On December 31 of last year, a new defense bill was signed into law that further oversees the Pentagon’s transition away from a Cold War-style footing.
Predicated on the assumption that American forces will no longer be tasked with winning two simultaneous wars, the bill calls for a reduction of 80,000 soldiers from the Army; 20,000 soldiers from the Marines; and a significant reduction in human-piloted aircraft for the Air Force.
This is not to say that the DoD is getting stinted as far as new money. In fact, defense spending will actually increase over the next few years, just not as quickly as was originally intended. So, what is this new money going to be spent on? In a word, drones.
The Pentagon intends to increase the number of Predator and Reaper combat air patrols – that means squadrons of up to four drones – from the current number of 61 up to 85. Since many of these drones make extensive use of titanium in their construction, and given our long-time familiarity with titanium component fabrication at Ardel, we anticipate the likely opportunity of providing military spec parts for tomorrow’s combat drones. The Army may end up downsized to 490,000 active-duty and reserve personnel, but defense spending will continue to be a foundational corner stone of our nation’s economy for as much of the future that, as we can be certain of, lies ahead. Browse our machined parts gallery to see what we can do for the industry.