The Biggest Weapons R&D Investments by the US Military This Year

Special Report

A truly effective and overpowering military in this modernized world has to be built with cutting-edge technology. For the U.S. military, keeping up with the latest technologies, researching and developing better ones, and upgrading systems – from networks to vehicles to weaponry – costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

To find how much – and on what – the U.S. military is spending on research and development, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Funding Bill, specifically the section of the bill that refers to Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, or RDT&E. The research programs are ranked in order of their total budget allocation.

The U.S. military’s RDT&E budget is roughly $131.7 billion. This is an increase of $1.6 billion from the original budget request and an increase of $12.5 billion from the previous year’s enacted bill.

Overall, the RDT&E-specific funding is allocated for the scientific research and development of new technologies, which will benefit the military in multiple capacities. Some of the budget is going towards developing new aircraft or missile technology, even new vehicles. Also, a fair amount is going towards improving cybernetic capabilities and infrastructure. (Not all of the weapons have the newest tech – these are America’s oldest weapons still in use by the military.)

While $132 billion might seem like a lot, it is the lowest category in the budget. The budget allocation for military personnel, which includes pay, totals $173 billion, for operation and maintenance the budget totals $269 billion, and for procurement it totals $144 billion. In all, the bill provides a total budget of $761.7 billion for the U.S. military, higher than every other country in military spending. (Also see, the countries that buy the most weapons from the U.S. Army.)

Here’s a look at what the Department of Defense is funding in its RDT&E section:

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