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Pentagon budget 2025: Ukraine war informs US Army munitions, counter-drone requests

The M-LIDS weapon system can be mounted on vehicles and is designed to target and disable or destroy hostile drones or other UAVs. Soldiers have trained and tested the technology in US Central Command's area of responsibility. (US Army)

As the war in Ukraine highlights the need for deep magazines and counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) capabilities, the US Army's latest budget request includes more funding for counter small-unmanned aerial systems (C-sUAS) and precision munitions.

A “continued emphasis” on counter small unmanned aerial systems is reflected in the Pentagon's fiscal year 2025 budget request, Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo, told reporters during an embargoed briefing on 8 March. Ukraine is also still influencing which munitions the service wants to put its dollars behind, service officials said at the pre-budget briefing.

About USD447 million in the FY 2025 budget request, revealed on 11 March, is allocated for both procurement and research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) of C-sUAS, Camarillo said. The army requested USD625.6 million for overall NATO support, and another USD2.1 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), according to budget documents released on 11 March.

Out of the C-sUAS total, about USD140 million is RDT&E funding for various directed energy (DE) systems, Camarillo noted.

The mobile, ground-based Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) — made up of an interceptor and launcher — could receive USD271 million in RDT&E, according to the budget request documents. Of that RDT&E, about USD35 million is for directed energy elements of the technology, broken down into USD31.6 million for the IFPC high energy laser (HEL), and USD4 million for IFPC high power microwave (HPM).

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