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By Scott Gourley

09 Sep 06. Against a backdrop of the recently-completed Initial Preliminary Design Review (IPDR), the US Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program is rapidly moving into it’s next milestone field event, designated “Experiment 1.1.”

Initial Preliminary Design Review

Referring to the recently-completed IPDR, Dennis Muilenburg, vice president and general manager, Future Combat Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, observed, “The Initial Preliminary Design Review” was one number one technical milestone for 2006.”

“It represents the culmination of a number of system engineering activities over the last year, where we finalized requirements; made sure that we understood the users’ requirements; translated those into design concepts that were compliant with cost, schedule, and risk parameters; wrapped up the system functional reviews that we conducted at the platform level; and was really a key ‘system of systems’ level milestone for us that now moves the program, looking forward, into the preliminary design phase,” he said.

“And it [also] sets in motion the Preliminary Design Reviews that will be conducted at the platform level over the next year and will ultimately roll up again to a system of systems level Preliminary Design Review in 2008,” he continued. “And, in addition to that systems engineering activity, it also represents a key milestone in terms of progress on the program. It wraps up our first major integration phase, which we referred to as ‘Integration Phase 0,’ and moves us into ‘Integration Phase 1.’ During Integration Phase 1 we will deliver our first set of capabilities to our soldiers, in the form of ‘Spinout 1,’ in 2008. And the review [completed early August 2006] gave us confirmation that that first spinout is right on track and we expect to deliver it right on schedule. It also represents a key milestone for us in terms of confirming the hardware and software deliveries overall continue to be on track; this includes major hardware prototypes across all the family of systems as well as ‘Build One’ software delivery. Then, finally, it confirms that we have a detailed roadmap for the program going forward that is aligned across all activities and provides the execution framework for the next two years.”

“[The IPDR] was a 4 ½ day review that really ‘tied the knot’ around the requirements flows to all the One Team partners that are building these FCS platforms for the BCT,” echoed Major General Charles A. Cartwright, Program Manager Future Combat Systems (Brigade Combat Team). “And the majority of time – 80 percent of the time – [it] was ‘What do we expect?’ ‘What will you build?’ for the next three or four years and ‘What do you expect to be delivered to you?’”

Cartwright continued, “We are now under a year – in fact, in about nine months – we will start putting our battle command, our SOSCOE, JTRS radios, tied to FBCB2 on an integrated computer system, integrating those into Abrams and Bradleys. Meanwhile, the first manned ground vehicle prototype – [Non Line of Sight – Cannon], is in Minneapolis right now putting all of the autoloader inside that chassis.”

“That’s automation,” he stressed. “And if you look at an FCS BCT, there are 324 more infantrymen on the ground than there is with a Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT). The equipment for the Heavy Brigade combat Team was designed in the 60s and 70s. It’s all manual task. So I’m going to take the soldiers who load a cannon today and replace them with automation and the network. Instead of 3 – 4 artillerymen loading a manual piece that will allow them to now become infantrymen; to be ready and to be deployed to meet the wars we are seeing today and the wars we will see in the coming years.”

Cartwright said that the IPDR also addressed the issue of batteries, noting “We have reduced over 50 percent of the different types of batteries.”

“So we’re in to those kinds of details in these re

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