Earlier this year the White House released President Joe Biden’s defense budget request for fiscal year 2024 that begins Oct. 1. The total proposed defense budget request from the executive branch stands at $842 billion ahead of the annual congressional debate over the country’s expanding defense budget.
“The performance of United States (U.S.) weapon systems are unmatched, ensuring that U.S. military forces have a tactical combat advantage over any adversary in any environmental situation,” declared a report from the Pentagon’s comptroller outlining the cost of acquiring new weapons systems in the upcoming fiscal year.
One of the biggest chunks of the proposed U.S. defense budget is $170 billion for procurement and $145 for research and development, testing, and evaluation. The British-based defense intelligence site Janes called the $315 billion sum to buy and develop new weapons the Pentagon’s “largest sum ever for equipment modernisation.”
To identify the weapons the U.S. military wants to buy the most units of next year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Department of Defense’s recently-released Fiscal 2024 Budget Request. We included weapons systems for which the DOD is requesting at least 50 units, ranked by the number of units requested in the FY2024 budget. We included spending over the three-year period – FY2022 to FY2024 – for each system, assuming the DOD will be granted its FY2024 requests, and which branch or branches of the military each system will go to. Primary contractors for each weapon are also from the DOD budget proposal, the Program Acquisition Cost By Weapons System document.
The budget request includes a proposed procurement of 59,000 Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW), the most units requested of any weapon in the budget. The NGSW, which is intended to replace the M16, M4A1 Carbine, and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, costs about $8,750 apiece. The NGSW is billed by the Pentagon as a more lethal weapon against adversaries in close combat situations. (Here are 18 of the deadliest weapons of all time.)
While the acquisition cost of the NGSW in FY2022 through FY2024 amounts to about half a billion dollars, 14 of the 25 weapons the military wants to buy the most units have cost more than a billion dollars over this three-year period – if the Pentagon requests for the next fiscal year are approved by Congress.
These pricey systems include $1.2 billion for 1,170 of the Small Diameter Bomb II (SMB-II), an air-to-ground precision bomb from Tucson-based Raytheon Missile & Defense; more than 3,100 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), costing $3.2 billion and produced by Northrop Grumman; and 230 Patriot Missile systems from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin for $3.6 billion.
The most expensive acquisition is for 83 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets at a cost of $123 million apiece. The total acquisition spending in the three fiscal years amounts to $28.5 billion. (These are the most expensive planes in the U.S. Air Force.)
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