06 Jun 05. On Monday Dennis Muilenburg, program manager for Future Combat Systems (FCS) at Boeing gave an upbeat briefing as to the progress of the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems Project. “The Program got real once the Cost, Schedule and Performance requirement were inserted into the contract earlier this year,” a source told BATTLESPACE. Currently the Army is working to convert the current OTA contract to a FAR based contract by the end of Fiscal Year 2005. By using a Lead System Integrator the Army is employing the best of business practices while allowing the Army and Congress to maintain oversight and control. The cost performance has been judged at 101.5%, thus under costs and schedule 99.7% equivalent to 3 days behind schedule.
FCS is now in the SDD (System Development & Demonstration) phase. The FCS acquisition program was approved by the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) in May 03. The Program budget is now $20.9bn up from $15bn, this includes funding for 2 new UAV systems and the Armed Robotic Vehicle contract awarded to United Defense. A Milestone B Update is scheduled for 14 June 2005, a System-of-Systems Functional Review in August 05 and an Integration and Verification (IVO) in October 05. FCS will now meet the DoD requirement to deploy forces within 10 days of a threat with 3-7 days of Self-Sustainment. A number of spiral requirements have been identified, the first of these will be in 2008.
The Active Protection System is also being spiralled out with 12 solutions being offered by a number of contractors; the RFP will be issued in the coming months. Thales of Belfast is one company considering a bid. FCS has now been designated a Joint Services program with an Army and Marine Joint Program Office (JPO) being established.
Boeing opened its new Integration Laboratory at Huntsville in January to manage the FCS Network which will have 4 layers and 12 different software packages to integrate and interface with such systems as WIN-T, JTRS. It will have a Common Operating Environment and Open System Architecture to allow the plug-and-play of other systems
The first Risk Reduction Programme will take place in 2006 including UAVs and robots and 120 Prototype Manned Ground Vehicles will be fielded in 2008, the first being the 38 Calibre NLOS cannon. The first Unit of Action will be fielded in 2014 from the specially formed development unit. Both band track and hybrid drive systems have been mandated for the manned ground vehicles. The weight problems have been solved by making the vehicle weight for C-130 transport 185 tonnes and adding additional armour, ammunition and fuel on landing making 24 tonnes
The U.S. Army is now reforming into a new force consisting of: 15 FCS Units of Action (30% of the force), 45 Modular Brigade Combat Teams, a Heavy Brigade and an Infantry Brigade.