Posts Tagged ‘FCS’

Future Combat System Faces Cuts

January 7, 2009
The US Army stresses the importance of the FCS  Future Combat System in the face of impending program cuts.
Read more at the El Paso Times 

Boeing and Creative Technologies Train US Soldiers for War

December 13, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

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Boeing has announced a teaming arrangement with Creative Technologies Inc. (CTI) of Hollywood, Calif., to explore new training solutions for the military and law enforcement. The agreement brings together Boeing’s expertise in aviation training systems and CTI’s experience in game-based simulations for ground forces training.

“This agreement allows us to take what we do well and translate it into new possibilities for Boeing in the ground training and simulation arena,” said Mark McGraw, vice president for Training Systems and Services, a division of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Global Services and Support. “We are committed to finding new ways to use the talents of both companies to expand the services we’re able to offer the military.”

The agreement formalizes an ongoing relationship — CTI is a contributor to the Boeing Future Combat Systems program, and Boeing and CTI are partners in the U.S. Army’s Fires Center of Excellence integration effort at Fort Sill, Okla. The Army approached Boeing and CTI to offer guidance in developing an organization and a training strategy to consolidate the Army’s Air Defense Artillery School and Center, previously based at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the Field Artillery School and Center based at Fort Sill. The Boeing-CTI team is making recommendations for potential synergies and long-term training strategies while developing a technology plan to support current and future Fires Center of Excellence missions.

“We’re excited to combine Boeing’s industry leadership and broad range of capabilities with CTI’s know-how, relationships and agility,” said CTI President and CEO James Korris. “Simulation for ground forces and law enforcement is still, in many ways, in its infancy; we look forward to helping shape this evolving market. We’ve had a great run with Boeing. We’re thrilled to be their teammate.”

One possible area of growth is deployable field-artillery training for soldiers who are either in-theater or home between deployments. “These trainers would be designed to travel to a soldier’s home base or directly to the front lines to keep our warfighters current on their artillery skills,” said McGraw.

Infantry to Get NLOS-LS Precision Rocket Artillery

November 25, 2008

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The Infantry Brigade Combat Team is about to get more lethal. With the Army’s decision in June to transition Future Combat Systems technologies to the light infantry force, the Non-Line of Sight-Launch System is slated to join the IBCT’s portfolio of weapon systems in 2011.

The NLOS-LS will provide the IBCT commander with an extended range, precision attack capability that enhances the lethality and responsiveness of the IBCT on the current and future battlefields. As an organic weapon system, the brigade commander will “own” the NLOS-LS, thus dramatically improving the ability to conduct precision fire missions, while reducing reliance on external strike assets.

The Infantry Brigade Combat Team is organized around dismounted infantry with the mission to conduct offensive operations against conventional and unconventional forces in restrictive terrain. The IBCT is also capable of executing airborne and air assault missions making it more suitable for restrictive terrain operations than other types of BCTs.

The NLOS-LS is capable of unattended/unmanned operations under all weather conditions and can be deployed via Humvee/FMTV truck, UH-60 sling load, or C-130 airdrop. Armed with 15 precision attack missiles, it is capable of engaging a variety of armored and unarmored targets, both moving and stationary, on current and future battlefields.

This capability will give the commander flexibility in engaging time-sensitive targets, as well as engagements that require precision to avoid collateral damage. It also extends the fire support range of the brigade commander.

In addition to the NLOS-LS system, the Army intends to spin out other selected FCS technologies to the IBCT force. The systems include Network Integration Kits, Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles, the Class I Unmanned Air Systems, and Unattended Ground Sensors. Together, these technologies will increase the situational awareness of the IBCT commander and ultimately improve the lethality and survivability of the IBCT on future battlefields.

The NLOS-LS is one of the FCS program’s 14 core systems. Future Combat System is the Army’s leading modernization program to develop manned and unmanned systems linked by a common network and equipped with leading edge technology.

The NLOS-LS Project Office is located at Redstone Arsenal within the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space. The NLOS-LS is under development by the NetFires LLC, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Frederick Hughes

FCS Active Protection System in ‘Top 50’ inventions

November 24, 2008

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The Army’s new Active Protection System, which is designed to safeguard Soldiers and vehicles from incoming fire, has been named one of the best inventions of 2008 by Time magazine.

“Think of [it] as Star Wars for Soldiers,” said Time magazine in its Nov. 10 edition. The APS “will automatically detect an incoming round and then launch a missile to destroy it, all within a split second.”

The Army is developing APS as part of its Future Combat Systems ground-force modernization program. FCS is designed to bring Soldiers into the 21st century by equipping them with state-of-the-art vehicles, communication capabilities, sensors and protective systems.

The APS is actually part of a more comprehensive “hit-avoidance system” that the Army is building into a suite of eight new FCS Manned Ground Vehicles types. This more comprehensive hit-avoidance system will give the Soldiers in the MGVs “full-scale 360-degree hemispherical protection,” said FCS Program Manager Maj. Gen. Charles A. Cartwright.

Current Army vehicles lack this level of protection because, he said, they were designed more than a generation ago, before the information technology revolution of the past quarter-century.

Metastasizing Threats

According to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, American servicemen and women face a proliferating array of new and more sophisticated threats, which, if not addressed, will jeopardize American lives and mission success.

“The threats are getting more dangerous,” said TRADOC’s Deputy Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Vane. “Technology proliferation is creating a dangerous mix of state-of-the-art technology, radical extremists, and irregular tactics.

“Future Combat Systems, the MGVs, the hit-avoidance system, APS,” he added ― “these all will protect our Soldiers against a variety of changing threats and address current force limitations.”

The Army’s Active Protection System is still in development, but has proven itself in live-fire testing. Hit-avoidance prototypes, moreover, are scheduled for delivery in 2011, said Maj. Lewis Phillips, assistant product manager.

Current-Force Limitations

In the meantime, elements of the FCS survivability system are being incorporated into current Army vehicles on a limited basis. Because of inherent design limitations due to their age, current Army vehicles cannot accommodate a comprehensive hit-avoidance system, officials said.

In addition to being equipped with active protection, the new Army vehicles, or MGVs, also are being designed with an independent hull structure, in which armor is bolted onto the vehicle. This allows for frequent armor upgrades to accommodate technological advances.

The armor on current-force vehicles, by contrast, is integrated throughout the structure of the vehicle. Current force vehicles, consequently, have a very limited ability to accommodate better and more modern armor protection, officials said.

IED Protection

Current-force vehicles ― the Abrams Tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle ― also were not specifically designed to withstand attack from Improvised Explosive Devices.

The new FCS vehicles, by contrast, are being designed with a v-shaped hull, specifically to help diffuse IED blasts. And the seating inside the MGVs will be suspended from the ceiling of the vehicle to further reduce the shock and trauma of an IED blast.

Army officials said this is significant because, for many of America’s enemies, IEDs have become the weapon of choice.

IED attacks, in fact, account for the majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and are a leading cause of brain injury to American servicemen and women. By separating occupants from the floor of the vehicle, which absorbs the blast, Soldiers will suffer much less trauma and injury, Army officials said.

Quick Kill

The FCS Active Protection System is being developed by Raytheon. Raytheon won the contract from the FCS program after participating in an open competition that involved other key competitors and competitor systems.

A team of 21 technical experts from various U.S. government agencies, the Army and private-sector industry evaluated competing Active Protection Systems. According to the Government Accountability Office, the team reached “a clear consensus… [that] Raytheon’s Quick-Kill system was the best alternative.”

Army officials said that one key advantage of the Raytheon APS is its vertical launch system, which protects against top-attack rounds. They said this gives Soldiers true 360-degree hemispherical protection.

The FCS Active Protection System “is the only available vertical launch system that I’m aware of,” Lewis said. Other Active Protection Systems out on the market employ horizontal launch systems and thus do not provide total vehicular protection.

A vertical launch system, Phillips said, allows for redundant protection from all sides of the vehicle. One countermeasure situated anywhere on the vehicle can defeat any incoming round. Horizontal launch systems lack this capability, Phillips said.

John Guardiano

Boeing JTRS Ground Mobile Radios Team Demonstrates Integrated Communications

November 21, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office, Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) have demonstrated how software-defined Ground Mobile Radios (GMRs) are able to operate with one another in a tactical operational environment.

The monthlong demonstration of the Joint Tactical Radio System, Ground Mobile Radios (JTRS GMR) system concluded Oct. 3 and included a 12-node, secure, self-healing, multichannel network operating in the field at the Electronic Proving Grounds at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The test verified the evolving maturity of the GMR system in preparation for a government-run system integration test in late 2009.

“The team was able to communicate with voice, video and data communications across the network as vehicles continuously moved through scenarios,” said Ralph Moslener, Boeing JTRS GMR program manager.

The extensive field experiment involved over-the-air operations using pre-engineering development models that were running the GMR operating system as well as the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) and the JTRS Wideband Networking Waveform Network Manager (JWNM) — all in various network and platform configurations. The team verified that 80 percent of the final WNW waveform design is complete. The current version of the WNW demonstrated the system’s stability and mobility, as multiple moving vehicles communicated in a live environment.

The testing also analyzed the JWNM’s situational awareness and position location reporting system. This network-management software automates initialization and deployment of the JTRS radios and management of the network.

“Numerous scripted tests with various data modes, frequencies and distances were executed by the Boeing team and analyzed by government personnel during the field event,” said Moslener. “The tests included demonstrating a 12-node static and mobile test on a flat network using three GMRs in fixed locations, five mounted on U.S. Army High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, and four mounted on Future Combat Systems (FCS) vehicles with GMR configurations and antennas.”

This demonstration concludes eight months of successful field tests, including the ground domain field demonstration conducted in March as part of the program’s incremental development plan. JTRS GMR is included in the FCS “B-kits” that were tested in the U.S. Air Force-led Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008 in April as well as the July FCS exercise in New Mexico.

The JTRS GMR system, a key enabler of network-centric communications, delivers transformational networked communications on-the-move at the tactical edge to support information sharing and combat readiness between service branches. It puts the full power of the Global Information Grid into the hands of the warfighter and takes network situational awareness beyond the Tactical Operations Center.

US shouldn’t sacrifice tanks, Bradleys for FCS

October 31, 2008
Stryker

Stryker

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ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 28 (UPI) — Pentagon policymakers tentatively decided last weekend to terminate a competition for the military’s next generation of communications satellites.

The program was supposed to give each warfighter easy, secure access to the global information grid as part of the joint force’s migration to networked warfare.

The plan now is to restart the satellite program as a less costly effort on a stretched-out schedule, but the more likely outcome is that the program simply dies for lack of support in the new administration. That would be a real tragedy, leading to the avoidable deaths of many warfighters who cannot obtain timely links via other means.

Setting aside the utter lack of transparency in this last, misguided decision by a failed administration, what lesson might be learned from the satellite’s termination?  Read Loren Thompson’s entire editorial

Army touts ability to adjust FCS to changing threats

October 9, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said on October 6 that he expects the service will continue to make changes to Future Combat Systems, the cornerstone of its modernization efforts, to better position the Army to counter changing threats. Speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting, Geren said the Army’s current plans for the program are a “good way ahead now.” But any long-term transformation program like FCS is “going to evolve as the threat evolves,” the former Texas House member said. “That is the nature of the beast.”

In June, the Army announced that it would focus on fielding FCS first to infantry brigades, marking a major departure from initial plans that called for sending the first batch of war-fighting technologies to heavy units. Infantry brigades, which have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, will begin receiving pieces of FCS in 2011– three years earlier than planned. FCS is a system of manned and unmanned air and ground vehicles tied together by a complex electronic network.

Both Geren and Army Chief of Staff George Casey emphasized in comments today that the Army remains committed to the FCS program, the largest and most expensive development program in the service’s history.

Read the entire article at NextGov

Army touts ability to adjust FCS to changing threats

October 8, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said today that he expects the service will continue to make changes to Future Combat Systems, the cornerstone of its modernization efforts, to better position the Army to counter changing threats. Speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting, Geren said the Army’s current plans for the program are a “good way ahead now.” But any long-term transformation program like FCS is “going to evolve as the threat evolves,” the former Texas House member said. “That is the nature of the beast.”

Read more at Congress Daily

Army Accelerates Deployment of Future Combat System (FCS)

June 27, 2008

The Army is accelerating Future Combat Systems capabilities to delivery of key cutting-edge technologies to Soldiers in infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs), according to an Army press release.

Over the last five years, IBCTs have been in the highest demand during combat operations. As a result of capability gaps found in the IBCTs, the Army is adapting to accelerate the FCS and complementary programs to provide necessary capabilities to infantry units first, active and National Guard. These capabilities will increase Soldier and unit effectiveness and survivability during offense, defense and stability operations.
These “spin outs” of FCS capabilities for IBCTs include Tactical and Urban Unattended Ground Sensors; Non Line of Sight-Launch System, and network kits with software for Humvees. Additionally, the Class I Block 0 Unmanned Air Vehicle and the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) are added to the spin out for fielding to IBCTs.


“We’re listening to our Soldiers and commanders in the field; and we’re listening to our senior civilian leadership, both in the Congress and within the Department of Defense,” said Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey, Jr. “They all want this new FCS gear and equipment sooner rather than later; and we’re in a position to deliver. These technologies are maturing pretty fast.”


Starting in July 2008, the FCS equipment will undergo a preliminary – limited user test (P-LUT) focused on infantry operations at Fort Bliss, Texas. The P-LUT will shift from the previously scheduled Heavy BCT Limited User Test. The results from this testing effort will support doctrine, organization, training and material development efforts. The formal LUT scheduled in FY09 will become the basis of the spin out acquisition decision.


The official request comes from the Army’s ongoing review of the entire FCS program, and reflects the decision to move more aggressively to support current operations with FCS capabilities. In conjunction with these changes to focus on infantry first, the Army will submit a reprogramming request to align funding with this decision.

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Data Courtesy US Army 

Future Combat System to Reach Infantry Units by 2011

June 27, 2008
US Army Stryker Brigade soldiers hunker down in Iraq. Posters and art prints of US Army Stryker infantry fighting vehicles are available from our own patriotic art gallery at http://www.cafepress.com/TEAMultimedia/847658

Stryker Brigade Soldiers Hunker Down in Iraq

The U.S. Army, seeking to demonstrate the relevance of its most expensive weapons program, Boeing Co.‘s Future Combat Systems, will give some of the new equipment first to infantry rather than armored units, reports Bloomberg.com.

The armored units haven’t been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan as often as infantry brigades. The Army is under pressure from Congress and the Bush administration to show that the $159 billion system of radios, ground sensors, manned vehicles and missile launch systems can be effective in current conflicts.

Some Army infantry brigades will get the equipment starting in 2011 read more at Bloomberg.com