The U.S. Air Force has allocated $250 million in its fiscal 2019 budget to equip 20 aircraft types for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) Out position reporting.                                                                       

Responding to a request from Aerospace DAILY, the service provided a line-item breakdown of procurement and research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) money it has allocated to equip fighters, bombers, tankers and the HH-60G helicopters for ADS-B Out, a capability the FAA requires for civil and military aircraft by January 2020. The list does not include the numbers of each type of aircraft to be equipped, but indicates where the Air Force is focusing funding to comply with the mandate.

Among types receiving the highest level of procurement funding, the service has budgeted $36.7 million for older-model F-16C/D block 25/30/32 fighters; $19.5 million (plus $4 million in RDT&E) for the A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support jet; $19.29 million (plus $1.7 million RDT&E) for the T-6 turboprop trainer; $17.3 million for the C-21 twin-engine passenger transport; $15.7 million for the C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet; $11.1 million (plus $6.5 million RDT&E) for the KC-10 Extender tanker, including Mode 5 transponder; and $10.5 million on the T-38 Talon twin-engine jet trainer.

In terms of RDT&E funding, the Air Force has budgeted $36 million (plus $1.9 million for procurement) for the B-52H Stratofortress bomber; $18.1 million for the B-2A Spirit bomber; and $17 million for the B-1B Lancer bomber.

The FAA published the ADS-B Out regulation in May 2010; it requires that aircraft flying above 18,000 ft. or internationally be equipped with GPS and Mode S Extended Squitter (1090 MHz) transponders to regularly signal their position to controllers. Lower-flying airplanes in U.S. domestic airspace must have GPS and 978 MHz universal access transceivers.

As the 2020 deadline nears, the military as well as civilian operators are making gradual progress toward complying with the regulation. In a report it delivered to the NextGen Advisory Committee last month, the FAA estimated that 10.26% of military and government special-use aircraft were ADS-B Out equipped as of March 1.

About 29% to 35% of the U.S. air carrier fleet was equipped, and about 23% to 37% of the general aviation fleet, the FAA estimates. An Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association survey of GA pilots found that 40% had already equipped for ADS-B Out, 40% planned to equip by 2020 and 20% had not decided when to equip.

The FAA and the Defense Department—which operates 13,000 manned aircraft across different services—are negotiating a memorandum of agreement to accommodate military aircraft that will not make the deadline. “The accommodation plan will support the unique operations for those aircraft that will not be able to be equipped with ADS-B Out by Jan. 1, 2020,” the FAA has said. “The accommodation for the Department of Defense’s tactical fleet will not extend to civil aircraft operators.”