WASHINGTON — The Army is asking Congress to shift $24 million in fiscal year 2018 funding to help pay for a demonstration of a hit-to-kill munition critical to its long-range cannon program, according to a reprogramming request dated June 25 and sent to Capitol Hill.

The request is part of a larger omnibus reprogramming document seeking permission from congressional defense committees to reallocate funding from the current and two previous fiscal years.

The munition is important to the Army’s top priority — Long-Range Precision Fires — because it will be used in the service’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapon system under development.

The reprogrammed funding will allow the Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munitions (C-DAEM) program to move into a competitive demonstration phase in FY20, according to Army budget justification documents.

The C-DAEM effort upgrades the Excalibur airframe with an armored target seeker and will be able to defeat “moving and imprecisely located armored targets at long ranges” and will be fully compatible with the Army’s howitzers as well as ERCA and the M777 Extended-Range version, the reprogramming document notes.

The effort also aims to reduce the cost-per-shot and improve the number of cannon artillery that can be stowed as well as be compliant with the Pentagon’s cluster munition policy.

The reprogramming documents also indicate the munition is a “candidate” for “Multi-Domain Cannon Artillery” that answers a U.S. Army Pacific operational needs statement.

The Army finished an analysis of alternatives in January 2018 that led to a two-increment approach to developing the munition that will replace the 155mm Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions with a DOD-compliant munition that addresses anti-armor and extended-range capability.

The first increment will focus on destroying enemy infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzers and tanks while the second increment will take on the destruction of personnel, materiel, air defense artillery and rocket launchers.

While the increments will be developed simultaneously; FY20 funding will support the competitive demonstrations for Increment I and also the design testing and qualification for Increment II, the FY20 budget books show.

The Army is budgeted to spend $26 million on the program in FY20, but needs the additional $24 million from the FY18 coffer to move forward with the effort.

The Army identified the need for additional dollars for the program as early as spring of 2018, when it submitted a wish list to Congress following the release of the FY19 budget request. The program received $5 million in FY19, but the service indicated in its wish list that another $14 million to test and demonstrate cannon-delivered area effects munitions would be desirable.