The Department of Defense is seeking more than 3,400 new drones for fiscal year 2019 — more than four times higher than in 2018 — and in excess of $9 billion in unmanned systems spending, according to a new report.
The Center for the Study of the Drone at New York's Bard University looked at the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 and found that the DOD wants to increase the number of air, ground, and sea drones by 3,447. The total proposed budget for unmanned systems is $9.39 billion, a 26 percent jump from fiscal year 2018.
Thirty-four different unmanned systems would be purchased under the proposal.
The 2018 budget called for the purchase of 807 drones.
Other key details in the report:
- The Navy and Marines top drone spending in the 2019 budget request with $3.766 billion, followed by the Air Force ($2.636 billion) and the Army ($1.701 billion).
- A fleet of 6,045 air drones is included in the proposed budget, followed by 982 sea drones and 429 ground drones. Also in the fleet are 1,052 counter-drones and 866 autonomy, teaming, and swarming drones.
- The entire proposed drone fleet for the U.S. military is 9,390.
- Funding for counter-drone systems would increase by 99 percent from fiscal year 2018.
It was reported Tuesday, meanwhile, that Russia is now jamming U.S. drones flying over Syria. That could cause the drones to crash.
The military has used drones to conduct combat missions and strike enemy targets for years in the Middle East. In recent months, the Department of Defense has stepped up its development efforts as it faces threats from other drones, operated by enemy forces as well as members of the public who fly them into restricted airspace.
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