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17 Jun 02. During Army 2002, the BAE SYSTEMS-led LANCER team showed off its technical demonstrator vehicle. The programme has successfully reached a further major milestone on the joint UK/US Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment Requirement/Future Scout Cavalry System (TRACER/FSCS) programme with the start of full systems field testing of the Medium Weight armoured integrated demonstrator (ID) vehicle at the Larkhill and Hurn ranges, United Kingdom. The test programme involved several weeks of activity supported by UK and US Army crews.

These tests represent the final stage of the TRACER/FSCS Project Definition/Advanced Technology Demonstrator (PD/ATD) phase, which began in February 1999. Lessons learnt will now feed future development programmes including the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) in the UK and Future Combat System (FCS) in the USA.

A major aim of TRACER/FSCS was to identify and reduce the risks of employing leading-edge technologies for use in future full-scale design and manufacture programmes, for Medium Weight vehicles operating in the digitized battlespace.

Within the systems integration environment supplied by BAE SYSTEMS C4ISR, the LANCER team partner companies met the challenge of the PD/ATD phase by combining world-class expertise in all the main sub-systems such as sensors, C4I applications, electronic controls, communications, mobility and survivability. Consequently, all the key functional areas of the LANCER fully integrated demonstrator vehicle feature the latest, de-risked emerging technologies applicable to future land systems environment solutions:
* A fully integrated C-130 transportable system design
* An innovative mast-mounted sensor suite featuring extended range FLIR, optical and radar sub-systems
* Advanced C4I applications and communications: multi-band, multi-mode radios, with the FBCB2 as the demonstrated option for an integrated battle management system
* Enhanced survivability employing, amongst other features, signature management, lightweight armour and a crew citadel
* Data fusion of on-board information with tactical internet data through a C3I suite of radios and electronics provides the crew with the ability to report or engage with indirect fire and precision munitions while outside of enemy weapons range
* Open electrical, electronic and software vetronics architectures
* A highly lethal 40mm calibre weapon using unique cased telescoped ammunition and advanced fire control
* Lightweight band track and advanced suspension design
* Hybrid electric drive and Lithium-Ion batteries
* Advanced ‘cockpit-style’ crew stations with highly flexible multi-screen displays and an associated intuitive soldier-machine interface jointly developed with Army users

The technologies demonstrated during the programme will support the successful development of FRES or any similar Medium Weight family of vehicles concept.

LANCER team members include, the Leicester, United Kingdom based Land Systems team of BAE SYSTEMS C4ISR, United Defense LP, San Josè, California, manufactured the Future Mobility Platform, Alvis Vehicles Ltd and raytheon Company.

Comment: The Lancer vehicle shown at Army 2002 demonstrated a number of key new technologies which will form the basis for inclusion in the FRES programme. A number of them such as hybrid electric drive require further development as the vehicle can only travel for 3kms on electric drive and if one electric motor is knocked out the vehicle cannot steer on the remaining motor. This was one of the reasons why the SIKA team steered away from hybrid electric drive.

One of the concerns of both Lancer and SIKA teams is their ability to retain the exiting teams and continue development once the budget has expired. Any slip in the FRES programme will jeopardise these team formations which will be a sad reflection on the huge sums, some $141m invested in the T

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