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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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US Navy to Begin Expanded Warship Building Program in 2019

More ships

(Photo : US Navy) Construction of the aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy.

The U.S. Navy can only begin its ambitious program to increase its fleet size to over 350 warships by 2019 because it doesn't have the money to do so today.

This because there are no significant differences between the Trump administration's proposed 2018 navy budget and that of the Obama administration. The current navy budget of $71.5 billion won't be used to build more warships and aircraft but to fund warships currently building, according to navy sources.

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The $19.9 billion shipbuilding request is for the same eight ships in the plan a year ago. It will go to building one aircraft carrier; two Virginia-class submarines; two Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers; one littoral combat ship (LCS); one salvage tug and one fleet oiler.

About $15.1 billion has been set aside for naval aircraft and weapons in the 2018 aircraft procurement request. The navy will build four Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter carrier variants compared to the six originally planned.

The funds will build 20 F-35B Marine Corps stealth fighters; 14 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighters and five Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye tactical command and control aircraft.

One additional Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft is added, bringing this fleet to a total of seven. The Marine Corps will still get two Lockheed Martin KC-130J Hercules aerial tankers and four Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters.

The request will build six Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft; three Northrop Grumman MQ-4 Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aircraft and four Boeing Insitu RQ-21A small UAVs.

The $3.4 billion weapons procurement will go to buy 125 RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), or Standard Missile 6 (SM-6), but cuts the number of RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) from 90 to 60 to invest in research and development upgrades to meet emerging threats.

The request for AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles rises to 185 from last year's 150, but the number of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, or AMRAAM, sees a significant cut to 120 from last year's 247. The number of Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles, or AARGM, was also slashed, dropping to 251 from 336. 

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