Winners and losers in the fiscal 2013 budget

It’s been several weeks since the release of the fiscal 2013 defense budget, and heads are certainly still spinning in the Pentagon: Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) gone, Global Hawk Block 30 gone and the Army’s medium-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance program, the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS), also gone. There’s blood on the floor in the chief-of-staff/commandant offices at the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Yet there’s still plenty of good news for all, with the funding flow to improve network operations still very much in evidence.

Here are some of the winners and losers at each of the services:

Army: The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) continues to be the “cornerstone tactical communications system” for the service. Funding in fiscal 2013 is $900 million, and totals $6.1 billion from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017. Fiscal 2013 funding is earmarked for the purchase of net-centric warfare IP modems and low-rate initial production quantities to support test activities.

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There also is funding for something we’ve been writing a lot about in Defense Systems: the modification of Stryker vehicles to incorporate command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems to facilitate mission command-on-the-move.

Air Force: Cyber capabilities take precedence, as the fiscal 2013 budget request for U.S. Cyber Command is $3.4 billion, with planned outlays of $18 billion from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017.

Space activities also remain fully funded, as the service continues to procure Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites, as well as Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for surveillance. A restructuring of the Operationally Responsive Space program is planned to provide “more responsive and timely space capabilities to the warfighter.” Total space funding (which includes launch vehicles, too) is $8 billion in fiscal 2013, and $40.1 billion from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017.

The Air Force will also spend $200 million in FY13 for three NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) systems, which is based on the Block 40 Global Hawk and will perform high-altitude, persistent surveillance.

The Block 30 Global Hawk, however, is being terminated. Expected to replace the U-2 in fiscal 2015, the service now proposes to extend U-2 operations until fiscal 2025, saving $800 million in fiscal 2013, and $2.5 billion from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017.

Also, the Air Force will buy 24 fewer MQ-9 Reaper armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) than originally planned. Money saved will be reinvested in ground stations. The service will also fly the Predator longer than planned, while also protecting funding for the Army’s Gray Eagle.

Navy/Marines: The Navy’s signature UAV program, the Small Tactical Unmanned System, which will also find application with the Navy SEALs, will receive $32 million in FY13, and $300 million in FY13-FY17.

The Medium-Range Maritime Unmanned Aerial System, a proposed vertical takeoff and landing vehicle that had attracted interest from AAI and other vendors, didn’t fare as well, though, and was terminated. Planned as a follow-on to the Navy’s Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the service will instead procure a larger Fire Scout based on a larger Bell Helicopter airframe.

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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