The House Appropriations Committee’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget would fully fund development of the Army’s top modernization priority, long-range precision fires, and increase spending required to upgrade Stryker vehicles with new weapon systems.

House Democrats released details of their $690.2 billion defense spending bill on Tuesday, which falls $8 billion below the president’s request and $96.2 billion less than suggested for Overseas Contingency Operations funding, while meeting the Army’s requested levels for increased research and development.

Stryker wheeled combat vehicle fitted with a 30mm cannon mounted on a remote weapon station outside General Dynamics’ plant in Detroit, Mich.

The committee’s proposed base funding for the Army includes $41.5 billion for operations and maintenance, $22 billion toward procurement and $12.1 billion for research, development, test and evaluations.

Army officials detailed their $182.3 billion FY20 budget request in March, which included plans to shift $33 billion toward modernization programs over the next five years with the intent to fully fund development of its future weapon systems (Defense Daily, March 12).

Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy at the time said senior leadership’s goal is to a 50-50 split between procuring legacy systems and funding modernization development by 2024.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chair of the appropriations committee, released a statement detailing highlights of the bill, which includes plans to allocate $418 million for the Army’s research and development request for its top modernization priority, long-range precision fires (LRPF).

McCarthy has said the Army is looking to move LRPF projects, such as Extended Range Cannon Artillery and Precision Strike Missile, from development to procurement by FY23 (Defense Daily, March 13).

Army leadership cites LRPF as the top priority required to retain standoff with near-peer competitors, such as China or Russia, in a potential future fight.

The committee’s proposed bill would also provide $249 million more than requested to upgrade 89 Stryker fighting vehicles with new 30mm cannons and remotely operated weapon stations.

The program is expected to cost $907 million over the next seven years, with plans to award a contract for the lethality upgrade in FY ’20 and eventually field 294 medium caliber weapon systems (Defense Daily, April 10).

Lawmakers’ increased request for the Stryker upgrades follows the Army’s final approval for the program’s requirements in April, which arrived after its budget request initially dropped in March.

The committee’s proposed budget also includes $3.7 billion for Army aircraft procurement.

Appropriators included $1.4 billion to fund 73 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and fully funded the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program with $206 million.