ATC Hosts Future Combat Systems Technology Demonstration

On September 20 and 21, ATC hosted a Future Combat Systems (FCS) Technology Demonstration for Army Leadership, members of Congress and the media.

The demonstration, conducted by Program Manager, Future Combat Systems (Brigade Combat Team) (previously known as Program Manager, Unit of Action) and the Lead Systems Integrator composed of Boeing and Science Applications International Corporation, was held to provide information on the maturity of FCS Systems.

Attendees included Chief of Staff of the Army General Peter Schoomaker, Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth Preston.

FCS technologies demonstrated included the Non-Line-Of-Sight-Launch System (NLOS-LS), the 120-mm Lightweight Cannon, the 120-mm Breech Loaded Mortar, the Non-Line-Of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), Class I and IV Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), the Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) Chassis Test Bed (Lancer), the Stryker Leader-Follower for Autonomous Navigation System, Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles (SUGV) including the PackBot, and the Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) vehicle.

NLOS-LS is a self-contained launch system that can be fired from the ground or a manned/unmanned vehicle or trailer. It will provide the Current and Future Modular Force with a highly deployable, vehicle independent, long-range, precision attack capability against moving and stationary, armored and non-armored targets, with a significantly reduced logistical footprint.

The 220-mm Lightweight Cannon is made up of a cannon assembly and gun mount and incorporates advanced design solutions and lightweight materials to minimize weight, recoil, and other vehicle burdens, while optimizing it for remote operation from the Mounted Combat System's (MCS) Crew Compartment. It will provide the same firepower as the 70-ton Abrams tank on the significantly smaller MCS, giving the Modular Force enhanced lethality with improved deployability.

The 120-mm Breach Loaded Mortar is the primary weapon for the NLOS Mortar System. It will provide a mounted 120-mm lightweight breach loaded mortar to support rapid, continuous fires out to 8 kilometers, significantly more capability than currently fielded equipment.


NLOS Cannon is the lead system of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicle family. It features a fully automated 155-mm cannon that provides push-button, 24/7, all-weather, precision fire support to the Modular Force Commander. NLOS Cannon's fully automated ammunition handling system and real-time digital operating environment enables two Soldiers to do the job of five or more Soldiers in Current Force systems.

The Class I UAV, comprised of two air vehicles, provides access to the vertical for inspections in windows, cave entrances, over obstacles in complex terrain, and has hover and stare capability for improved quality of reconnaissance and surveillance. Class I will be back-packable and easily transportable by the Soldier.

The Class IV UAV, known as the Fire Scout, is a joint air-frame/propulsion program with the Navy. Fire Scout has the ability to take off and land autonomously at unprepared and unimproved landing zones and has an endurance of over 7 hours. The Fire Scout provides critical warfighter capabilities as a Vertical Take-off and Landing heavy fuel platform able to carry multiple sensors from a suite of possible payloads. The Electro-Optical Infrared sensors and a laser range finder-designator means Fire Scout can quickly and accurately detect, locate, identify, track, designate targets and perform battle damage assessment on targets.

The MGV Chassis Test Bed known as the Lancer represents several early technologies that will be incorporated onto the MGV Chassis Testbed, and in combination, these technologies will provide for increased mobility performance with greater growth potential and the ability to manage power generation and distribution over the Current Force. Those early technologies include Advanced Diesel Engine Technology coupled with Hybrid Electric Drive Systems; Active Suspension Technology and Lightweight Band Track.

The Autonomous Navigation System, demonstrated using Stryker vehicles, will provide both manned and unmanned ground vehicles in the Future Modular Force with capabilities ranging from automated steering and headway control to fully autonomous resupply with active collision detection and avoidance. The Leader Follower, or robotic convoy, technology will provide both manned and unmanned ground vehicles in the Future Modular Force capabilities ranging from automated steering and headway control to fully autonomous resupply with active collision detection and avoidance.

The first generation SUGV robot, PackBot, is currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. SUGV minimizes the risk to Soldiers in hostile operations. It is 30 pounds and man-portable. SUGV is rugged and mobile for Military Operations Urban Terrain operations.

Saving Soldiers from harm is one of the key elements of importance in FCS, said General Peter J. Schoomaker, Army Chief of Staff.

The Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment(MULE) Vehicle is a 2.5-ton Unmanned Ground Vehicle that supports the infantry in dismounted operations and significantly reduces the Warfighter's combat load and risk in close combat. It increases lethality and survivability and reconnaissance and situational awareness. The common chassis will support all variants to include Countermine,Transport and Armed Robotic Vehicle - Assault (Light).

Static displays of technologies such as the Intelligent Munition System, Vehicle Survivability, FCS Logistics, the Armed Robotic Vehicle, and the Joint Tactical Radio System were also available for attendees to view.

"What you just saw today is a clear demonstration that the Future Combat Systems program is no longer a drawing board project," said Francis Harvey, Secretary of the Army. "It is becoming a reality."