22 Nov 02. The Boeing-led FCS Lead Systems Integrator Team, which consists of Boeing, SAIC, DARPA and the U.S. Army made a tour of European Defence Companies and institutions offering the opportunity to bid on the huge $45bn Future Combat Systems Project (FCS), with $22-24bn to be spent between FY ’03-’08, the 2002 U.S. Army Budget is £90bn. Block II FCS development will commence in FY ’04. The Concept & Technology demonstrator programme will run for 15 months until the end of June ’03. The next phase will be a 39 Month, Milestone ‘C’ programme continuing to FY ’06. October 10, 2002, Boeing, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Future Combat Systems (FCS) team received a green light from the government on the program ‘go/no go’ decision that ensures it will continue as the industry lead for this critical Army program.
“The “go/no’ go review was, in essence, an ‘off ramp’ for the government that was built into the FCS contract and for a good reason,” said Jerry McElwee, Boeing vice president and program manager for FCS. “The concept of an industry lead systems integrator (LSI) was so revolutionary that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Army wanted an opportunity to reaffirm their choice of the LSI early in this phase of the program.
“Close collaboration between DARPA, the Army, the LSI, and industry is absolutely essential to meeting the demanding schedule.”
The timing of the ‘go/no go’ decision was tied contractually to the second FCS interim program review (IPR), which was completed recently at the FCS facility in Anaheim and briefed last week to top government officials in Washington.
“This second IPR, which was held just six months into the program, showed that significant progress has been made,” said Col. William Johnson, DARPA FCS program manager. “The team has met or exceeded all the objectives for the current phase of the program; they are on budget and on schedule.”
Lt. Colonel Krivog of the U.S. Army FCS Team told BATTLESPACE, “FCS is a key U.S. Army initiative to provide a Network Centric System to the U.S. Army and its allies, seamlessly linking the systems in a Network Centric, not Platform centric, network. Interoperability is the key to the success of this system, as underlined by Secretary Rumsfeld, and to that end we have had close co-operation with teams form the U.K., Canada and Australia in formulating the networks requirements for FCS. We hoe at the conclusion of the studies that the systems will operate with all our allies without the need for expensive interfaces. We are adapting each platform and developing a system of systems to merge, employ and deploy all forces as one unit, creating a Global Information Grid.” He continued, “We cannot continue to chase the Tiger of Technology so each contract requires incremental development and improvement to the technology over a period of time, creating long-term working relationships between the LSI and industry. We hope to field the first FCS Brigade in FY ’08 with IUOC in ’10, with FRIP in ’12 at 3 Units per year with full deployment in FY ’32. As an interim a full Digitized Attack Corps, stationed at Fort Hood and the Stryker Brigades are acting as our Interim Force to meet any new threat.”
Jack Paul, Boeing Manager of FCS Strategic Development, told BATTLESPACE, “International co-operation is vital to the success of FCS, to that end we have already placed a large number of sub-contracts for FCS with industries here and in the USA. For the BIA FCS requirement issued in March, 3000 proposals were received for 44 BIAs with 147 contracts awarded to 147 suppliers, BIA2 received 68 proposals of which 48 were awarded to different suppliers.” He continued,” We are making the bidding process as easy as possible using advanced on-line processes which we aim to process within 10 days of receipt.”
Systems required under FCS include 8 manned ground system vehicles (wheeled or tracked), including C2, Recce