By Ann Roosevelt

Modifications to four additional MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft at a cost of $85 million are U.S. Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) top unfunded priority in a list submitted to Congress for the fiscal year 2010 budget.

SOCOM lists a total of 11 classified and unclassified items the command could not accommodate in its budget request but wants to fund for a total of $308.4 million if additional funding becomes available.

The command submitted a list of 31 items at a cost of $413 million for the FY year 2009 budget (Defense Daily, Feb. 13, 2009).

Modifying four more MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft into day and night capable precision strike platforms would give Air Force Special Operations Command a total of 12 aircraft, the command said in describing the requirement. The aircraft are critical for special operations forces to generate additional armed overwatch capability, the command said in describing the requirement.

If additional funds are available, the command wants $31.3 million for 2,339 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radios (MBITR) radios. Broken down, 1,306 would be maritime AN/PRC 148 MBITRs for Naval Special Warfare Command. Another 1,033 would be urban MBITRS needed to ensure full mission capability of the communications within the fleet of Army Special Operation Command’s ground mobility vehicles (GMV).

The command also would spend $43.3 million to modify 172 GMVs. The GMV is a modified M1165 Humvee. The modifications would provide Operational Detachment-A with the ability to move long distances over varied terrain for longer periods of time, the command said. GMVs provide the payload for three people to conduct a 10-day mission without resupply. Another $14 million would buy All-Environment Capable Variant-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (AECV UAV) that are hand-launched, lightweight, modular UAVs able to be submerged during recovery, while retaining its operational capability. The AECV-UAV is small enough to carry and operate from a seven-meter rigid inflatable boat. The UAV has a two-hour minimum flight endurance using rechargeable or rapid replacement batteries for an in-field turn around of 10 minutes, SOCOM said. The AECV-UAV payloads are flexible, modular and easily interchangeable without tools and include a multi-spectra sensor.

SOCOM would also spend $6.2 million for full-motion video exploitation. This would rapidly query accumulated tactical intelligence to provide a near-real time analysis and comparison capability to significantly improve intelligence in support of operational decision making and planning, the description said.

Also, $28.9 million would be spent on hand held imagers (HHI), pocket/short- and long-range. The Special Operations Visual Augmentation System (SOVAS) HHI requirement emerged as a result of lessons learned and feedback from Afghanistan, Iraq and current operations. The HHI program has four independent modules: pocket, short-, mid- and long-range imagers categorized by detection range, weight and size. The SOVAS HHI systems allow operators to detect, recognize and identify targets under varying conditions or at ranges at which the operator would not normally be able to see the target. The HHI devices include forward-looking infrared systems.

The SOCOM list also includes $33.8 million for Hostile Forces, Tagging, Tracking, Locating Mission Sets (HF-TTL) that provides operators with an immediate ability to precisely locate, track and tag globally critical targets such as enemy personnel, mobility platforms and objects to prosecute contingency operations. HF-TTL is used to fill operating capability that affects the find, fix, exploit and analyze process used by combat forces, the statement said.

Four requirements are classified: two, for $9.5 million and $19.5 million, are for unidentified requirements. Another two requirements are listed but not further described: $23.9 million for PRC 117Gs, and $13 million for hatch mounted satellite antennas.