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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Funding: Procurement Slated to Fall, R&D to Rise

DSJ has reviewed closely the Obama Administration’s just-submitted Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Defense budget request and we've extracted below those items pertaining to the major Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) and Procurement programs.  These numbers are below.

                                                                                     $ million
UAS Procurement Program            FY13                FY14            FY15 (request)

MQ-1 Gray Eagle (Army)                  376.857         437.143            190.581

MQ-1 Predator (SOCOM)                   24.658             2.122                 --

MQ-4 Triton (Navy)                              47.2                      --                37.445

MQ-8 Fire Scout (Navy)                    110.401          74.080              40.663

MQ-8 Fire Scout (SOCOM)                  7.614              --                   --

MQ-9 Reaper (SOCOM)                     35.739           12.892             15.651

MQ-9 Reaper (USAF)                       681.530        349.217           240.218

MQ-9 Reaper Mods (USAF)            177.471          62.970           155.445

RQ-11 Raven (Army)                          25.764           10.372              3.964

RQ-11 Raven (SOCOM)                      1.898             0.850               6.397

RQ-11 Raven (USMC)                         2.315           24.482               2.737

RQ-21 Blackjack (USMC)                 13.982           66.612             70.565

RQ-4 Global Hawk (USAF)            118.360           11.000             54.475

RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40            10.691             1.747                0.00

DoD has proposed to spend less on Aerovironment's RQ-11 Raven, AAI Corp.'s RQ-7 Shadow, and Boeing/Insitu's RQ-21 Blackjack in FY15 than it did in FY14, with the total budget for procurement of these smaller platforms slipping about 7% in the aggregate from $252.5 million to $238.1 million.  In the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class, requested procurement funds were halved from FY14 levels.

UAS RDT&E accounts, by contrast, witnessed nearly 50% growth, as indicated below:

                                                                  $ million
UAS RDT&E Program                        FY13                FY14            FY15 (request)

MQ-1 Predator                                      9.110              0.760                  1.378

MQ-1C Gray Eagle (Army)               68.694            10.895                46.472

MQ-8 Fire Scout (Navy)                    83.827            41.713               47.294

MQ-9 Reaper (USAF)                     130.882         107.338              170.396

RQ-11 Raven (Army)                           3.716             2.320                    --

RQ-11 Raven (USMC)                        0.083                  --                    0.718

RQ-21A Blackjack (USMC)             22.924            11.122                8.192

RQ-4 Global Hawk (USAF)           240.234          120.180            244.518

RQ-4 Triton (Navy)                         612.682          375.235            498.003

RQ-7 Shadow (Army)                       28.554            12.025              16.389

RQ-7 Shadow (USMC)                       0.791              0.710                0.851

Tactical UAV (Navy)                           6.956              8.381                8.505