A new Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International report says the proposed $9.6 billion budget for unmanned platforms and robotics in President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 defense spending request reflects a 28 percent increase from the enacted fiscal 2018 budget.
AUVSI said the U.S. Navy saw a $1 billion rise in unmanned systems budget between fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and that aerial drones experienced the largest funding increase in the president’s proposed FY 2019 budget at approximately $7 billion, followed by counter-unmanned systems at $1.5 billion and maritime drones at $1.3 billion.
The House’s version of the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act proposes budget increases for the RQ-4 Mods program; the U.S. Army’s MQ-1 unmanned aerial vehicle initiative; and the Navy Undersea Warfare Applied Research program.
The Senate approved in June its FY 2019 NDAA version that includes budget increases for the procurement of six additional MQ-9 drones in support of the Advanced Battle Management System and acquisition of a fleet of group 5 unmanned platforms for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The upper chamber’s defense budget measure supports other programs such as the manned-unmanned teaming capability of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle; Gremlins UAS program; and the use of acoustic threat detection to counter aerial drones.