By Maj. Frederick Hughes, NLOS Launch SystemApril 24, 2008
The Non-Line of Sight Launch System has completed the first of multiple summer tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., meeting all mission requirements and proving NLOS-LS is a weapon of choice for the Army of tomorrow.
The Future Combat System Technical Field Test, conducted in February and March, was the initiation of a summer of demanding developmental and operational tests for the Future Combat System command and control network, as well as a host of FCS related programs, to include Redstone Arsenal's NLOS-LS. The efforts of the project office paid off, as NLOS-LS reaped praise from users and evaluators alike during the test.
NLOS-LS consists of a highly deployable, platform-independent weapon system that provides networked, extended range, precision strike capability for combat commanders. The NLOS-LS is capable of unattended/unmanned operations under all weather conditions. Armed with 15 Precision Attack Missiles, the NLOS-LS is capable of engaging a host of varied targets on the modern and future battlefield.
The two-week TFT consists of developmental tests conducted with production representative prototypes and operated by Army Experimental Task Force Soldiers in a field environment. Under the operational control of the FCS program, the NLOS-LS participated in the TFT event working in conjunction with Unmanned Ground Systems and FCS Network Components, as well as Current Force equipment.
Using a "crawl, walk, run" strategy, the TFT is in the crawl phase for the FCS program's aggressive test schedule. Successful completion of the TFT provides the entrance criteria for more complicated and demanding Force Development Test and Limited User Tests this summer.
For the NLOS-LS project office, the TFT showed the capability of NLOS-LS to work with the current force through effective employment of the system, as well as integration into the current force's network architecture. Specifically, NLOS-LS needed to show compatibility and interoperability with the Army's Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.
Participating in two separate operational vignettes, NLOS-LS successfully received fire missions and engaged targets from FCS and current force platforms. All exercises were conducted with actual platforms in the field using live communication networks. NLOS-LS' successful execution of this test allows it to participate in the upcoming Training and Doctrine Command's Force Developmental Test and Evaluation event later this spring.
The NLOS-LS is one of the Future Combat System program's 16 core systems. FCS is the Army's leading modernization program to develop manned and unmanned systems linked by a common network and equipped with leading-edge technology.
The NLOS-LS Project Office, led by Col. Doug Dever, is located at Redstone with the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space. The NLOS-LS was developed by the NetFires Limited Liability Company, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.