The US army is wearing out equipment four times faster than it was designed for at a cost of US$13bn, according to research by business analysts Frost & Sullivan.

In its US Department of Defence (DoD) 2008 Budget Analysis, the firm says the US army and Marine Corps are facing an investment crunch in equipment replacement while the expansion of brigades in both services requires greater investment in equipment procurement.

Frost & Sullivan says arms companies that understand the operational needs of units and provide interoperable and reliable products will stand out in the DoD market.

“The short-term trend to get armoured vehicles to the war zones and give troops some protection against improvised explosive devices has evolved into a concerted plan to upgrade all rolling stock,” analysts say.

“The DoD plans to spend about US$12,000m for vehicles such as Future Combat Systems, tactical trucks, Humvees, expeditionary fighting vehicles, Bradley sustainment, Strykers and Abrams modifications.”

Frost & Sullivan also say the DoD is increasingly turning to lead systems integrators (LSIs) to administer major programmes since the number of government employees available for such projects is insufficient.

“LSIs are looking to partner with smaller companies that can provide niche technologies, raw materials, precision manufacturing and unique services.

“LSIs can provide the infrastructure and security scaffolding for smaller firms to participate in the DoD market.”

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh