DOD to up request of F-35 jets

The Pentagon will request funding for 57 F-35 stealth fighter jets — two more than previously planned.

The request, reported by Bloomberg, is expected to be included in the Pentagon's fiscal 2016 defense budget submission to Congress on Feb. 2.

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If approved by Congress, the plans would mark a significant increase of F-35 purchases from the current year. The Pentagon requested 34 jets for 2015, which Congress increased to 38, Bloomberg reported.

The F-35 program, at nearly $400 billion, is the Pentagon's costliest weapon systems in history.

The cost of the planned request was not immediately available, but the projected cost of 55 F-35s was $9 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The Air Force would receive 44 F-35s, the Marine Corps would receive nine and the Navy would receive four.

The request to increase the number of F-35 purchases comes at a time of heavy budget constraints. The Department faces cuts of nearly $50 billion per year for nearly a decade under sequestration.

The Pentagon plans to submit a budget of $534 billion on Feb. 2 — $34 billion over the budget allowed under the sequestration.

If Congress does not lift the cuts for 2016, every Pentagon account will be cut by about 10 percent, except for personnel costs.