Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar
Origin: United States of America
Boeing, General Dynamics, SAIC and United Defense
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Description: The Future Combat Systems (FCS) are a family of modular networked vehicles, also called system of systems, being developed to meet the US Army requirements for 21st century ground warfare. Eventually they will replace all-known vehicles in the US Army inventory assuming direct and indirect fire missions. The FCS network will include vehicles, sensors and weapons. The FCS vehicles will include the Non-Line-of-Sight cannon (NLOS-C), the Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar (NLOS-M), Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV), a robotized mule for infantry squad support, infantry carrier, maintenance and recovery, medical evacuation etc. The NLOS-C will benefit from the technology developed under the Crusader program with an automated ammunition handling and laser ignition. The weight of these vehicles tracked or wheeled will be around 20 tons. The FCS initiative will be a real breakthrough, if fielded as predicted. The FCS includes about 18 manned and unmanned ground and airborne platforms, also referred to as the FCS 18 core systems.
The FCS vehicles will feature multi-spectral stealth technology as well as unprecedented lightweight armor combining titanium, high strength aluminum, polymer composites and ceramics. Stealth and armor will provide increased survivability over current deployed ground vehicles. In fact, the FCS armor will be comparable to the 70 tons Abrams armor. The lightweight armor of the FCS vehicle will permit to be C-130 transportable achieving rapidly deployable combat brigades and divisions. Currently heavyweight brigades and divisions are transported to the theater of operations by ship. The propulsion system is currently under development and would be able to operate in three modes (hybrid electric, engine-only and battery-only) providing superior mobility and silent operations.
The FCS will be provided with a new generation of smart munitions being developed under different programs and will be fully interoperable with others US military branches. A networked system means that the FCS ground vehicles will communicate continuously to other platforms, such as UAVs, through a tactical internet relaying potential targets coordinates and enemy and friendly forces location. A networked ground force will be able to defeat any non-networked enemy force, even if the FCS systems are outnumbered, through optimizing the friendly forces resources and superior situational awareness. The US Army calls for a first FCS-equipped unit by 2008. According to some sources the RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter would be the first system of the FCS initiative. This claim was dismissed in 2004 following Comanche program cancellation and the US Army aiming at the UCAR to accomplish the attack helicopter role.
In July 2004, the US Army renewed its commitment to the FCS program accelerating the introduction of initial FCS capabilities beginning in 2008. More than 30 modular brigades will be equipped with FCS capabilities until 2014, when the first FCS unit of action will enter service. To accomplish that goal the US Army will add up to $6.4 billion of funds to the current $14.78 billion Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) SDD (System Development and Demonstration) phase. On August 9, 2004, Boeing and the US Army singed the OTA modification contract to set a ceiling of $6.4 billion additional funds to match the goals established in July 2004. It is expected that the total amount of funds allocated to OTA modification will be definitized in early 2005. In May 2005 (5/11/2005), General Dynamics Land Systems received a $282 million modification to its $2 billion contract to develop the family of Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV).
On 16 August 2005, General Dynamics Land Systems selected the 5L890 engine manufactured by Detroit Diesel Corporation to power the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles. Up to 47 engines were expected to be delivered through 2011 by Detroit Diesel to undergo evaluation installed on the FCS ground vehicles. The FCS program was cancelled in 2011.
The FCS NLOS-M was intended as a mortar carrier vehicle.
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