FCS opens test complex at White Sands Missile Range
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (Army News Service, Oct. 26, 2006) - Soldiers, civilian employees and media representatives got a look at the future of warfighting when a robot did the honors of cutting the ribbon at a grand opening for the Future Combat Systems Test Operations Complex at White Sands Missile Range Oct. 23.

"Today's ribbon cutting is a formal kick-off for testing activities here at White Sands Missile Range. It represents a turning point in which we begin to bring FCS capabilities before Soldiers," said Dennis Muilenburg, program manger of the FCS effort.

Part of the Army's modernization program, FCS uses advanced communications and technologies to link Soldiers with manned and unmanned ground and air platforms. A platform can be anything from a tank on the ground to an unmanned aerial vehicle. Soldiers linked to these platforms have an accurate picture of what's going on around them.

The opening of the Army's test operations complex represents an important step towards accelerating the delivery of FCS technology to the warfighter, said Roger Krone, president of Network and Space Systems.

An Evaluation Brigade Combat Team is being stood up at WSMR and at Fort Bliss, Texas, to move FCS from development to testing.

FCS is more than a program. "It is a strategy for how to modernize the Army and bring new network-capable technology before our Soldiers by providing them with the information they need on the battlefield - information that will keep them safe, information that will allow them to get their jobs done and allow them to get back home," Muilenburg said.

Major experimentation activities are already underway, he said. Experiment 1.1, the first major field event, will put sensors and unmanned air and ground systems into Soldiers' hands. Soldiers will then give engineers personal input on what works well and what needs improvement.

"This allows us to reduce risk and also allows us to accelerate delivery of capabilities to our Soldiers," Muilenburg said.