The Army has submitted a list of $4.4 billion in unfunded priorities for fiscal year 2022 to Congress, according to documents obtained by Defense Daily, to include requesting additional funds to procure more Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) and CH-47F Block II Chinooks.
The list also requests additional resources to accelerate the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) program, which will replace the service’s Shadow drones, and funds to avoid delaying research into a new Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (eLRV).
The unfunded priorities list was submitted to Congress on Tuesday and arrives the week after the Army received a reduced topline of $173 billion in the FY ‘22 budget request (Defense Daily, May 28).
For JLTV, the Army’s list calls for $120 million to cover 340 more vehicles stating that without additional funds plans to field three to five brigades per year over the next two decades will be “in jeopardy.”
Army officials also write that since FY ‘19 through the new budget request, JLTV has seen a 54 percent reduction in funding while the platform has received increased demand, adding that continued reductions may “dissuade potential manufacturers from submitting proposals” for the upcoming follow-on production award.
Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, the Army’s budget director, told reporters on Tuesday that the decision to reduce JLTV funding in order to free up funds in the FY ‘22 budget request to shift toward modernization efforts will likely lengthen the program’s overall production timeline (Defense Daily, June 1).
The list also requests an additional $252 million to procure five more CH-47F Block II heavy-lift aircraft, noting that a “lack of funding will result in a one year slip” in the current schedule for production and fielding.
The Army’s budget request called for six CH-47F Block IIs in FY ‘22 and exclusively for special operators, with the unfunded priorities list signaling that the service may be open to procuring the latest version of the aircraft for the regular Army as well after the decision to reduce funds last year faced congressional pushback.
For FTUAS, the Army is seeking an additional $73 million so the program can be accelerated by two years following the successful results of a year-long demonstration and evaluation process.
The Army recently completed a FTUAS “rodeo” event testing the four current offerings, with officials lauding the results and proving out capacity for operating in inclement weather, demonstrating runway-independence and vertical takeoff and landing, their “significantly quieter” acoustic signature and the ability to command and control on the move (Defense Daily, March 2).
The list also requests $5.6 million to fund development of the eLRV concept, with the additional resources to be used for purchasing prototypes to inform vehicle electrifications and work towards fielding an initial capability by FY ‘26.
“The eLRV is the first and most promising of developmental opportunities being pursued under the [Tactical and Combat Vehicle Electrification] initiative seeking to tackle hybrid or purely electric capabilities for many more combat platforms,” the Army wrote. “Lack of funding will delay the research, design, and builds of future eLRV prototypes as well as delay the initial Other Transaction Authority of up to four contractors to participate in Soldier Touch Points.”
The Army’s unfunded priorities list also requests additional resources for Abrams tank and Bradley upgrades, GMLRS missiles, JAGM missiles and Active Protection System development funds.