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Pentagon Budget Requests $2B for Tomahawks, $2.9B for SM-6

February 3, 2016 (Photo Credit: MC1 Woody Shag Paschall, U.S. Navy)

Updated at 6 p.m.; originally published at 3 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s budget submission will contain a request for $2 billion spread over the next five years to purchase 4,000 Tomahawk weapons while funding the development of more advanced capabilities.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter revealed the Tomahawk buy during a Tuesday visit to Naval Air Station, China Lake, California, while also noting that the budget will commit almost $1.5 billion to development of two other advanced weapons. 

Then on Wednesday, the Secretary announced the budget will also include $2.9 billion over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) for the SM-6 interceptor, both to purchase 650 of the weapons and to advance them to become an anti-ship missile for the first time.

Developed by Raytheon, the Tomahawk is a mainstay for ship-based weaponry, but has been restricted to striking at fixed targets. However, company executives revealed last January that Raytheon has invested in a multi-modal seeker that would allow the missiles to hit moving targets.

“We want to diversify the kinds of targets that they can hit, from land attack, which is probably how you first met the Tomahawk many years ago, to an anti-ship version so that we continue to diversify our suite of anti-ship missiles,” Carter said Tuesday. “Again, in the spirit of making everything we have lethal.”

The company estimated last year that that adding a moving target capability would cost about $250,000 for each missile, which already cost $1.1 million each.

While not explicitly mentioning the new Tomahawk sensors, Carter did note that the department is using this fiscal year 2017 budget request to ensure “we’re making investments in weapons and sensors and capabilities.”

Carter previously revealed that the Pentagon will request $1.8 billion in 2017 to buy more than 45,000 precision-guided munitions, which are being expanded at fast rates dues to the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL.

Added to that is “about $927 million over the FYDP” for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, or LRASM, and another $418 million over the FYDP for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) weapon, Carter said.

The secretary indicated that improving lethality to munitions is something of a theme for the budget, adding that the investments represent “big, big, big money for munitions, very important.”

That theme continued with the SM-6 news, giving another Raytheon product a major boost in the budget. 

A Pentagon official told Defense News that the department has successfully modified the SM-6 to be an anti-ship missile, rather than just a ballistic missile defense weapon.

‎‎"This new anti-ship mode makes the SM-6 highly lethal due to its speed and agility and nearly overnight doubles the purpose of every such missile used across our fleet of Aegis destroyers," the official said. "This is an example of what the secretary sees as thinking differently and how through innovation we will continue to improve the unparalleled capabilities of the US Navy."

According to media reports, Carter also pledged that the budget will request funding for nine Virginia-class attack submarines and 10 Aegis destroyers over the next five years. It will also include money to purchase 10 F-35C models for the Navy and 3 F-35B models for the Marines over what had been planned. This occurs as the Air Force is looking to draw down its planned FY17 buy of the F-35A model by five planes, sources told Defense News. 

And in good news for Boeing, Carter said the budget plan also calls for 16 F/A-18 Super Hornets over the FYDP. Boeing has been desperate to keep production flowing on the Super Hornet, produced in its St. Louis facilities. 

Email: amehta@defensenews.com

Twitter: @AaronMehta

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