WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVEC) -- The $716 billion Fiscal Year 2019 defense budget seeks 24 Super Hornet fighter jets, instead of the previously called for number of 14, making it the largest request for that warplane since 2012.
Before President Trump even took office, he promoted the Super Hornet as a less costly alternative to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Additionally, the Navy has submitted a request to increase from two to three new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, each built with ballistic missile defense capability. Overall the fleet would grow by ten ships total.
On ship repair, which is identified as a readiness priority, the budget calls for conducting scheduled maintenance, and reducing backlogs.
On manpower, the Navy would go from 318,000 active duty personnel today to 335,000. Active duty members would get a 2.6 percent pay raise, the largest in 9 years.
"We think this strikes an appropriate balance between security and solvency," said Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Brian E. Luther said his branch would be good stewards of taxpayers' dollars.
"This department is grateful for the increased funding and has worked diligently on this request to ensure the funding provides and protects the gains of '18 amd creates a balanced war-fighting force with the capabilities needed for the fight and the capacity to win the fight," he said.
Rear Admiral Luther said under this plan the Navy would be on track to reach 355 ships "by the early 2050's."
Second District Congressman Scott Taylor is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He's sees the defense budget as a win-win.
"It's good news for national security and defense, it's good news economically for this area, so I'm very pleased with it," he said. "So I think it dos send a signal that hey, listen, we understand there's deficiencies in maintenance, training and readiness, and we're going to do something about it."
Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine of Virginia praises the defense portion of the budget deal, saying it, "is good for the country and good for Virginia."