The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and partner Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), as the Lead Systems Integrator for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, today celebrated the unveiling of the FCS Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) firing platform. The event, held at BAE Systems' Land and Armaments division in Minneapolis, is a significant step toward development of FCS NLOS-C early prototypes scheduled to begin testing in 2008 and the full family of FCS Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs) in 2010.
"Today's unveiling is testament to the FCS best-of-industry approach and to the tremendous effort by the entire FCS manned ground vehicle team," said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing vice president-general manager of Combat Systems and FCS program manager. "It represents another visible sign that FCS technologies are maturing on schedule, and that hardware and software development is on track as the program transitions into the design, build and test phase. The advanced technologies being developed on the NLOS-C firing platform and subsequent prototypes are paving the way for the entire family of FCS manned ground vehicles."
The NLOS-C firing platform, developed and integrated by BAE Systems' Land and Armaments division at its Minneapolis Systems Integration facility, comprises a sprung chassis and functional mission module, and features a 38-caliber length, fully automated 155-mm howitzer. It will soon be shipped to Army facilities where it will undergo testing through 2008 to provide early safety release and qualification of the ultra-lightweight cannon and breech. The NLOS-C will provide a networked, extended range precision attack capability against point and area targets in support of FCS Brigade Combat Teams.
Together with the Army and LSI, BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems are developing the NLOS-C as the first vehicle in the FCS program's fleet of eight variants of manned ground vehicles. These vehicles will maximize the use of common chassis, parts and sub-systems. They will feature a two-person crew station, lightweight band track, and a hybrid-electric propulsion system that maximizes power and fuel efficiency. Overall, FCS manned ground vehicles will require 10-30% less fuel and far fewer mechanics than current manned ground vehicles.
The eight MGV variants, including the NLOS-C, are among the 18 networked systems that together will constitute FCS, the U.S. Army's foremost modernization program. Currently in the System Development and Demonstration phase, FCS is being accelerated to meet near-term needs of the current force while equipping future warfighters with advanced capabilities to meet emerging threats. FCS will improve the strategic deployability and operational maneuver capability of ground combat formations without sacrificing lethality or survivability.