Special Report

The Biggest Weapons R&D Investments by the US Military This Year

Source: bbevren / iStock via Getty Images

3. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
> Total approved funding: $2.2 billion

The F-35 is perhaps the most advanced fighter jet on the planet, and this has come at no small cost to the U.S. RDT&E budget. The continued funding of this aircraft outside of basic procurement is to conduct further operational testing and incrementally improve warfighting capabilities to keep the F-35 at the top of the food chain.

Source: Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

2. Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared
> Total approved funding: $3.45 billion

The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared refers to one of the space-based systems that is under development by the U.S. military. Basically, this system allows for constant surveillance from space with a high degree of accuracy, specifically for the early warning and tracking of missiles.

Source: departmentofenergy / Flickr

1. DARPA Research Programs
> Total approved funding: $4.06 billion

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has created some of the most high-tech weapons on the planet, including stealth, night vision goggles, and laser guided missiles to name a few. A fair amount of DARPA’s ongoing projects are classified and Congress cuts the check straight to the agency and does not mention any of the specifics.

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