U.S. war corporations are thrilled with the growth industry that unmanned aircraft represent. Below are all of the contracts involving drones that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued from the beginning of January through the end of March 2018. DOD spent at least $3,945,000,000 on thirty drone contracts during this time. That is enough money to pay a year’s salary to 98,625 public school teachers [.pdf]. War is indeed a racket.

 

AECOM (URS) received $33,735,531 to provide ISR support to USCENTCOM. Increasingly, war corporations are operating the drones in addition to providing the relevant maintenance and support equipment.

 

AeroVironment Inc. received $9,323,145 for Switchblade contractor logistics support. Relatively short CLS contracts allow a war corporation to repeatedly bilk the Pentagon out of money in exchange for brief maintenance periods.

 

Alion Science & Technology (AST) received $13,549,993 to work on prototypes of unmanned vehicles and unmanned weapons. These projects deal with warfare in littoral & riverine environments.

 

Ausley Associates Inc., Bowhead Science & Technology, Precise Systems Inc., and Tekla Research received a shared $205,561,000 for NAVAIR unmanned systems program management.

 

Boeing received $8,257,640 for more RQ-21A Blackjack interim contractor support. This includes logistics, training, field service reps, and data reporting.

 

Boeing received $47,037,076 for eight ScanEagle systems in support of “Building Partnership Capacity” in Afghanistan. These ScanEagles include spares, equipment, program management, and a field service rep. “Building Partnership Capacity” is often paid for using Afghan Security Forces funding, which comes from U.S. taxpayers.

 

BAE Systems; Boeing; Booz Allen Hamilton; Cubic; L-3; Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman; Raytheon; Rockwell Collins received a shared $496,000,000 for work on datalinks in support of tactical platforms and time-sensitive applications. This contract, featuring some of the biggest profiteers in the war industry, will purportedly help DOD cope with increased amounts of drone data and different formats of SIGINT, GEOINT, and video.

 

Dyncorp received $110,794,370 for aircraft maintenance & logistics on all aircraft & support equipment for Naval Test Wing Atlantic (NTWL). This includes unmanned aircraft.

 

General Atomics received $12,400,000 for repair and technical assistance to the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear systems. Traditional aircraft launch systems use steam power. GA’s EMALS aims to replace the traditional steam launchers on many aircraft carriers.

 

General Atomics received $11,430,408 for MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 kits. A ‘block’ is basically a version of a given weapon of war, so consider block 5 kits to be version 5.0.

 

General Atomics received $14,151,324 for MQ-9 Block 5 kits. This includes Barrett Asymmetrical Digital Datalink Computer (BADDC) Routers, which boost the amount of data MQ-9 vehicles can transmit and receive.

 

General Atomics received $49,336,683 to develop, field, and sustain MQ-9 software development. General Atomics received $295,654,506 for FY2017 MQ-9 production.

 

George Mason University received $25,520,067 for Mobile Unmanned / Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network (MUDLAN). This program tries to enhance communications and connectivity among small, unmanned aircraft.

 

iRobot and Foster-Miller Inc. received a shared $429,082,857 to deliver run-off test assets, Common Robotic Systems (CRS), and production representative systems. Though not aerial vehicles, Common Robotic Systems are unmanned devices, particularly useful for ordnance disposal.

 

Leidos Inc. received $75,110,227 to operate and sustain the Night Eagle on “contingency operations,” presumably in Afghanistan and around the globe.

 

L-3 received $8,177,812 for MQ-1 Predator Mission Aircrew Training System Block 30 retrofit communication kits and simulator seats. Even though the MQ-1 Predator is being retired and phased out in favor of the MQ-9 Reaper, lucrative contracts are still issued for the MQ-1.

 

L-3 received $90,000,000 for electro-optical and infrared sensors.

 

University of Missouri-Kansas City received $7,703,051 for short pulse research & evaluation and weight & power demonstration for counter small UAS.

 

Northrop Grumman received $12,500,000 for Hunter UAS engineering services.

 

Northrop Grumman received $13,219,000 for Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) payload operations and support.

 

Northrop Grumman received $27,000,000 for more Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM) command & control system tactical defense measures. This includes Counter-Unmanned Aerial System technology. Northrop Grumman received $34,379,834 for maintenance & training on C-RAM command & control.

 

Raytheon and Palantir received a shared $876,000,000 for Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) Capability Drop 1. Palantir has engaged in a long legal battle in order to tender its version of the DCGS-A.

 

Systems Application & Technologies Inc. (SA-TECH) received $8,635,457 for maintenance on aerial & seaborne assets used for manned & unmanned training and testing.

 

Textron received $28,240,414 for contractor logistics support of fielded One System remote video terminal (OSRVT) systems.

 

Textron received $15,670,445 for unmanned aircraft systems ISR services at Bagram and Kandahar airfields in Afghanistan. Similar to AECOM, Textron is a war corporation that operates drones in addition to providing the maintenance and equipment.

 

Textron (Bell) received $9,852,575 for Bell 407 airframes, components, and storage. The 407 is the helicopter model on which the MQ-8 Fire Scout is built.

 

URS received $961,000,000 for remotely piloted aircraft (MQ-1, MQ-9, RQ-4) operations and maintenance support. URS received $15,843,950 for program support on Air Combat Command's UAS Operations Center. URS claims it will provide DOD with long-term, real time surveillance, and precise attack capabilities against a variety of targets.