Army research budget focuses on integrated tactical electronic warfare architecture

WASHINGTON — Despite a slashed electronic warfare procurement proposal, the U.S. Army still plans hefty investment in research and development to build out a battlefield architecture with the ultimate goal to link with national electronic and cyber tactical systems.

The envisioned cyber and electromagnetic activities architecture would integrate a set of systems to allow the Army to conduct multidomain operations across distributed locations and connect its own tactically focused platforms, along with connecting to national strategic systems. Pending congressional approval, the Army’s research and development funding for key systems that make up the structure — most under development for years — would hold steady or slightly increase over the service’s projections, with one new large addition:

  • Multi-Function Electronic Warfare: The Army cut procurement in fiscal 2022 for the airborne jamming pod mounted to a MQ-1C Gray Eagle, but it will still develop the technology, bumping its research and development request to $12 million, up from $9 million the Army predicted a year before that the project would need.
  • Terrestrial Layer System Brigade Combat Team: Research funding for the first integrated cyber, signals intelligence and electronic warfare system for brigades would meet Army projections at about $39.7 million.
  • Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool: The Army’s $16.8 million research and development request and $700,000 procurement figure matched its projections for the system to allow commanders to plan and visualize their invisible battle space.
  • Terrestrial Layer System Echelons Above Brigade: The Army wants $19.5 million R&D funds for this new program that will provide commanders at echelons above brigade capabilities for sensing, improved geolocating, conducting nonkinetic fires and supporting kinetic targeting.

In contrast to the strong R&D budget, the Army’s proposed procurement budget dropped from $123 million enacted in FY21 to $48 million requested for FY22.

For one big cut, the Army zeroed out the MFEW jamming pod procurement to try to save $12 million, part of a larger divestment effort to reserve money for higher priorities.

The $12…