By John Rhea
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - U.S. Army leaders, after mixed results in four earlier flight tests, are going to try again to demonstrate the Enhanced Fiber Optic Guided Missile (EFOGM) at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The upcoming test represents an attempt to validate the imaging infrared seeker and move the program closer to a production decision for the first 192 missiles, now scheduled for early next year.
Two more tests were set for late August and early September at White Sands, says Lt. Col. Tom Harvill, acting project manager of EFOGM at the Army`s Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) in Huntsville, Ala. "Each missile is getting a little smarter," Harvill says.
Two tests of "full up" missiles minus the seeker happened in May and June at White Sands in which the first was "flawless" in Harvill`s words when it flew for 12 kilometers and the second was a "qualified success" after an error by the inertial measurement unit cut the flight short at 5 kilometers.
Two earlier tests of dummy EFOGMs at the Army`s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville were failures; the wings fell off on the first and a cable broke on the second.
EFOGM is an advanced technology demonstration in which Army leaders are trying to develop a fiber optic, non-line-of-sight control system as part of the Rapid Force Projection Initiative.
The program relies heavily on available technology, notably the optical fibers from Corning and Lucent Technologies, which are common in the telecommunications industry; commercially available flat panel displays in the fire-control units, a color active- matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) by International Electronics Corp. in the battle command computer and a mono-chrome AMLCD by SAIC/Litton in the gunner console display; and standard command and control systems in the Army inventory.
What is new is integrating all these technologies into a workable system - and finding a home for the system in the Army. The original FOGM had been conceived as an air defense system, but the Army`s artillery branch was reluctant to pursue the idea, so top Army leaders assigned the program to the infantry.
An extended user evaluation is set through 2001. The goal is to equip one parachute infantry company, Alpha 5-11 at Fort Bragg, N.C., with one EFOGM fire unit per platoon.
Winning the prime contract from AMCOM in May 1995 was Raytheon Systems Co. in Huntsville, Ala. - not Boeing, as reported in the July issue of Military & Aerospace Electronics).
EFOGM fire unit will be used in flight tests at White Sands Missle Range.