U.S. Army Seeks $2 Billion Boost for Modernization Priorities

The U.S. Army has requested $10.6 billion for its six modernization priorities in the fiscal year 2021 budget request released Monday. This is a $2 billion jump from this fiscal year’s enacted budget of $8.5 billion.

According to the Army, the funding will help continue to develop hypersonic missiles, future aircraft and combat vehicles.

The Army’s six modernization priorities are:

Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF)

The mission of the LRPF Missile is to attack, neutralize, suppress and destroy targets using missile-delivered indirect precision fires to a range farther than 300 km.

LRPF provides field artillery units with long-range and deep-strike capability while supporting brigade, division, corps, Army, theater, Joint and Coalition forces and Marine Corps air-to-ground task forces in full, limited or expeditionary operations. The LRPF will replace the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) capability, which is impacted by the age of the ATACMS inventory and the cluster munition policy that removes all M39 and M39A1 ATACMS from the inventory after 2018.

The Army expects to field its first hypersonic unit and fire test shots in fiscal 2022, followed by fielding combat rounds in fiscal 2023.

In the 2021 budget request, the LRPF program will receive $1.7 billion, if the budget is approved as is. Within it, $800 million would fund a long-range hypersonic missile program that aims to fill a critical capability gap against anti-access/aerial denial (A2/AD) capabilities, according to budget documents.

Future Vertical Lift (FVL)

The Future Vertical Lift (FVL) is a family of vertical lift solutions that will deliver next-generation capabilities at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. FVL platforms and technologies increase maneuverability, endurance, lethality, and survivability of Army aircraft – increasing their operational reach and effectiveness against near-peer competitors.

In the FVL portfolio, the Army requested $514 million to complete the final design phase of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), a replacement for the AH-64 Apache and retired OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV)

The Next generation combat vehicles increase the firepower, speed, and survivability of land forces, allowing them to maneuver into superior positions on the battlefield and pair with robotic vehicles.

Under the NGCV priority, $328 million is set aside to fund the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) that will replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV). Last month, the Army canceled its solicitation for a rapid prototype and plans to solicit it again to gain more interest from the industry in order to build a better vehicle. The service issued a market survey on Feb. 7, formally marking the official “restart” of the program.

An additional $135 million is slated for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle (Light Tank) that will fund rapid prototyping efforts ahead of limited-user testing in fiscal 2022.

Air & Missile Defense

New air and missile defense technologies will defend ground forces against adversary air threats, and will also defend infrastructure against a host of air and missile threats.

The air and missile defense priority is allotted $376 million for lower tier air missile defense sensors (LTAMDS) that provide detection capabilities for the Patriot missile system. Another $236 million will fund increment 2 of the indirect fire protection capability (IFPC Inc 2), a mobile, ground-based weapon system designed to defeat unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), cruise missiles and rockets, artillery and mortars (Counter-RAM, C-RAM).

The Network

The modernization of Army network technologies is necessary to command and control forces distributed across vast terrain, converge effects from multiple domains, and maintain a common situational understanding in Muti-Domain Operations (MDO).

Soldier Lethality

Finally, efforts modernizing Soldier lethality will increase the capability of individual Soldier weapons, provide Soldiers with enhanced night vision, and increase their ability to quickly understand and react to emerging situations – increasing their lethality, precision, and survivability. These efforts will be complementary to ongoing Soldier performance initiatives to improve fitness, nutrition, and resiliency, to ensure we are modernizing the Soldier, not just the equipment for our Soldiers.

U.S. Army 2021 Budget Request

The total Army budget proposal is $178 billion, about $2 billion less than this fiscal year’s enacted budget. Within it, the procurement budget request is $24 billion, about $1 billion less than this year.

To help fund the Army’s priorities, the proposed budget realigned $2.4 billion from lower priority programs. As part of the “night court” process that shifted funds to modernization efforts, the Army eliminated 41 programs and reduced or delayed 39 programs not tied to modernization or the National Defense Strategy across the fiscal 2021-2025 budget plan.

Some of the new equipment to be procured includes $906 million for over 40,000 Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems (IVAS), a heads-up display designed to increase situational awareness in combat and for training.

The request also aims to accelerate the modernization of Stryker brigade combat teams with nearly $850 million for upgrades, including the exchange of over 154 flat-bottom hull vehicles to double V-hull vehicles. Another $1 billion is also planned to upgrade about 89 M1 Abrams tanks, and nearly $500 million will convert over 73 Bradley vehicles into a new configuration.

The Army’s fiscal 2021 budget request now awaits approval from Congress.

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