Act sets stage for equipping force of tomorrow
By Mr. Jim Garamone
| | November 2, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The fiscal 2005 National Defense Authorization Act provides the equipment the American military needs to fight the war on terror.
The bill, signed Oct. 28, provides both equipment the military needs today and the seed money to design and build equipment the military will need in the future.
It will also fund major weapons systems designed to protect America.
One of the biggest single expenditures in the act is for missile defense. The act provides $10 billion for all forms of missile defense. This covers everything from procurement of Patriot 3 missile systems to research for the Airborne Laser. There is $4.4 billion provided for the midcourse defense portion -- including ground-based midcourse defense. Midcourse defense systems track and destroy incoming missiles before they enter the atmosphere. The $10 billion also includes money for system interceptors.
The act provides $4.1 billion for 24 Air Force F/A-22 Raptor aircraft, $3 billion for 42 Navy F/A-18 E/F aircraft, and $3 billion for 14 C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft. The act also funds eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for the Marines and three CV-22 special operations aircraft for the Air Force.
The budget also restocks Tomahawk missiles used during combat operations. The bill allots $280 million for 321 cruise missiles.
On the Army side, the bill funds almost $3 billion for research and development for the Future Combat System, which ultimately will provide soldiers on the ground with an entire array of data about what's going on around them. It also allows $280 million for 27 Black Hawk helicopters and more than $900 million for the sixth Stryker brigade combat team. The act also funds $292 million for enhancements to 67 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and $51.5 million for Bradley fighting vehicle enhancements.
The bill also provides $572 million for more up-armored Humvees. This means the more-survivable vehicles will roll off the assembly lines at a rate of 450 per month. The bill funds $100 million for add-on armor for Humvees and trucks. The armor gives protection to drivers and crews against anti-personnel projectiles and improvised explosive devices.
New ships funded by this budget including three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one San Antonio-class amphibious ship, one Virginia-class submarine, two cargo and ammunition ships, and money for the DD(X) destroyer and the Littoral Combat Ship - centerpieces of the Navy's planned 21st century surface warfare fleet -- as well as for the CVN-21 aircraft carrier.