WASHINGTON — Under pressure to hold the line on defense spending, the Army’s $145 billion fiscal 2012 budget is about as much as the service requested for this fiscal year: $143 billion.
Items the Army wants to spend more money on include communications equipment, helicopters, unmanned surveillance aircraft and some missiles, including the Patriot.
Conversely, the Army is cutting some weapons systems and plans to spend less on medium tactical vehicles. Construction spending is also expected to go down significantly.
The Army requested about $71 billion on top of the base budget to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, down about 30 percent from its 2011 request because all U.S. troops are expected to leave Iraq by the end of December 2011.
Communications: Spending on communications equipment would increase from about $1.5 billion to $2.9 billion. Joint Communications would see a substantial increase from $438 million to $989 million. Likewise, Combat Communications would go up from $324 million to $911 million.
Aircraft: The Army plans to spend $708 million to modernize Apache helicopters and $659 million for more Gray Eagle unmanned surveillance aircraft. The budget also calls for $1.5 billion to modernize 71 Blackhawk helicopters and $1.4 billion for 32 new and 15 refurbished Chinooks.
Some missiles: These are a mixed bag. The Army wants to spend more on a couple of things that go boom, including $662 million for 88 of the latest Patriot missiles and $314 million on the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System for more than 2,700 missiles.
Other missiles: Remember the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, a next-generation missile launcher conceived as part of the Future Combat System? The project is dead, a year after the Army asked for $350 million for it in fiscal 2011. Also dead is the SLAMRAAM surface-to-air missile system. Spending for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System would be slashed from $212 million to $32 million.
Medium tactical vehicles: The Army plans to cut spending from $918 million to $433 million.
Military construction: Overall, military construction spending for the Army would drop from about $5.3 billion to $4.3 billion.
BY THE NUMBERS:
$786 million — The amount for 100 new Stryker vehicles with extra vehicle armor.
$346 million — The amount requested for environmental restoration, down from $445 million in this year’s request.