By Courtney E. Howard
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program has logged a milestone by integrating the first FCS manned ground vehicle (MGV) Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) prototype.
The NLOS-C, the first of many planned FCS MGV prototypes, employs advanced technologies to deliver precise, sustained artillery fire support on the battlefield. It has an automated ammunition handling system, precision projectile tracking system, a two-man crew, networking, and sensors.
“After receiving situational awareness reports from the FCS network, the NLOS-C will be able to put precision fires on target in less than 30 seconds,” explains 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 NLOS-C has a climate-controlled cockpit to give the crew access to all vehicle operations. The hybrid electric drive system generates its own electricity, recharges its own batteries, uses less fuel, and generates less pollution.
The NLOS-C has a common chassis and a hybrid propulsion system that will be applied across the FCS series of manned ground vehicles. Commonality among all MGV variants is expected to speed and simplify maintenance and support for the FCS Brigade Combat Team.
Eight NLOS-C prototypes will be produced through 2009. Each will undergo safety certification, testing, and evaluation of the artillery system, MGV common chassis and technologies, and more at various Army test facilities. Lessons learned in these tests will help engineers enhance and finalize the design of the NLOS-C and other FCS vehicles.
“Information taken from extensive propulsion and drive-train tests will be used across the MGV family to make potential cost-saving development adjustments prior to the entire MGV vehicle family prototyping in 2011 and eventual fielding in 2015,” McVay continues.
U.S. Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) personnel anticipate receipt of 18 NLOS-C test vehicles beginning 2010, at which time the NLOS-C vehicles will be put through various combat scenarios.
For more information, visit the U.S. Army Future Combat Systems Web site at www.fcs.army.mil.