US ‘Replicator’ drone program to cost $500 million per year, Pentagon says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 2:35 PM

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Monday said the Pentagon plans to spend about $500 million annually on the plan to network and task thousands of cheap, smart combat drones for any future conflict.

The Pentagon’s “Replicator” program, announced last year, is an ambitious effort to quickly muster and deploy large numbers of cheap drones within 18 to 24 months.

Hicks told reporters at the Pentagon that in fiscal 2024 the Pentagon anticipated spending $500 million and in fiscal 2025 also “it’s around $500 million. That’s sort of the sum total of what we anticipate. This is a ‘pathfinder’, it’s largely about reducing barriers inside our system.”

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; editing by Susan Heavey and Sandra Maler)