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INDUSTRY MEETS FCS CHALLENGE

03 Mar 04. General Donald F. Schenk confirmed these remarks in a briefing to BATTLESPACE later that day. “We arte achieving all our milestones for FCS and Boeing expects its Integration facility in California to be operational later this year to test all the systems required for FCS.” He confirmed the vital requirement for interoperability for FCS, not only within the U.S. armed forces but also with its allies. “We are working closely with the U.K. in exchange of information and a number of exchange officers are based in David Hind’s office in the U.K. Discussions are underway for a government -to-government agreement on the interoperability of FCS and FRES but it is up to industry to arrange any joint developments and partnerships. The U.K. is about 12-18 months behind in the intelligence behind our lessons learnt with FCS but we believe that the sharing of these lessons learnt coupled with good management and good engineering practices should drive this interoperability forward,” he concluded.

DENNIS Mullenburg, FCS Director for Boeing outlined developments in the program and introduced the main partners for the program from Raytheon, UDLP, GD Honeywell and iRobot, a new team member coming from the FCXS Small Business Unit initiative. “In May 2004 we shall have a System -of Systems concept becoming functional in September, there will be a Milestone ‘B’ update in November. One of our aims this year is to integrate the developments from other FCS-related programs such as JTRS and OFW to ensure a common operating environment across the board,” He said. “Boeing is developing a common operating environment which will be available to all our exiting partners and successful bidding second-tier partners. Later on this year we will be conducting an integrated baseline review to ensure commonality. After all FCS involves many partner companies operating across 80 different congressional districts. GD and UDLP told BATTLESPACE that they are adding as much as 200 jobs each fore the program and FCS is brining both companies into new areas such as robotic vehicles and navigation systems. Honeywell is providing the PLQTFORM solution for Mission Readiness and Michael Cliff said that the company is achieving all its milestones. Joe Dyer of iRobot an MIT breakout company told the audience that his company had already supplied 24 robot systems to Iraq and was achieving all its FCS Milestones. He told BATTLESPACE later in the show that the company is working with John Deere to develop a robot version of its 6×6 Gator vehicle, which will enable a logistic flow to be created without manned interference. General Jack Costello told BATTLESPACE that Raytheon was providing the Battle Command and Mission execution segment of the program and was the Ground System Integrator. He is working to harmonize other Raytheon program such as Netfires and DCGS to integrate smoothly into the FCS environment. BAE Systems is a sub-partner on the ground systems segment together with Lockheed and SAIC who are working on the Battle Command and Mission Execution (BCME) system.

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