Sep 12 2007

Shelby Announces Defense Funding for the Wiregrass

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced committee approval of important funding for the Wiregrass included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2008.  Following today’s action by the committee, the legislation will go to the Senate floor for consideration.

“The funding approved by the Senate will support important defense-related programs that strengthen our national security,” said Shelby.  “These programs are critical to the stability of our nation’s military infrastructure and readiness and the Senate’s approval demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the safety of our citizens and the strength of our military.  Having just returned from Iraq, I know these programs will prove beneficial as we continue the fight against terrorism.  In total, this bill provides $459.3 billion for defense-related needs.”

Javelin Missile -- $168 million

“The Defense Appropriations bill included $168 million to procure 385 Javelin missiles for the Army,” said Shelby.  “Javelin missiles give our ground forces a critical tactical fire capability. Produced at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, these missiles keep our servicemembers safe and keep Alabama’s economy strong.” 

Hellfire Missile -- $46 million

“Hellfire missiles, produced at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, help to ensure that our military aviators are the best equipped warriors in the sky,” said Shelby. “This bill includes $46 million for 439 hellfire missiles for the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).” 

Non-Line-of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) -- $255 million

“The Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System is a program focused on beyond line-of-sight fires for the Army's Future Combat System (FCS),” said Shelby.  “The NLOS-LS program is a containerized, platform-independent multi-mission weapon concept that will serve as an enabling technology element for the FCS.  The NLOS-LS provides rapid response and lethality in packages requiring significantly fewer personnel, decreased logistical support and lower life-cycle costs, while increasing survivability compared to current direct fire gun and missile artillery.”

Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) -- $137.8 million

“The Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon provides networked, extended-range targeting and precision attack in support of the warfighter with a suite of munitions that include special purpose capabilities,” said Shelby.  “The NLOS-C provides sustained fires for close support and destructive fires for tactical standoff engagement.  I believe this project is vital for the warfighter.”

Army Helicopters

“The fiscal year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill includes funding for a number of helicopter systems vital to the Army, and the mission at Fort Rucker and in the Wiregrass region,” said Shelby.

The following airframes were included:

$673.7 million for modifications to the AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopter;
$770.8 million for procurement of 52 UH-60 Blackhawks;
$230.5 million for procurement of the Light Utility Helicopters (LUH);
$540.7 million for modifications to the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter;
$242.3 million for 16 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH);
 
Joint Air-to-Ground (JAGM) Missile -- $53.5 million

“I am pleased that research and development are fully funded for the JAGM,” said Shelby.  “JAGM is essential because it will bolster our warfighting potential and provide our servicemen and women with a new capability to ward off the unconventional threats of the 21st Century.” 

Designed as a next-generation, multipurpose replacement for the Hellfire, Longbow, and Maverick air-to-ground missiles currently used by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, JAGM will be a vital asset for our services in years to come.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

“The DoD Appropriations bill includes, for a third year, language that prohibits the transfer of research & development, acquisition or program authority relating to tactical UAVs from the Army,” said Shelby.  “The language ensures that the Army will retain responsibility for an operational control of the Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) UAV.  With the Army conducting the vast majority of UAV operations in Iraq, it is imperative that control of UAV assets is kept with the battlefield commander to ensure that these assets are readily available to our troops who are deploying them for tactical missions.  During my recent visit to Iraq, I discussed the ongoing debate concerning Executive Agency for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with our battlefield commanders.  They agreed that the Army needs to maintain control of their UAS assets because, from a tactical standpoint, our soldiers in the field need a versatile, service specific capability.”

UAV research and development is conducted at Redstone Arsenal, and the Army UAV Center of Excellence is located at Ft. Rucker.