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AUSA 2019: Ballistic and cruise missile proliferation bolsters air defence funding

14th October 2019 - 14:26 GMT | by ​Matt Smith in London


North American procurement spending on ground-based air-defence missile systems will reach nearly $40 billion over the next ten years, a new analysis by Shephard has discovered.

The funding level is driven by investments by the US Army and Missile Defence Agency (MDA) in the Patriot system, Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) and Ballistic Missile Midcourse Defence.

Beyond the ground segment, the MDA will continue to invest in naval capabilities through Aegis and space-based programmes. There is also substantial effort going into supporting and enabling capabilities such as cyber, command and control, testing and on-going research and development.

The continually evolving global threat environment means high levels of funding are likely to continue in the foreseeable future.

The full Artillery and Air Defence Market Report and Forecast 2019-2029 covers the global market for the systems over the next decade.

The MDA identifies the proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles equipped with countermeasure such as electronic warfare, multiple and manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles, hypersonic cruise missile and hypersonic glide vehicles as posing particular challenges to its missile defence systems, both at home and for its deployed forces and allies.  

While efforts at the MDA are focussed on longer-rage systems, the US Army has identified short-range air defence as a key capability gap and is investing in the M-SHORAD system to address this. Each system currently costs $5.3 million, not including development and the army would like to procure 144 examples.

In the artillery segment, the procurement focus remains on HIMARS and Paladin, with substantial spending also allocated to missiles.

Procurement of the M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) is the single largest artillery programme, with procurement of 689 unit currently estimated at $9 billion. Ultimately the M109A7 will fully replace the existing fleet of M109A6 vehicles and will stay in service until the 2050s.

The PIM recapitalisation project is being supported by other work to improve the range and lethality of the gun, with BAE Systems awarded a $45 million contract in July 2019.

The Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) Increment 1 prototype contract will require the M109A7’s current 39-caliber turret to be replaced with a 58-caliber, 30ft long gun barrel with the objective of creating firepower double the current range.

The 2020 budget also saw the army initiate a new project to look at a new 155mm Mobile Howitzer to complement the M777A2 towed howitzer, although funding is relatively small at just $3.1 million for analysis and $4.1 million for safety testing.

Another key capability, acquisition of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), will be completed in 2023, with funding then shifting to on-going development and sustainment of the platform along with the Extended Range (ER) Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), and the Precision Strike Missile.

​Matt Smith


​Matt Smith

Matt Smith is Director of Analysis at Shephard Media. He has over 15 years experience …

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