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Drones, Helos and Ships Win in 2015 Budget

The U.S. Defense Department's proposed budget for fiscal 2015 would significantly boost funding for certain types of drones, helicopters and ships.

The spending plan unveiled on March 4 calls for double-digit percentage increases in spending on a handful of acquisition programs for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, particularly for the Navy.

Here are the top five gainers and losers among programs slated to receive at least $1 billion on a year-over-year percentage basis, based on a Military.com analysis of Pentagon budget documents:

Biggest gainers

1. RQ-4 Global Hawk, made by Northrop Grumman Corp.

The Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, also known as the MQ-4C Triton in the Navy and the Alliance Ground Surveillance system in NATO, would receive almost $1.1 billion, an increase of 43 percent from this year. The funding would support the development of Block 30 and Block 40 versions, ground stations and radar technology.

2. DDG-51 Aegis Destroyer, made by General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

The Navy's DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer -- the first type of destroyer with ballistic missile defense technology -- would get nearly $3.1 billion, a rise of 36 percent from this year. The money would buy two of the ships as part of a multi-year procurement for nine vessels. The funding would also help pay for ships starting construction in fiscal 2016.

3. MH-60R Seahawk, made by United Technologies Corp.'s Sikorsky Aircraft

The Navy's MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter would receive almost $1.1 billion, an increase of 32 percent from this year. The funding would help buy 29 helicopters as part of an ongoing multi-year procurement of the aircraft. It includes money for cockpits and avionics upgrades such as airborne low-frequency sonar.

4. CVN-78 Aircraft Carrier, made by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

The Navy's CVN-78 Ford-class nuclear aircraft carrier would get more than $2.1 billion, a boost of 26 percent from this year. The money would fund the third year of construction for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), completion costs for the inaugural ship in the class, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and development of ship systems.

5. Ohio-class Submarine Replacement

The Navy's program to develop a replacement for its Ohio-class nuclear submarines would receive nearly $1.3 billion, a 13 percent increase from this year. The money would fund the research and development of nuclear technologies and system for future ships. The service plans to begin building the ships in 2021.

Biggest losers

1. P-8A Poseidon, made by Boeing Co.

The Navy's P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft would get about $2.4 billion, a 35 percent decrease from this year. The funding would purchase eight of the commercially derived jet aircraft -- down from 16 in fiscal 2014 -- as well as support equipment and spares. Some of the money would also be used to purchase aircraft in fiscal 2016.

2. C-130J Hercules, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Air Force's C-130J Hercules cargo plane would receive $1.4 billion, a 24 percent drop from this year. The money would buy 14 of the four-engine prop planes in fiscal 2015 as part of an multi-year procurement of the aircraft. The plane has been widely used for missions in Afghanistan, from troop transport to cargo delivery.

3. CH-47 Chinook, made by Boeing Co.

The Army's CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopter would get more than $1 billion, a 21 percent slide from this year. The funding would purchase a total of 32 choppers, including 6 new aircraft and 26 rebuilt versions as part of a service life-extension program. It will remain the service's heavy-lift helicopter for decades to come.

4. Global Positioning System, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Air Force's Global Positioning System, or GPS, would receive more than $1 billion, a 16 percent decrease from this year. The funding would purchase another spacecraft, known as GPS III Satellite 9, and put some money toward the next version. The system provides military and civilian access to position, navigation and timing data.

5. Littoral Combat Ship, made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd.

The Navy's Littoral Combat Ship would get almost $2.1 billion, a 13 percent drop from this year. The funding would buy three of the high-speed surface ships and various mission modules. The service is buying two types of the ship in one acquisition effort, and the mission modules in another.

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