MRMUAS, Next-Gen Missile Added to U.S. Budget Cuts

 - February 17, 2012, 10:50 AM
The capability of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, shown, and its planned upgrade make canceling the Navy’s medium-range martime unmanned aircraft system a “manageable risk,” according to the Pentagon.

The U.S. Department of Defense rolled out a $614 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission February 13, revealing further program cancellations and “restructurings” to previously announced cuts. Sacrificed in the Pentagon’s exercise to reduce $259 billion over its five-year future years defense program (FYDP) are the Navy’s medium-range maritime unmanned aircraft system (MRMUAS) and the Air Force’s next generation missile (NGM). The program cuts add to earlier announced cancellations of the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30, C-27J Spartan and C-130 avionics modernization (AMP) programs.

The MRMUAS was envisioned as a multi-intelligence (MultiINT) platform operating from aircraft-capable ships and providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the maritime and littoral domains. The Navy issued a broad area announcement for the program last September, and said it wanted to field a limited MRMUAS capability as early as 2016. Due to “changing priorities” and the demonstrated capability of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout UAS and planned MQ-8C upgrade, “it was deemed a manageable risk” to terminate the MRMUAS program, the Pentagon said. The move saves $200 million in Fiscal Year 2013.

The Pentagon plans to reduce procurement of the Marine Corps MV-22 tiltrotor by 24 aircraft through Fiscal Year 2017, saving $875 million. It said it is pursuing a follow-on multi-year procurement “which will result in significant cost avoidance.” Also restructured is the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, with 10 aircraft reduced over the FYDP, saving $5.2 billion. Procurement of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye surveillance aircraft will be reduced by nine aircraft over the FYDP, saving $500 million.

The Air Force terminates the next-generation Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile, intended to replace Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM and the AGM-88 HARM missiles. Also cancelled are the Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance and Light Mobility Aircraft programs.