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INTEROPERABILITY KEY TO FCS/FRES DEVELOPMENT

08 Oct 03. Dennis Muilenburg of the Boeing FCS team gave his quarterly FCS update during AUSA. When asked by BATTLESPACE editor Julian Nettlefold whether FCS would dovetail into the UK’s FRES requirement he said that FRES is a totally separate requirement from FCS but both governments wanted interoperability on systems. He said that government-to-government MoU negotiations were taking place with regard to interoperability and any ITAR problems. He would not comment on our story last week regarding the possibility of FCS-partner SAIC being commissioned to write a study paper for the UK MoD on FRES. “FRES could be applicable to FCS was all that he would say.” Another BATTLESPACE source suggested that the most likely outcome was for the UK to have access to key FCS technologies for FRES.

ITAR is a hot potato at the moment given the ‘Buy American’ programme and thus it may prove more difficult for BAE SYSTEMS to claim the mantle of ‘Manager of US Systems Architecture’ as laid out by CEO Mike Turner at this year’s results briefing.

Muilenburg went on to outline developments in the programme and confirmed that 21 major packages had been awarded with 100 new companies wishing to participate. The OTA contract worth $14.9bn will run until December 2010, with a System-of-System PDR in spring 2005, following the baseline programme in late 2003. A Preliminary Design Review will take place in 2005, a Critical Design Review in 2006 and a Production contract awarded in 2010. An FCS HQ has been established at St Louis and a C4ISR facility in Seattle with other offices in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Huntsville and Orlando.

Muilenburg said that a number of ‘lessons learnt’ were coming out of the Iraq conflict which were feeding in to FCS. One of these was amore capable ISR function and better situational awareness and network robustness. In addition armouring requirements were being re-examined following RPG-7 attacks in urban warfare situations.

The wheels Vs tracks scenario would be completed by the end of 2004 and the Class 1 UAV contract has been delayed due to under performing technology. The Boeing-SAIC team ahs a joint project with DARPA to accelerate technology including new weapons fits. “2004 will be an intense year,” he concluded

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