Budget Seeks Missile Fixes, Future Technology

Budget Seeks Missile Fixes, Future Technology

The U.S. Defense Department’s top weapons buyer said the proposed defense budget for fiscal 2015 will seek funding for missile-defense improvements and advanced technology programs.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the spending plan — to be released March 4 as part of the federal budget submission to Congress — will include money for fixing the so-called Ground-based Midcourse Defense System made by Chicago-based Boeing Co.

“We are going to be taking an initiative in the budget to address some of those problems,” he said during a conference on the defense budget Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by Credit Suisse and McAleese & Associates, a Sterling, Va.-based consulting group.


“We’ve got to fix those,” he added. “We’ve got to get some more reliable systems.”

The Pentagon maintains rocket-like interceptors in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to shoot down incoming threats such as nuclear missiles. An interceptor launched from Vandenberg during a July 5 test missed its target over the Pacific Ocean, becoming the latest to do so. Afterward, some lawmakers criticized the Pentagon’s plans to spend more than $1 billion to expand the fleet of interceptors to 44 from 30.

At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, cited among his concerns the system’s record of hitting targets in only 8 of 15 attempts; the high cost of testing, which runs about $215 million per exercise; and the fact that many of the interceptors aren’t operational.

On Tuesday, Kendall the interceptors have failed in part because they were designed and fielded too quickly, without the proper system engineering. “We’re seeing just a lot of bad engineering, frankly, and it’s because there was a rush, there was a hurry to get something out,” he said. “Just patching the things we already have is probably not going to be adequate.”

Kendall also said the budget will include continued funding for cutting-edge research and development projects. He noted that most of the force today uses weapons and equipment that were built in the 1980s — and that the World War II-era military relied in part on systems that were designed before the war.

He said U.S. military technological superiority “isn’t guaranteed,” echoing comments he made in recent testimony on Capitol Hill. “We’ve got to stop the presumption that we’re superior and we have a wide margin of superiority,” he said. “It’s not true anymore.”

Speaking about Chinese modernization recently with someone on the Hill, Kendall said the individual remarked that China can’t build a nice car. Kendall said, “We’ll, they’re building really good missiles and really good electronic warfare stuff and working on some pretty good airplanes, and they’re building some space-control capabilities that seem to be quite effective, and they’re competing with us economically.”

Programs targeted for R&D funding include a next-generation jet engine, new rotary-wing aircraft and a successor to the Army’s canceled Ground Combat Vehicle, Kendall said. The planned $1 billion investment in the new jet engine would lead to a formal engineering, manufacturing and development program within a few years, he said.

The Pentagon plans to unveil a $496 base budget, which excludes war funding, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Monday as part of a preview of the spending plan. The five-year budget would be $115 billion more than levels required under automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, but $113 billion less than what it expected last year for the same period.

Tags: , , ,

Join the Conversation

That phrase “next-generation jet engine” could mean some very different things. I’d be curious to know if the “next-generation jet engine” is a SCRamJet for lightweight airbreathing propulsion for hypersonic aircraft and cruise missiles, or if it will be an efficient core for turbojets, turbofans, turboprops, and turboshafts using cores based on the AFRL’s efforts in pulse detonation cycle, or NRL’s efforts in rotary detonation cycle. The det-cycle efforts could provide some big improvements in fuel efficiency with broad applications. A reliable SCRamJet could provide some needed speed, and help some strike systems outspeed competing OODA loops. Any of this is better than throwing more large stacks of cash into the bonfire for biofuel development.

It would be good if they continue funding NRL’s research efforts toward shipboard (CGN or CVN) fuel oil synthesis. A couple of years ago, NRL reported some success in development and testing of an electrochemical acidification cell, found the process practicable (at a pH less than 6.0) for recovering carbondioxide bound in bicarbonate from seawater, which in combination with hydrogen collected at the acidification cell cathode, could be converted to liquid hydrocarbon using a doped iron catalyst, for shipboard (CGN or CVN) synthesis of fuel oil.

And the big winners are… Envelope please… the BIG DEFENSE CONTRACTORS!!!!! Oh what a surprise.

“On Tuesday, Kendall the interceptors have failed in part because they were designed and fielded too quickly, without the proper system engineering. “We’re seeing just a lot of bad engineering, frankly, and it’s because there was a rush, there was a hurry to get something out,” he said.”

Wow! What an admission from the guy in charge, with a degree in engineering! Now we know the problem.

It’s about time.

But the next program will be better.

Sure, because the next program will be better. We’ll do it right next time. The next program is always better.

If we keep saying it, Flying Spaghetti Monster will make it happen.

We are pleased to report to our shareholders that we have maximized revenue extraction from our customers…

I’m sure they’ll put all the good engineers on the next program. Don’t they always?

Don’t you love the way they are “fixing” that crappy missile Boeing designed and built? Boeing, we put the “miss” in missile. Who better to fix crappy engineering than the crappy engineers responsible for the initial crappy engineering. Brilliant! So what’s Boeing’s take on all of this? Let’s see, they f’ed up and now they are getting a follow on contractor to fix what they f’ed up in the first place, so I’m guessing their take is, might as well f’ up, because that’s the best way to insure maximum profit.

If Boeing and Lockheed say it, Congress and the Executive Branch of the federal government will most certainly believe them.

With the advanced radar and nuclaire subs swqimming we got ough protection?

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.