The Pentagon is seeking to reallocate funds for numerous projects as spending priorities shift within the defense department.
The Pentagon recently requested from Congress that $920 million in funds be redirected to intelligence efforts, including military drone programs. The vast majority of initiatives the money would go toward are unmanned aircraft programs, including the Army’s Extended Range Multi Purpose (ERMP) drone and Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The Defense Department also wants to shift $32.6 million to support procurement of radar units for nine MQ-8B Fire Scouts, which are small unmanned helicopters. The systems will give the MQ-8B a wide area surface search capability. Also, $6 million is requested to be used to procure and install a Fire Scout ground control system on a ship that will support special operations forces. Another $1 million would be used to “develop and integrate an upgrade” Fire Scout and its control system.
“This upgrade extends the Fire Scout’s combat radius, increases its payload, and improves on-station endurance to meet the urgent SOF maritime ISR requirements outlined,” the document states.
The request also asks for $28 million for 60 Scan Eagle drones. Another $89.3 million would go toward installing the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) on two additional RQ-4 Global Hawks. Plus, a $28 million transfer is being sought to buy 60 Scan Eagle drones and $16.2 million is sought to beef up the ERMP drone with “additional capability” for classified programs.
The Pentagon has been shifting its spending priorities to focus more on unmanned fighter drones for surveillance and warfare. Because of this, the drone industry is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
The Pentagon also recently requested $5 billion in transfers primarily to cover costs associated with Libyan airstrikes, as well as unemployment and fuel costs. Due to the Libyan airstrikes, the Pentagon is looking to spend $310 million to buy Tomahawk missiles, $38 million for Joint Direct Attack Munitions, $15 million for general-purpose bombs and $5 million for Hellfire missiles fired from Predator UAVs.