BAE Systems Awarded $130 Million  //  What Could That Money Fund?

BAE Systems Awarded $130 Million // What Could That Money Fund?

MK 45 in operation – image courtesy

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This is Part II of the North Star Post series on the local military industrial complex.

BAE Systems, which we previously covered in our piece on their futuristic weapons platform, the electromagnetic railgun, was awarded an $80 million defense contract from the US Navy on August 11th. The total cumulative contract may stretch to $130 million for the refurbishment and upgrade of MK 45 weapon systems for the Navy’s destroyer class vessels.

$80 million tax dollars to deliver and upgrade a total of six of these large caliber guns (cannons), and the option of $130 million for four additional MK 45 Mod 4 systems.

The Navy, every couple of years, upgrades these and other large weapon systems for various reasons. The Mod 4 upgrades will alter the control systems, reduce the overall signature of the weapons, and augment the capabilities and potentially increase the range of the MK 45.

BAE Systems boasts four decades of work on MK 45 weapons platforms, and final delivery for this contract is expected in 2020. Much of the work on this contract will be done in Louisville, Kentucky, “with support from Minneapolis,” according to a press release from BAE.

The arms manufacturer did not have to contend with other contractors as, according to, BAE offers “unique supplies available from only one source,” meaning the MK 45. These types of arrangements are common within the military industrial complex.

US military spending vs world spending
United States Military Spending vs Worldwide Spending

In the interest of thoroughness and also for curiosity’s sake, this author decided to examine what could be bought for $130 million for the benefit of the residents of Minneapolis. This comparative analysis provides context for how much a single (relatively small) defense contract actually costs in societal terms. The classic, “schools versus bombs” arguments have been made for decades, and this serves as an homage and more detailed examination of that thesis in today’s terms.

All figures cited come directly from the City of Minneapolis budget for 2015 .

For the low price of just ten MK 45 guns, the City of Minneapolis could pay for all of the following:

Full investment of redesign of Nicollet Mall – $3.5 million.
Body-cameras for Minneapolis Police – $1.14 million.
City Attorneys Dept. budget – $16.6 million.
Elections and voter services – $1.23 million.
Office of the City Clerk – $2.9 million.
City Council – $4.89 million.
Department of City Coordinators – $3.3 million.
includes the Office of Sustainability; Arts, Culture & Creative Economy initiatives; and the Office of Equitable Outcomes (aimed at diversifying government offices, etc.).
Minneapolis 311 services – $3.68 million.
City 911 Department – $9.6 million.
Office of Emergency Management – $1.9 million.
Communications Department – $2.39 million.
Target Center operating subsidy – $6.76 million.
City Human Resources Department – $9.1 million.
Civil Rights Department – $3.7 million.
includes the Office of Police Conduct Review, among other services.
Minneapolis Police Department Emergency Response Services – $6.88 million.
Minneapolis Police Department Special Crimes Investigations – $12.4 million.
Minneapolis Police Department Community Engagement – $1.57 million.
Garbage Collection – $15 million.
Bridge allocation – $2.995 million.
includes maintenance and repair of 600 vehicular and other bridges as well as water rescue support and bridge / storm-related emergency response.
Animal Control – $3 million.
Fire Inspection – $2.4 million.
Street Maintenance and Repair – $9.65 million.
Senior Services – $271,000.
Youth Violence Prevention – $657,000.
Sidewalk maintenance, plowing, etc. – $728,000.
Bicycle System Maintenance and Enhancement – $191,000.
..and still have roughly $3.6 million left unspent!

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