Major DoD program procurement and modernization budget highlights

3WASHINGTON. Funding slated for Department of Defense (DoD) major weapon systems programs for Fiscal Year 2017 totals $183.9 billion. The entire DoD budget request for FY 2017 is $582.7 billion, a $2.4 billion increase over the FY 2016 enacted total.

The funding request includes base funding and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The DoD’s “Program Acquisition Cost by Weapons System” booklet has $112.1 billion for procurement and $71.8 billion for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) of these weapon system programs. Of the $183.9 billion, $72.7 billion is for programs that have been designated as Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs) or Major Automated Information Systems (MAIS). Program highlights from the booklet are below.

For budget information on major helicopter platforms, see our Special Report on helicopter avionics upgrades. For budget information on unmanned aircraft, see the Mil Tech Trends article on UAS safety certification. For other budget insight, see Editor’s Perspective.

Long Range Strike

Long Range Strike (LRS) is intended to counter the post-2020 challenges to DoD’s power-projection capabilities, according to the DoD. The LRS initiatives, collectively termed “Family of Systems” (FoS), will provide a synergistic, more cost-effective force multiplier power-projection capability in the post-2020 threat environment, says the DoD. LRS includes the next-generation and legacy bombers. Current bombers in the Air Force inventory are the B-1, B-2, and B-52 aircraft. The Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) is a new high-tech long range bomber that will eventually replace the Air Force’s aging bomber fleet. The FY 2017 program looks to begin engineering and manufacturing development of the LRS-B and continue modernization of legacy strategic bombers. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 increases from $1.508 billion in FY 2016 to $2.198 billion. (See Figure 1.)

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Figure 1: Air Force officials announced the first images of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB), also known as the B-21. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.
(Click graphic to zoom by 1.9x)

Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the next-generation strike fighter for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and U.S. allies. The F-35 consists of three variants: the F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL), the F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL), and the F-35C Carrier variant (CV). The F-35A CTOL replaces the Air Force F-16 and A-10 and complements the F-22; the F-35B STOVL replaces the Marine Corps AV-8B and F/A-18A/C/D; the F-35C CV complements the F/A-18E/F for the Navy and will also be flown by the Marine Corps. The FY 2017 program aims to continue development of the F135 single-engine propulsion system; conduct systems engineering, development, and operational testing; and support follow-on development. The request procures a total of 63 aircraft: 43 CTOL for the Air Force, 16 STOVL for the Marine Corps, and 4 CV for the Navy in FY 2017. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – drops from $11.602 billion in FY 2016 to $10.504 billion in FY 2017.

P-8A Poseidon

The P–8A Poseidon is a multimission platform designed to replace the P-3C Orion propeller-driven aircraft. The P-8A will carry a new radar array, which is a modernized version of the Raytheon APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System. The FY 2017 program calls for procurement of 11 P-8A aircraft, acquisition of support equipment and spares, and funding for advance procurement for future aircraft. Total funding for the Poseidon program – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 drops from $3.373 billion in FY 2016 to $2.165 billion.

F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor program is a fifth-generation aircraft fighter that penetrates enemy airspace and achieves first-look, first-kill capability against multiple targets. The FY 2017 program calls for continuing the planned modernization for F-22 aircraft via incremental capability upgrades and key reliability and maintainability improvements. It also continues development and testing of advanced air superiority capabilities to include integration of AIM-120D and AIM-9X, additional electronic protection, and improved geolocation. The FY 2017 program also looks to continue fielding of Increment 3.1 advanced Global Strike capabilities such as Small Diameter Bomb I, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Geolocation, and funding to support the 3.2B retrofit in FY 2017. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 increases slightly from $556 million in FY 2016 to $704 million.

KC-46 tanker

The KC-46, an aerial refueling tanker, will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well as U.S. allied aircraft. The first phase of aerial refueling tanker recapitalization will procure 179 aircraft, about one-third of the current KC-135 tanker fleet, according to the DoD. Envisioned KC-Y and KC-Z programs will ultimately recapitalize the entire tanker fleet over a period of more than 30 years. The FY 2017 program continues the development efforts of a militarized variant of the Boeing 767-2C aircraft, the building and integration of military capabilities into four development aircraft, and developmental and operational testing. It continues a third year of low-rate initial production (LRIP), procuring 15 aircraft in FY 2017. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 budget increases from $2.996 billion in FY 2016 to $3.319 billion.

V-22 Osprey

The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft designed to meet the amphibious/vertical assault needs of the Marine Corps, the strike rescue needs of the Navy, and the long-range special operations forces missions for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The FY 2017 program looks to fund the fifth and final year of a follow-on five-year multiyear procurement contract (FY 2013 to 2017) with the procurement of 16 MV-22 aircraft for the Marine Corps. The last year of procurement for the Air Force-SOCOM CV-22 was FY 2014; however, the FY 2016 Appropriations Act added one CV-22 for Air Force attrition reserve. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 decreases slightly from $1.609 billion in FY 2016 to $1.475 billion.

M1A2 Abrams modification

The M1A2 Abrams is the Army’s main battle tank, which first entered service in 1980. It was produced until 1994. Since then, the Army has modernized it with a series of upgrades to improve its capabilities, collectively known as the System Enhancement Package (SEP) and the Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK). Current modifications to the M1 Abrams include Vehicle Health Management and Power Train Improvement & Integration Optimization. FY 2017 funding calls for development of mine-blast survivability improvements and continues Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) 1B (lethality improvements) development. It also aims at continuing to procure hardware for ECP 1A for installation during vehicle recapitalization in FY 2018, as well as many approved modifications to fielded M1A2 Abrams tanks, including the Ammunition (ADL) to enable firing of the Army’s new smart 120 mm ammunition, and the Low Profile Commander’s Remote Operating Weapon Station (CROWS). Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 rises from $509 million in FY 2016 to $559 million.

Paladin

The M109 family of vehicles consists of the M109A6 Paladin 155 mm Howitzer and the Field M992A2 Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV), an armored resupply vehicle. The Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program addresses , , weight, and power concerns and ensures sustainment of the M109 FOV through 2050. The PIM replaces the current M109A6 Paladin and M992A2 FAASV vehicles with a more robust platform, integrating the M2 Bradley common drive train and suspension components, according to the DoD. The PIM fills the capability gap created by cancellation of the Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) (a component of the Future Combat System program) in 2009. The PIM is now in LRIP. The FY 2017 program funds support of final developmental testing and procures 48 PIM systems. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 rises from $426 million in FY 2016 to $636 million.

Stryker

Stryker is a 19-ton wheeled armored vehicle that provides the Army with a family of ten different vehicles. The two basic versions are the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) and the Mobile Gun System (MGS). Existing Strykers are being upgraded with a Double-V Hull (DVH) for improved protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). There are 81 vehicles that are receiving the Stryker Lethality Upgrade funded by the European Assurance Initiative (ERI) in FY 2016. The FY 2017 request funds completion of the fielding of the third DVH Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) and converts 123 Stryker vehicles to the DVH configuration to support the fourth DVH SBCT. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – drops from $1.181 billion in FY 2016 to $727 million in FY 2017.

Amphibious Combat Vehicle

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is a Major Defense Acquisition Program and will replace the aging Amphibious Assault Vehicle. The FY 2017 request calls for funding manufacturing and delivery of 32 Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) test vehicles; and conducts contractor development test activities supporting the ACV Increment 1.1 program. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 drops from $212 million in FY 2016 to $159 million. (See Figure 2.)

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Figure 2: The Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) will replace the aging Amphibious Assault Vehicle. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems, prime contractor on the ACV program.
(Click graphic to zoom by 1.9x)

Littoral Combat Ship

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a small surface combatant capable of operations close to shore. It is designed for operations in three primary anti-access mission areas: surface warfare (SUW) operations, mine warfare (MIW), and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The FY 2017 program looks to fund construction of two LCS seaframes, outfitting, trainers, and other support equipment. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in the FY 2017 budget rises from $1.816 billion in FY 2016 to $1.599 billion.

DDG 51 Arleigh Burke

The DDG 51 class is made up of four separate variants: DDG 51-71 represent the original design, designated Flight I ships, and are being modernized to current capability standards; DDG 72-78 are Flight II ships; DDG 79-123 ships are Flight IIA ships; DDG 124 will become the first Flight III variant. Flight III ships will feature the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) capability. FY 2017 program funding calls for two Flight III DDG 51 AEGIS-class destroyers as part of a multiyear procurement for ten ships from FY 2013 to FY 2017, plus outfitting costs. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 drops from $4.449 billion in FY 2016 to $3.498 billion.

CVN 78 aircraft carrier

The CVN 78 class ships will include new technologies and improvements to improve efficiency and operating costs as well as reduced crew requirements. USS Gerald R. Ford is the first aircraft carrier designed with all-electric utilities, eliminating steam service lines from the ship, thereby reducing maintenance requirements and improving corrosion control. The new A1B reactor, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, advanced arresting gear, and dual-band radar all provide improved capability with reduced personnel. The FY 2017 program looks to fund the fifth year of construction costs for USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), long lead items for USS Enterprise (CVN 80), outfitting and training costs, and continued development of ship systems. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 rises slightly from $2.772 billion in FY 2016 to $2.786 billion.

LHA America amphibious assault ship

USS America (LHA 6)-class ships are large-deck, amphibious assault ships designed to land and support ground forces. This class of vessel can transport a combination of helicopters and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The first two ships, LHA 6 and USS Tripoli LHA 7, are designated as Flight 0 Variants. LHA 8 will be designated the first Flight 1 ship and will reincorporate a well deck for operational flexibility. The FY 2017 program funds construction of LHA 8, outfitting costs, and continuing research and development efforts. Total funding requests – procurement, research, and development – rise significantly, from $498 million in FY 2016 to $1.648 billion in FY 2017.

Ohio Replacement Program

The Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) is designed to replace the current Ohio class of Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN), delivering 12 SSBNs with the necessary capability to counter credible threats through 2080, according to the DoD. The platform is currently in the research and development stage, but the ORP requirements and specifications are being refined. The ships will begin construction in FY 2021 for FY 2028 delivery, when the first Ohio class ships are due to be decommissioned. The FY 2017 program provides funding for advance procurement of long-lead items, detail design, and research and development of nuclear technologies and ship systems such as the propulsion system, combat systems technology, and the common missile compartment. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – for FY 2017 rises from $1.391 billion in FY 2016 to $1.864 billion. A prime contractor has yet to be named.

AEHF System

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system will be a four-satellite constellation of communications in geosynchronous orbit that will replenish the existing EHF system, Military Strategic Tactical Relay (MILSTAR), at a much higher capacity and data-rate capability. AEHF-1, AEHF-2, and AEHF-3 are in orbit and operational, according to the DoD. The launch of AEHF-4 is planned for 2017, while AEHF-5 and AEHF-6 are scheduled to replace AEHF-1 and AEHF-2 at the end of their useful life. The FY 2017 program looks to continue funding for the procurement of the space vehicles AEHF-5 and AEHF-6, along with continuing selected MILSATCOM Space Modernization Initiative (SMI) development activities focused on inserting new technologies to replace obsolete parts and materials and improve capabilities. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 rises from $556 million in FY 2016 to $709 million.

program – GPS III

The DoD’s Global Positioning System (GPS) provides worldwide, 24/7, all-weather 3-D position, navigation, and precise timing information for military and civil users. The GPS III space vehicles will be fully backward-compatible with legacy signals while delivering new capabilities and enhancements to include a new Galileo-compatible (civil) signal, a more powerful M-code (military) signal, and the possibility to on-ramp future capabilities. The GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) will enable operational use of all modernized GPS signals and permit improved position, navigation, and timing (PNT) performance. The FY 2017 request looks to complete GPS III Space Vehicle 01 and 02 for available launch activities, continue development of GPS OCX Blocks 1 and 2, and fund the technology development and lead platform integration of Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 1. The FY 2017 request also funds the GPS Program Office’s responsibility as the Prime Integrator (Enterprise Integration) to synchronize space, control, and user segment programs and manage civil/military specifications and requirements. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 drops slightly from $871 million in FY 2016 to $847 million.

Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)

The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) will field a four-satellite constellation in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and a two-hosted payload constellation in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) with an integrated centralized ground station serving all SBIRS space elements. The SBIRS is the follow-on system to the Defense Support Program (). The GEO payload has a scanning infrared (IR) sensor, which provides a higher revisit rate and increases the sensitivity of DSP, and a staring IR sensor, which provides a higher fidelity and persistent coverage for areas of interest. The HEO payload consists of a single IR sensor and was delivered to the host satellite program in June 2013 and is now in orbit. The GEO-5 and GEO-6 satellites are scheduled to launch as replenishment satellites for GEO-1 and GEO-2 at the end of their useful lives. The GEO-3 satellite will be delivered from storage for launch in September 2017, while SBIRS Flight 4 and the GEO-4 satellite will be moved directly from production for launch this summer as SBIRS Flight 3. The FY 2017 request looks to continue incremental funding for procurement of the space vehicles GEO-5 and GEO-6 to fund ground segment development; it also seeks to continue the Space Modernization Initiative development activities to reduce future production costs by improving insertion of new technologies to replace obsolete parts and materials. Total funding – procurement, research, and development – in FY 2017 drops for SBIRS from $834 million in FY 2016 to $545 million.