THE PENTAGON – The rapid drawdown of the U.S. munitions stockpile to feed the demand of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict prompted the Department of Defense to ramp up its acquisition of everything from missiles to artillery shells, senior defense officials told reporters on Monday.
The Pentagon is pushing ahead with multi-year deals for weapons like the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, Standard Missile 6 and the Naval Strike Missile as part of its overall $842 billion budget request, according to Fiscal Year 2024 budget documents.
“Ukraine has really informed and highlighted the need to up our game here,” Pentagon comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Monday.
“We are for the first time ever expanding the multi-year procurement authority, which has been in law for decades. Beyond platforms like ships, airplanes and helicopters munitions and missiles.”
To that end, the Department of Defense is asking for $30.6 billion in “all types of conventional ammunition and precision-guided munitions,” reads the budget document.
The total breaks down to $5.6 billion for conventional ammunition, $7.3 Billion for strategic missiles, $17.1 million in tactical missiles and $600 million in technology development.
Unlike the counter-insurgency conflicts of America’s recent past in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ukraine showed the Pentagon how quickly munitions can be expended in a modern, high-intensity conflict.
For the most basic ammunition like 155mm artillery shells, Ukrainian forces have used 4,000 to 6,000 a day – about a third of what U.S. manufacturers can produce in a month.
For more complicated weapons systems, like the multi-role SM-6s that costs more than $1 million per round and is used by the Navy’s guided-missile combatants, weapons can take more than two year to produce, USNI News understands. The budget funds the first year of the multi-year procurement for $1.62 billion for 125 of the SM-6 missiles split between $1.2B for the ordnance and the rest for research and development.
Among the other multi-year procurement, the budget asks for $250 million for 103 Naval Strike Missiles for the Navy and Marines, $1.1B for 118 LRASMs for the Air Force and the Navy, $1.2 billion for 831 AIM-120 anti-air missiles and $1.82 billion for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.
A key part of the multi-year procurement is to keep production lines hot and maximize the output from the industrial base.
“This budget… make significant investments in the munitions and also on how we thus incentivize the industrial base to maintain production lines,” Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady told reporters in a Monday briefing.
The $30.6 billion total also includes modernization for nuclear delivery systems like the Trident II D5 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile, the Long-Range Standoff weapon, B61-12 gravity weapon and AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile, according to the budget documents.