pentagon eyes $154B for new weapons

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The U.S. Department of Defense plans to spend $154 billion to develop and buy aircraft, missiles, satellites, ships and other weapon systems next year, a $1 billion cut from this year due to budget constraints, Pentagon officials announced March 4.

The F-35, a stealthy fighter jet under development for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, will receive the largest share: $8.3 billion. Other major items include $6.3 billion for Navy Virginia-class submarines, $3 billion for Navy Aegis guided-missile destroyers, $2.4 billion for Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft, and $2.4 billion for Navy P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft.

Other highlights include the retirement of three aging aircraft: the Army’s Kiowa Warrior helicopter and the Air Force’s A-10 close-air-support jet and U-2 reconnaissance plane. Development of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) is canceled due to weight problems.

The weapon systems plan is part of the department’s overall $496-billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins Oct. 1. The budget request now heads to Congress for its consideration.

The Aerospace Industries Association, an industry advocacy group, urged Congress to add funding for weapon systems, saying $154 billion is "far less than what we need to maintain technological superiority."

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