The U.S. Department of Defense awarded 94 contracts worth over $5 billion, including purchases for spy satellites, body armor and drones, on Sept. 30, the day before the government shutdown and at the end of the federal fiscal year.
The contracts include an extreme range of weapon, infrastructure and equipment to various military branches including (with prices in front):
- $48,600,000: Operation support for spy satellites - $49,813,377: MQ-9 Reaper drones for France - $40,000,000: scalable hand grenades which allows users to choose the level of the blast “needed for the situation.” - $25,693,160: Construction of a Weapons Surveillance and Test Laboratory - $18,132,000: Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System
The Air Force contracts in particular focused on sophisticated surveillance tech, including the aforementioned drones, spy satellite support, and logistics for a fleet of spy planes.
One Army contract, worth $246,699,217, procured “Interceptor Body Armor Outer Tactical Vests for various foreign military sales customers.”
The Defense Dept. made these enormous purchases regardless of the government shutdown.
“Despite the threat of sequestration, we note that defense players like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co. and The Boeing Co. have continued to receive small as well as sizable contracts,” reads a press release by Zacks Equity Research. “Indeed, the latest handout from the DoD worth $10.92 billion is approximately equal to two weeks’ worth of contracts at any other time of the year.”
The Pentagon did cut funding in some areas, however, as a result of the budget impasse in Congress: Army, Navy and Air Force college football games and other sport competitions have been suspended.