Photo: US Army
Feb 13, 2012 By Paul McLeary - AviationWeek.com
WASHINGTON - Bottom line up front on the U.S. Army’s fiscal 2013 budget request: Communications and rotary-wing aircraft win, most new ground vehicles live to fight another day, and the service’s modernization plans look pretty secure.
While the service is being forced to trim about 80,000 soldiers over the next five years, it is still investing in upgrades to existing platforms. In fiscal 2013, the Army plans to spend about $3.6 billion on its top three rotary-wing aviation programs and $10.6 billion on ground vehicle programs, the Defense Department announced Feb. 13.
The service is requesting $1.2 billion — including $71 million in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding — for Boeing’s AH-64 Apache Longbow Block 3. That cash is slated to pay for the upgrade of 40 aircraft and 10 new builds. The work, and the increase in funding from last year’s $758 million, should not only make Boeing happy but Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin as well, as the two giants are the prime contractors for integration
The Army is requesting $1.2 billion for Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook — all in the base budget — along with another $231 million in OCO funding to cover 25 new aircraft and 19 more upgrades. (The OCO money will cover six new builds.)
The service also is asking for $1.3 billion to buy 59 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, and $272 million for 34 more Light Utility Helicopters made by EADS North America.
All of that OCO money adds up to $302 million in new builds and upgrades that the Army is not able to fit in its base budget request.
Spending on ground vehicles is more of a mixed bag. Overall, it is tapped to fall to $10.9 billion in this year’s request from $16 billion in fiscal 2012, a 32% plunge.
While there has been plenty of uncertainty over the Army’s three big ground-vehicle initiatives over the past year, only one — the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) – shows up in today’s budget documents. The Army is asking for $117 million to continue developing the platform with the Marine Corps, a drop from the fiscal 2012 request for $134 million
A request for proposals for the JLTV’s engineering and manufacturing development phase was released earlier this month, with the phase set to begin in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Three teams remain in competition for the program: BAE Systems/Navistar, the General Tactical Vehicles team of General Dynamics Land Systems and AM General, and Lockheed Martin.
While the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) is mentioned in the documents, no funding is yet listed as it is still in research and development. The last truck, the controversial Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle, or Humvee Recap, was cut earlier this year in favor of the JLTV. The GCV is going to take at least a $1.7 billion hit in its funding this year due to the protest that was filed by the Science Applications International Corp. over not being awarded a technology development contract.
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