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US Army weapon procurement declines as Afghan pull-out nears

The Pentagon budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022 has seen a fall in the actual quantities of US Army weapons requested as a result of the reduction in overseas operations the service expects to be involved in over the coming year.

This is closely linked to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as troop reductions in Iraq. The absence of funding under the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), or war funds, has also contributed to the fall in overall procurement quantities, with these funds now being incorporated into the main budget request.

Requested quantities for small-arms ammunition, artillery projectiles, rockets, missiles, and other munitions, the kind mostly used in overseas operations, have seen a fall. In particular, air-to-ground weapons such as Hellfire missiles and Hydra rockets have also seen lower requests, with the army seeking 74% fewer quantities of Hellfire rounds than in FY 2021. Although the Hellfire missile is being replaced by the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), the FY 2022 request has not seen a corresponding increase for JAGM. The request for ground-to-ground weapons is similar, with lower quantities being sought for 155 mm artillery rounds, shoulder-launched munitions, and anti-armour missiles like Javelin and TOW 2. Overall, the missile procurement request for the US Army in 2022 fell by 11% to USD3.556 billion, while the request for ammunition dropped by 25% to USD2.158 billion.

However, the cutback in weapon procurement has seen greater allocations for some of the army's future programmes, such as the Mobile Medium Range missile, Precision Strike Missile, and Long Range Hypersonic Weapon. These weapons are expected to hit targets at a longer range and at greater speeds than their predecessors.

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