Senate bill would cut IFPC prototype funding

By Ethan Sterenfeld / October 26, 2021 at 10:02 AM

The Senate Appropriations Committee proposed cutting funding for the accelerated acquisition of the Army's Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 prototypes in a draft of its fiscal year 2022 spending bill.

Senate appropriators would provide $163 million for IFPC Increment 2, a $71 million reduction from the $234 million the Army included in its budget request. The draft bill described the requested amount of prototype purchases under an Other Transaction Agreement as “early to need.”

Dynetics won the competition last month to build IFPC Increment 2, also known as Enduring IFPC, which will provide a kinetic defense against cruise missiles. Dynetics beat Rafael’s Iron Dome system, which Congress had previously forced the Army to buy as the first increment of IFPC.

Of the Army’s IFPC request, $151 million would have gone to development, integration and manufacturing for Increment 2. The $71 million cut proposed in the Senate bill would apply to that part of the program.

The Army plans to field a battery of 12 IFPC Increment 2 launchers by the end of FY-23, while prototyping and development continues on the system. According to the current schedule, a milestone C decision and the beginning of low-rate initial production could come in FY-24.

Dynetics and the Army have declined to discuss the system’s performance in a shoot-off this year against the Iron Dome. Army officials have emphasized that the shoot-off and the selection were about the system’s ability to talk to the service’s Sentinel radar and Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, not its current ability to intercept threats.

Iron Dome systems that the Army has already bought cannot communicate with the service’s radars and command-and-control systems.

In its own version of the FY-22 defense spending bill, the House Appropriations Committee proposed a smaller cut to IFPC development. That bill, which was released before Dynetics won the competition, would have given $221 million for IFPC, a $13 million reduction from the Army’s request.