Military Embedded Systems

Modernizations and retrofits highlight DoD FY 2015 budget request


April 29, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

The President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD) is not in any sense a wish list for new, high-priced platforms, but more a roadmap for extending the life of current weapons systems, aircraft, and ships through targeted retrofits and upgrades.

“Modernization” may be the most used word in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD) as the department looks to upgrade the radar systems; Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR); electronic warfare suites; and avionics systems’ current aviation, ground, and naval platforms. While numbers remain down compared to past years in procurement and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funding, these modernization efforts mean that opportunities still exist for embedded computing, signal processing, software, etc., that enable capability upgrades in these applications.

The overall DoD FY 2015 budget request is essentially flat compared to 2014 with the base budget providing $495.6 billion, a reduction of $0.4 billion from the FY 2014 enacted budget of $496 billion. The FY 2015 DoD acquisition funding request totals $153.9 billion and includes $154.2 billion in new budget authority for FY 2015 that is offset by the cancellation of $0.3 billion of prior year funding, according to the DoD. The $154.2 billion for the base budget includes $90.7 billion for procurement funded and $63.5 billion for RDT&E funded programs. Of this amount, $69.6 billion is for programs that have been designated as Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). Below are some MDAP aircraft and ground vehicle highlights from this year’s budget request. (For unmanned aircraft highlights, see column on page 8.)

Fixed-wing aircraft

For FY 2015, the DoD is continuing the F-15E (Eagle) Radar Modernization Program (RMP), which replaces the old radar using existing technology from other platforms on 394 F-15s (219 F-15E and 175 F-15 C/D) and solves obsolescence challenges to enable improved reliability and performance (increased synthetic aperture radar range and resolution), including air-to-air and air-to-ground modes. Also continued is the radar upgrade for the F-15 C/D, which replaces the mechanically-scanned antenna on F-15 C/D aircraft with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), APG-82(V)1 system, and upgrades to the environmental control system. For this platform, the FY 2015 budget continues procurement for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and Beyond Line of Sight capability and development efforts for the Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System. Procurement funding for this program increased from about $346 million in FY 2014 to about $387 million in FY 2015. RDT&E funding increased from $230 million in FY 2014 to $330 million in the FY 2015 request.

For the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the FY 2015 program procures a total of 34 aircraft: two F-35C Carrier Variants (CVs) for the Navy, six F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants for the Marine Corps, and 26 F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) for the Air Force. Procurement funding for the F-35 increases from $5.884 billion in FY 2014 to $6.323 billion in FY 2015. RDT&E increases from $1.487 billion in FY 2014 to $1.641 billion in FY 2015.

The F-22 Raptor program will continue its modernization through incremental capability upgrades together with reliability and maintainability efforts that include the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Maturation Program (RAMMP). The FY 2015 program request continues funding for retrofitting the combat-coded F-22 fleet with Increment 3.1, which provides an initial ground attack kill chain capability via the inclusion of ground-looking synthetic aperture radar modes, emitter-based geo-location of threat modes, electronic attack capability, and start of Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-I) integration. It also funds development of Increment 3.2, which provides radar electronic protection, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile-120D and Air Intercept Missile-9X integration, enhanced speed and accuracy of target geo-location, Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, intraflight data link improvements, and other enhancements. Also included is funding for beginning the 3.2B retrofit. Procurement funding for this program continues to shrink, from $232 million in FY 2014 to about $208 million in FY 2015.

For FY 2015 the DoD will continue funding development efforts and modification of strategic bombers, to include the Fully Integrated Data Links for the B-1 aircraft; the B-2 Defensive Management System (DMS); and the Combat Network Communication Technology for the B-52 aircraft. Strategic bomber procurement in FY 2015 is $344 million, an increase of about $132 million from FY 2014. RDT&E funding in this area is down from $375 million in FY 2014 to $291 million in FY 2015.

Surveillance aircraft

The P-8A Poseidon, a multi-mission platform designed to replace the P-3C Orion propeller-driven aircraft, will have a new radar array, which is a modernized version of the Raytheon APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System. The Navy plans to procure as many as 117 Poseidons. Eight P-8A aircraft will be procured under the FY 2015 program at a cost of about $3.359 billion, with plans for procurement for 15 aircraft in FY 2016. The P-8A ASW, ASuW, and ISR capabilities will be delivered incrementally to the aircraft.

FY 2015 requests funding for four Advanced Hawkeye E-2D aircraft at $1.029 billion in the second year of a Multiyear Procurement (MYP) contract that has a total of 25 aircraft being procured from FY 2014 through FY 2018. It includes associated support, and funds advance procurement for five FY 2016 aircraft (the third year of the MYP). The FY 2015 program supports non-recurring engineering for the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, follow-on test and evaluation, trainers, and in-flight refueling capability. Five aircraft were procured in FY 2014 at $1.208 billion.

E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft are being reduced in number in FY 2015, as the Air Force will divest seven of these aircraft, reducing the fleet to 24. Meanwhile, modernization of the remaining AWACS aircraft will continue under the Block 40/45 Upgrade, which has upgraded communications and navigation systems, new open-architecture PC-based mission systems, and enhanced electronic support measures.

Rotary-wing aircraft

The V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, has support for procurement of 19 MV-22 aircraft for the Navy/Marine Corps in the FY 2015 budget request at about $1.532 billion, down from 23 aircraft at $1.677 billion in FY 2014. The request is based on the third year of a follow-on five-year multiyear procurement contract, for FYs 2013 to 2017. FY 2014 was the last year of procurement for the Air Force-SOCOM CV-22.

The AH-64E Apache program consists of a remanufacture (A) and a new-build (B) effort, which integrates a mast-mounted fire control radar into an upgraded and enhanced AH-64 airframe. The FY 2015 program funds support for the remanufacture of 25 AH-64D aircraft to the AH-64E configuration at $651 million, down from $759 million for remanufacture in FY 2014.

Naval assets

The FY 2015 program for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) calls for construction of three seaframe designs as well as procurement of mission modules at $1.785 billion. In FY 2014 four of these ships were built at a cost of $2.017 billion. The seaframe designs are a separate and distinct acquisition program from the mission module program. The two programs are synchronized to ensure combined capability (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: The FY 2015 Department of Defense budget request supports construction of three Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs).

(Click graphic to zoom by 1.9x)




The Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) is the replacement for the existing fleet of Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) vehicles, which are nearing the end of their service life. The SSC Program requirement is for 73 vessels. For the FY 2015 program the DoD is looking to procure two vessels and continue research and development of engineering, ship design, and specifications. Total procurement funding for FY 2015 is $123 million and RDT&E is at $124 million.

Satellite operations

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is DoD’s next-generation advanced narrow band Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications satellite constellation. The MUOS satellite includes the new networked payload and a separate legacy payload. For FY 2015 the DoD is looking to fund procurement of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) for satellite #5; remaining testing and preparation efforts to support launch of satellite #3 scheduled for January 2015; and continued production of satellites #4 and #5, scheduled for launch in August 2015 and October 2016, respectively. Procurement funding is increasing from $116 million in FY 2014 to about $208 million in FY 2015.

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system will be a four-satellite constellation of communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit that will replenish the existing EHF system – the Military Strategic Tactical Relay (MILSTAR) – at a much higher capacity and data rate capability. For the FY 2015 budget request, the DoD looks to continue funding for procurement of the space vehicles AEHF-5 and AEHF-6, and continue the Space Modernization Initiative (SMI) development, which looks to reduce future production costs and combat obsolescence by improving technology insertion. RDT&E funding is up for this program from $265 million in FY 2014 to $314 million in FY 2015, while procurement dropped to $298 million from $328 million.

In FY 2015, program funding is included for procurement of Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite 9, as well as for the advanced procurement for satellite 10. It also continues the development of GPS OCX Blocks 1 and 2, as well as funds technology development for Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 1. The fully operational GPS constellation is expected to consist of 27 satellites. Procurement funding for FY 2015 is at $344 million, down from the FY 2014 total of $506 million.

Tactical communications

FY 2015 program funding for the DoD tactical radio communications system, formerly the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, includes low-rate initial production of the Army Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit (HMS), Non-Developmental Item (NDI) hardware and software, and the qualification and operational testing and sustainment of fielded radios and certified waveforms. The request also funds development efforts related to Army waveforms and Joint Enterprise Network Manager (JENM), and the Small Airborne Link-16 Terminal (SALT), which is intended for the AH-64 Apache. Operational testing, platform integration, and initial sustainment support for the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio (MNVR) program also continue to be funded. The JTRS Program of Record(s) transitioned to a Military Department-management program last year. FY 2015 procurement funding request is $330 million for 3,294 systems; in FY 2014 6,499 systems were procured at $542 million. RDT&E funding in FY 2015 is at $211 million, down from $306 million in FY 2014.

The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) program development consists of four increments. The FY 2015 program funds the upgrade of 81 WIN-T Increment 1 units with modification kits to enhance interoperability with units fielded with WIN-T Increment 2. Funding is also included for procurement of WIN-T Increment 2 for one Brigade Combat Team and one Division. Fielding and support are continued for previously procured Low Rate Initial Production equipment. The request funds development of Network Operations software (Build 4) as part of WIN-T Increment 3 and supports the integration of 179 Modification kits for the AN/TRC-190 line-of-sight radio systems. Tactical NetOps Management Systems to 48 non-WIN-T units are procured and fielded along with program management support for Single Shelter Switch (SSS), Troposcatter Communications systems, and High Capability Line of Sight, Battlefield Video-Teleconferencing Center upgrades. Procurement requested for FY 2015 is at $763 million for 1,280 systems. In FY 2014 1,725 systems were procured at $894 million. RDT&E funding for FY 2015 is at $116 million, down slightly from FY 2014 totals of $122 million.

Missile defense

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) FY 2015 Program supports the procurement of 30 SM-3 Block IB missiles, procures BMD upgrades for three Aegis ships, and installation onboard five Aegis ships. It also funds continued development of the Aegis BMD 5.0 and 5.1 Weapon Systems. FY 2015 funding requested is $435 million, down from about $580 million in FY 2014. RDT&E funding increased slightly from $909 million in FY 2014 to $929 million in FY 2015.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) FY 2015 Program has support for procurement of 31 interceptors and associated components, as well as support and training equipment. It also funds development of the initial Build 2.0 capability; continues development, flight, and ground testing of THAAD components; and supports the four THAAD batteries as well as the planned delivery of the fifth battery in FY 2015. Funding for this program is down from the FY 2014 total of $571 million, to $464 million in the FY 2015 request. RDT&E funding is increased slightly from $255 million to $299 million in FY 2015.

Ground systems

The M1A2 Abrams battle tank, which first entered service in 1980, will see its modernization efforts continued in the FY 2015 program. Funding in this request supports modifications and upgrades to the armor facility and procures multiple approved modifications to fielded M1A2 Abrams tanks, including the Data Distribution Unit (DDU) and Blue Force Tracking 2 for network interoperability, Ammunition Data Link (ADL) to enable firing of the Army’s new smart 120 mm ammunition, and the Low Profile Commander’s Remote Operating Weapon Station (CROWS). Procurement on this program increased from $279 million in FY 2014 to $349 million in FY 2015. RDT&E also increased slightly from $101 million to $112 million.