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Helicopters Dominate U.S. Army Modernization Dollars

Feb. 12, 2012 - 12:15PM   |  
By KATE BRANNEN   |   Comments
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Aircraft programs once again dominate the U.S. Army’s modernization budget request, according to a Defense Department budget document obtained by Defense News.

The document, which outlines program costs for major weapon systems, shows the Army is requesting $3.6 billion for its top three helicopter programs.

For the AH-64 Apache Longbow Block 3, the Army is requesting a total of $1.2 billion, which includes $71 million in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget. In 2012, the Army requested $758 million. This year’s funding would cover 40 upgrades of older aircraft and 10 new builds. Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are the prime contractors for integration, while Boeing builds the Apache.

The Army is requesting $1.2 billion in base budget funding for the CH-47 Chinook, plus $231 million in OCO dollars. This will fund 25 new build aircraft and 19 service life extension upgrades. Six of the new builds are funded through the OCO budget. In 2012, the Army requested $1.4 billion.

Boeing builds the Chinook.

For the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the Army would like $1.3 billion to buy 59 aircraft. The Army is in the middle of a five-year contract with Sikorsky.

In Afghanistan, the terrain and the problem of roadside bombs have made Army helicopters invaluable to operations.

“There is a tremendous demand for Army rotary-wing aviation,” Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former Army vice chief of, said in a January interview before retiring. “We have not had enough.”

The Army is also asking for $272 million to buy 34 Light Utility Helicopters from EADS North America.

Efforts to develop and buy a battlefield network also eat up a good share of the Army’s modernization dollars.

The Army has requested $1 billion for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), down from its $1.2 billion request in 2012.

This past year the Army canceled the Ground Mobile Radio variant. It has since revised its requirements and is seeking a more affordable radio.

Funding for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) is up by 15 percent from last year, with a total of $1.2 billion in the 2013 request. The money continues procurement of Increment 1 and will also cover buys of WIN-T Increment 2 after an initial operational test is completed this spring.

The document does not outline funding for the Ground Combat Vehicle, as it is still in research and development, but it does say the Army is focused on the infantry vehicle development program. It also notes the Marine Corps is focused on developing its own Marine Personnel Carrier.

The Army and Marines are requesting $117 million for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), an effort to develop a replacement for the Humvee. Of that request, the Army’s portion is $72 million and the Marine Corps is asking for $44.5 million. The engineering and manufacturing development phase begins for JLTV in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012.

The Army is asking for $74 million for the M1 Abrams Tank upgrade, whose prime contractor is General Dynamics.

The service would like $332 million for 58 Stryker Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles (NBCRV), also built by General Dynamics.

For Oshkosh-built trucks, the Army is asking for $58 million to buy 1,534 Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles and $377 million to procure 1,471 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.

The Army is also requesting $86 million for 400 Javelin missiles and $382 million — including $20 million in OCO dollars — to buy 1,794 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

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