By By Pat Host, courtesy Defense Daily | March 5, 2015
On the aviation side, the Army is requesting nearly $4.6 billion for its aircraft portfolio in FY ’16, up 9.6 percent from the nearly $4.2 billion enacted this year. The service is also requesting $820 million in aircraft modifications, down from the $878 million enacted in FY ’15. This funding request notably includes $49 million in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding while the no OCO funds were appropriated last year.
The Army wants to ramp up procurement of remanufactured AH-64 Apache Block IIIA, or AH-64E, helicopters, requesting $1.2 billion in FY ’16, a 63 percent increase from the $716 million enacted in FY ‘15. The service also wants $210 million this year for advance procurement of remanufactured Apache IIIAs, nearly 33 percent more than the $158 million previously allotted. The $1.2 billion would procure 64 AH-64E “Echo” models and associated modifications to the AH-64D fleet.
The Army wants 5.9 percent more funding in FY ’16 for multi-year procurement of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as it requests $1.4 billion, $80 million more than what was enacted in FY ’15. The service also wants $127 million for Black Hawk advanced procurement, $10 million more than enacted last year.
The Army wants roughly $1 billion in FY ’16 for CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter multi-year procurement, up nearly 15 percent from the $892 enacted in FY ’15. The service, however, seeks nearly 3 percent less for Chinook advance procurement, with $99 million requested this year. Congress appropriated $102 million for Chinook advance procurement in FY ’15.
Despite these investments in incremental improvements to existing platforms, the Army makes clear it is facing a tough future if Congress cannot find a way to undo sequestration. In the near term, this budget request “partially mitigates the risk inherent with funding reductions under sequestration levels … and begins to restore funding in modernization that remains near historic lows.” In the longer-term, however, “sequestration in FY16-FY23 dramatically suppresses defense spending without acknowledging the world in which we live.” —By Pat Host, courtesy Defense Daily