By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)June 10, 2008
The U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) Program successfully completed full prototype integration of the first FCS Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C). The Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon, which has the ability to rapidly deliver precision munitions in both urban and conventional battlespace is the lead prototype in the Army's family of eight FCS Manned Ground Vehicles.
The NLOS-C is much different than all the other combat vehicles produced by the Army thus far. Advanced NLOS-C technology such as an automated loading system and improved accuracy through a projectile tracking system, coupled with the power of the FCS network and sensors, provides the NLOS-C's two-man artillery crew with capability to quickly deliver highly accurate sustained fires for close support and destructive fires for standoff engagements. This networked capability is important during both counter insurgency and conventional fights.
"After receiving situational awareness reports from the FCS network, the NLOS-C will be able to put precision fires on target in less than one minute," said Lt. Col. Robert McVay, Army Product Manager for NLOS-C, "This is especially important in counter insurgency warfare as it will deprive the enemy of the ability to 'shoot and scoot', while allowing Soldiers to put precise rounds into urban environments that will help reduce collateral damage."
The state-of-the-art technology that is used in the NLOS-C will also be used in the other eight Manned Ground Vehicles creating commonality that will reduce operations and support burden for the FCS Brigade Combat Team. All MGV variants will have a common chassis and hybrid propulsion system. Soldiers will complete missions using a system that generates its own electricity, recharges its own batteries and uses less fuel than today's heavy combat vehicles.
"The marriage of the cannon's mission module to the common chassis marks a commutation of more than X years of Army and industry development collaboration. We are now proceeding with production of seven more NLOS-C prototype vehicles," said Col. Bryan McVeigh, Army Product Manager for FCS Manned Ground Vehicles.
A total of eight NLOS-C prototypes will be produced into 2009, with all undergoing rigorous testing, safety certification and evaluations at various Army test facilities. The NLOS-C prototypes will be used for testing and evaluation of not only the artillery system but also the MGV common chassis and technologies. "Information taken from intensive propulsion and drive train tests will be used across the MGV family to make potential cost saving development adjustments prior the entire MGV vehicle family prototyping in 2011 and eventual fielding in 2015." McVeigh said.
The NLOS-C is the first howitzer that requires a team of only two Soldiers to operate. The cockpit is designed for the Soldiers to operate all vehicle operations in a comfortable, climate-controlled, user-friendly fashion. The advanced technology that was created for the NLOS-C will also be used in the other MGVs creating commonality and reducing operations and support burden. The NLOS-C is also the first combat vehicle that has a hybrid electric drive system. Soldiers will complete missions using a system that generates its own electricity, recharges its own batteries, uses less fuel and maintains a very low carbon footprint. The NLOS-C uses band tracks that are lightweight highly durable and provide a superior ride quality. Along with active suspension these band tracks allow for the vehicle to move at increased cross country speeds.
The fully automated ammunition handling system that the NLOS-C has holds 155-mm projectiles and Modular Artillery Charge System propelling charges. The automation eliminates the physical handling of ammunition that weighs more than 100 pounds and provides Soldiers the ability to fire rounds at sustained rates with the push of a button. This MGV also has improved accuracy thru projectile tracking system.
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