The U.S. Navy’s fiscal 2015 budget plan maintains funding for air- and missile-defense programs , but delays implementation for some of the platforms , sensors and equipment because of the lingering effects of sequestration and other financial concerns .

The Navy still plans to field its Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air ( NIFC-CA ) Increment I, with the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft , in 2015, but only in four air wings —compared to the six wings proposed in the Navy ’s fiscal 2014 budget.

                                                                       

NIFC-CA Increment I integrates aircraft sensor and ship weapon capabilities , improving lethality against advanced air and missile threats , the Navy says.

“ Fewer air wings with E-2D translates to less assured joint access ,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert , chief of naval operations , told the House Armed Services Committee March 12.

The proposed cut by about 33 airframes for the Lockheed Martin F-35C carrier-based variant of the Joint Strike Fighter also will affect the ability of the carrier wing ( CVW ) to conduct air and missile defense , Greenert argues.

“The F-35C , with its advanced sensors , data-sharing capability , and ability to operate closer to threats , is designed to enhance the CVW ’s ability to find targets and coordinate attacks ,” Greenert says. “The impact of this reduced capacity would manifest itself particularly outside the FYDP [five-year defense plan ], and after F-35C IOC [ initial operating capability ].”

All components of an improved air-to-air kill chain that employs infrared ( IR ) sensors to circumvent adversary radar jamming will be delayed by one year, Greenert says. “The Infrared Search-and-Track [ IRST ] Block I sensor system will field in 2017, versus 2016, and the improved longer-range IRST Block II will not deliver until 2019, versus 2018,” he says.

“ Improvements to the air-to-air radio frequency ( RF ) kill chain that defeats enemy jamming and operates at longer ranges will be slowed, and jamming protection upgrades to the [ Boeing ] F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be delayed to 2019, versus 2018,” Greenert says.