Army's advanced systems project moves forward

The most important part of FCS is not the weaponry but the advanced C4ISR technologies it will use, Army CIO Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello says.

Henrik G. DeGyor

The Army is ready to begin developing and demonstrating its Future Combat Systems, a modernization program for vehicles, personal gear and the systems that connect them.

The service is awaiting approval from the Defense Acquisition Board to move FCS beyond the planning phase.

The service last month detailed its plans to integrate command and control software in FCS vehicles and the subsystems that link to the vehicles, said Major Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac, program executive officer for ground combat systems in the Tank Automotive and Armaments Command.

The OS for computers in the program will be Linux, according to Boeing Co., the systems integrator on the project.

Currently, the FCS program is in the concept and development phase and is being managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The Army's CIO, Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, said late last month at the Software Technology Conference in Salt Lake City that the most important part of FCS is not the weaponry but the advanced technologies it will use.

'It's not about new tanks, new Bradley fighting vehicles or new aircraft, it's about the C4ISR,' Cuviello said. 'That's what's going to make this thing really work. This is all being done through the miracle of technology.'

In February, the Army issued a request for proposals to begin work on a 'family of systems' and modernized equipment and weaponry for soldiers, Yakovac said. The $26 billion RFP covers manned and unmanned systems both airborne and on the ground, and some sensors and common software packages, he said.

OK for next phase

Last month, the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council approved FCS' entry into the system development and demonstration phase.

FCS is a collaborative program run by the Army and DARPA. The fleet of ground battle vehicles being built under the program will eventually tie into the $6.6 billion Warfighter Information Network'Tactical program, Army officials said.

Through WIN-T, the Army plans to build a high-speed, high-capacity network for wired and wireless voice, data and video communications for soldiers on the battlefield.

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