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Pentagon Budget Calls for Two Fewer of Lockheed’s F-35 Fighters

The Pentagon’s proposed budget for next year calls for buying 29 of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two fewer than this year’s purchase.

The Defense Department would pay $9.17 billion for the planes, the military’s costliest weapons program, according to a Pentagon budget document released today by the Center for Defense Information, a policy group in Washington.

The budget proposal being sent to Congress today by President Barack Obama includes $178.8 billion to procure weapons programs, including research and development funding.

The number of heavy tactical vehicles to be purchased for the Army would be scaled back from 9,336 this year to 1,534 in fiscal 2013, which begins Oct. 1. That amounts to a savings of $592.3 million.

The budget provides $9.7 billion for ballistic missile defense programs, down from $10.4 billion this year.

The Navy would get $781.7 million for the first year of construction of the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier, to be built by Huntington Ingalls Inc. (HII) of Newport New, Virginia, as part of a plan to preserve a fleet of 11 carriers.

The Navy also would buy another two Virginia-class attack submarines, for $4.26 billion. Submarines are built jointly by General Dynamics Corp. (GD)’s Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut and Huntington Ingalls.

The Pentagon would double the number of Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) RQ-4 Global Hawk drones it buys next year, purchasing six of the unmanned planes for $1.25 billion, up from three drones this year.

The budget also provides $1.96 billion to buy 21 of the V-22 Ospreys, a tilt-rotor aircraft that flies like a plane and takes off like a helicopter. That is 14 fewer aircraft than were purchased this year. The V-22 is made by Boeing Company (BA) and the Bell Helicopter unit of Textron Inc. (TXT)

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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