US Rockets For Europe. Pentagon’s Operational Budget – The Main Source of Financing.
US Armed Forces are willing to acquire rocket artillery surface-to-surface projectiles, along with anti-tank rockets, all of which will be used for the purpose of bolstering the US presence in the Central-Eastern European region.
According to the Pentagon’s FY 2017 budgetary bill, it is expected that 698 GMLRS rockets are going to be acquired for the purpose of creating a valid inventory set deployed within the theatre, to deter the potential adversaries and support the European presence, within the framework of the European Reassurance Initiative.
The procurement will be financed with the use of assets accumulated within the Pentagon’s “operational” budget, contrary to the basic funds which are going to be used to acquire 1068 examples of the Alternative Warhead rockets, used to attack area targets. Deployment of the equipment is related to the activities outside the territory of the United States of America, and this means that these operations are not covered by the Budget Control Act and Bipartisan Budget Act defence expenditure limits.
Thus, it is plausible that MLRS or HIMARS rocket systems, prepared to support the land forces, are going to be deployed and stored in Europe. At the moment, M777 155 mm towed howitzers, and self propelled M109 platform still remain the heaviest American artillery land-based artillery weaponry which is being permanently stationed in Europe. They are being used by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and thy also constitute a part of the European Activity Set.
Within the framework of the Pentagon’s “operational” budget, 83 Javelin and 815 TOW ATGMs are going to be acquired. The latter systems constitute the armament of the Bradley IFV (more than 200 such vehicles are going to ultimately maintain permanent presence in Europe). 595 missiles are going to be acquired within the framework of the basic budget.
M270 MLRS systems were involved in exercise in Poland, just after Poland became a member state (Victory Strike). On the other hand, German MARS II systems were being used during the Saber Strike operation. Maximum range of the GMLRS weapons system is defined as at least 70 kilometres. GMLRS Missiles are an element of the HIMARS system offer, addressed to Poland within the scope of the Homar (Lobster) rocket artillery programme.
Procurement of the armament through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, the purpose of which is to cover the foreign operations, make it possible to go over the limitations of the Budget Control Act, forcing the Pentagon to limit its expenditure. However, this concerns solely the forces whose activities are realized within foreign deployments, also in the European operations. Thus, the Americans struggle to limit the procurement of a variety of munitions, compared to the original plans. This has a negative impact on the general capabilities of the US Forces.