Army settles on Boeing for Future Combat Systems

On Sunday, the Army officially entered the $14.92 billion development and demonstration phase of its Future Combat Systems program.

Just four days after the May 14 Defense Acquisition Board meeting where the Army sought approval to move FCS beyond the planning phase, E.C. 'Pete' Aldridge, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, signed the memorandum approving development of FCS.

Through the program, the Army is working on a joint forces battle scheme that includes 18 manned and unmanned ground and aerial vehicles and sensors'all connected via network.

During the development phase, the lead systems integrator team of Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp. will design, develop and test FCS prototypes.

'The center of this is the network that's going to be developed,' said Lt. Gen. John S. Caldwell Jr., military deputy to Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. 'The focal point of the capabilities is going to derive from the network that's going to be developed.'

Today, Caldwell and a group of other senior Army and industry officials held a briefing to discuss the program's development phase.

Lt. Gen. John Riggs, director of the Objective Force Task Force, said FCS is not only the direction the Army is headed, but it is also where the entire Defense Department is headed.

'The lesson learned through the recent conflict has been that jointness is absolutely essential,' Riggs said.

In February, the Army issued a request for proposals to begin work on a family of systems and modernized equipment and weaponry for soldiers, said Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac Jr., program executive officer for Ground Combat and Support Systems. That $26 billion RFP'a total of 23 procurements'covers manned and unmanned vehicles, sensors and common software packages.

All 23 contracts are set for award by October, Yakovac said.

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