Army shifts FCS timelines

The Army will accelerate some initial capabilities of its multi-billion dollar Future Combat Systems program when the 3rd Infantry Division returns to Iraq later this year.

The Army also announced today that the new timeline for all 18 of FCS' manned and unmanned ground and air vehicles and sensors to hit the field would be 2014. The initial deadline was 2010 for the Army to develop 13 of the 18 FCS systems.

Officials said soldiers will have an initial communications capability, including new radio waveforms as part of the newly awarded Joint Tactical Radio System, Voice Over IP and some unmanned aerial vehicle.

Under the previous 2010 deadline, there was no timeline for development of the remaining five systems.

Under what Army officials are calling an 'accelerated schedule' all 18 of the FCS systems will be rolled out by 2014, adding at least $5 billion in research and development costs to the $14.92 billion price tag.

Still Army officials insist the program is not over cost or schedule, which is inconsistent with an April report from the Government Accountability Office that predicted continued cost and scheduling problems with the program.

Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego are the program's lead systems integrators.

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