Army alters funding again for integrated cyber, EW, SIGINT system to speed up delivery of ‘critical’ manpack version

The service is pursuing a Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT) capability.
The TLS Manpack solution consists of Kraken (left) and Beast+ (right) as shown at the CACI booth at AUSA. (Photo by Mark Pomerleau/Staff).

The Army has again altered procurement quantities and funding projections for a key electronic warfare system in order to accelerate delivery of a manpack version of the capability.

The Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT), being developed by Lockheed Martin, is the first integrated electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyber platform. The program will be a key enabler of Army priorities — considering the service has been without a program-of-record jammer for decades — and support multi-domain operations.

As initially conceived, the technology was to be designed for Stryker platforms. However, acquisition priorities shifted.

Budget documents released last year projected the Army would spend $196.1 million to procure 26 systems in fiscal 2025. Now, the Army is requesting $95.4 million for 54 systems, according to newly released fiscal 2025 budget justification documents.


The Army attributes the change in funding and quantities to prioritizing the TLS Manpack version — a series of two systems dismounted soldiers can use for jamming, signal direction finding and signals intelligence. The Army awarded a $1.5 million contract to Mastodon Design LLC, a CACI subsidiary, last year.

“The change in procurement quantities is reflective of our plan to accelerate the procurement and fielding of the TLS BCT Manpack, which is scheduled to begin this year. The Justification materials include 52 manpacks in FY24 and 51 in FY25, an increase from last year to accelerate the delivery of this critical capability to the field,” a spokesperson from program executive office for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, which runs the program, said in a statement to DefenseScoop.

Budget documents also note that procurement funding will go to Stryker variant systems as well.

This is the second year in a row that funding was altered in favor of the manpack solution.

Officials requested $14.7 million for research, development, test and evaluation funding for TLS-BCT in fiscal 2025. Budget documents released last year did not provide any RDT&E funding projections for the effort beyond fiscal 2024. New budget documents note the increase is to complete Army Multi-Purpose Vehicle variant prototypes and execute operational testing.


“The additional RDT&E in FY25 fully funds the 5-year MTA Rapid Prototyping program and completes required testing,” the spokesperson said.

The new documents also project a $7.1 million RDT&E request for fiscal 2026 but no funds beyond that. The spokesperson said that money is for ongoing efforts to maintain the relevancy of the system and keep pace with changes in the threat environment, noting this is expected to be an enduring requirement.

Movin’ on up (echelons)

For TLS-Echelon Above Brigade, the TLS-BCT’s larger cousin, the Army asked for $1.4 million in procurement funding for fiscal 2025.

A new start last year, the program is designed primarily for divisions, corps and Multi-Domain Task Forces to sense across greater ranges than its brigade counterpart. Lockheed Martin is also the lead contractor for that effort.


The Army altered its approach to the system, opting to tailor it to theaters rather than building a one-size-fits-all capability.

There was no procurement ask in last year’s budget documents, and funds this year will go toward pre-production planning and support for future contracting activities.

For R&D, the Army previously projected it would spend $42.8 million on the capability in fiscal 2025, but it requested $116.3 million in its latest budget proposal. Total cost to complete the program, according to last year’s documents, was $175.8 million — but this year’s documents project a $296.5 million price tag.

“The additional RDTE has been requested in FY25-FY26 to fully fund the 5-year Middle Tier Rapid Prototyping program. We are in year 2 of the 5-year prototyping effort, transitioning from concept design into the prototype build phase,” the Army spokesperson said. “Lessons learned from observation of ongoing operations have informed requirements. The program is maximizing the flexibilities that come with Middle Tier acquisition to update prototype designs to address the refined requirements for Multidomain operations.”

Budget documents note the first unit issued for the EAB system is slated for the third quarter of fiscal 2026.

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