Armed Forces News

The 2019 defense-spending bill contains $9.6 billion in funding for unmanned vehicle systems (UAS) — a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Each service branch stands to gain. Programs include:

* A $225-million increase in funding for the Air Force’s Mods and MQ-9 Advanced Battle Management System.
* A $60 million increase for the Army’s MQ-1 UAV, to support the effort to increase the life expectancy of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle.
* The Navy Undersea Warfare Applied Research program received an additional $20 million, earmarked for academic partnerships related to the enterprise.

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Some UAS programs received less money than the Trump administration had requested. The Air Force will have fewer MQ-9 UAS for overseas contingency operations. The Navy’s MQ-25 and large unmanned undersea vehicle programs saw reductions as well, as did the service’s Surface Navy Laser Weapon System, a counter-UAS platform.