FCS Vehicle Dies In Days

FCS Vehicle Dies In Days

The $87 billion Manned Ground Vehicle Program will probably be killed this week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee Tuesday morning.

Army Secretary Pete Geren also clarified one point that is sure to raise the hackles of Sen. James Inhofe — the Non Line of Sight Cannon was killed as well. Inhofe had the NLOC made a separate program in large part to protect it from any cuts made to FCS. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the decision that killing MGV also meant killing the NLOS-C, Geren said today.

An Acquisition Decision Memorandum should be out this week, splitting the Manned ground Vehicle from the rest of the FCS program and killing MGV, Casey told the subcommittee.  He said they have already instructed Training and Doctrine Command to being drawing up new requirements.  A new program outline for a new ground vehicle should be ready “after Labor Day,” Casey said.  The military will consider foreign vehicles, though Casey seemed reluctant to commit to the idea of buying one should it look tempting. (While the Army has bought excellent equipment from overseas in the past, it has been badly burned before over buying from foreign suppliers — remember those black berets made in China.… ) The first vehicles should roll out of the plant within five to seven years.

Sec. Gates and his budget experts have made very clear they expect MRAP will be a major part of the new approach to FCS. Casey and Geren were very cautious in responding to reporters questions about this after the hearing.  “We are working to incorporate the MRAP” into whatever approach the Army comes up with, Geren said. And Casey said the Army is already putting networked MRAPs — with other FCS spinouts — into testing at Fort Bliss.

One thing may stay the same with the new ground combat vehicle — a single chassis, which Casey said had clear logistics payoffs.

Finally, one of my colleagues asked Casey whether he would provide an unfunded requirements list to Congress. Gates has made clear he does not want to be blindsided by the lists — a perennial favorite of both Congress and the services since it allows the services to circumvent the budget process and OSD in asking for money — and Casey expressed admirable frustration with the process. “I’m almost at the point where I’m ready to kill that whole idea,” Casey said. “Almost?” I asked. “Almost,” Casey said to appreciative laughter from the gaggle. Look for an unfunded requirements list from the Army, coming soon.

Join the Conversation

In buying what foreign equipment has the US Army been “badly burned” recently? The Strykers, the Buffalos, the RG33s, the M777s, and the LUHs are all of foreign provenance, and these have all been well-received, to say the least. Did Casey have something specific in mind?

Anybody know of a tracked vehicle family with a V-hull already built-in?

I sure hope they don’t give up the band track, hybrid electric drive, and active protection.

Also hope the armor guys don’t demand tank-sized everything…

What’s amazing about all this is that the Administration is going down this road without any input from Congress. They are usurping Congressional authority…and there’s not a peep from the Hill.

Additionally, there are ways to achieve Sec Gates’ goals without canceling the MGV portion of the contract (thus saving the termination fees and the endless delays that will result) but OSD won’t consider them. Why they won’t is the real question. Finally, the idea that they will be able to produce these new vehicles on the same timeline as FCS MGVs is completely laughable.

I agree with James, Colin needs to explain that opinion in the article. It seems to be his opinion, without any facts to back it.

Perhaps he forgets that the US Military has been badly burned, by its own procurement processes and US businesses in the past 30 years.
For example the boondogle that was the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, or the ongoing saga that is the F-35. 100% made in America, 100% overbudget and over time.

I am sure the US Marines disagree with Colin over the Harrier.

As far as I remember from Civics class, “Congressional Authority” is limited to the appropriation of funds and to declaring war (formally) when it comes to the military. Something about conscription too, probably.
The President is the Commander in Chief of all US armed forces — the Pentagon works for him. If Congress doesn’t like his plans they can vote, “No” on the spending bill(s) submitted.

Scathsealgaire, the BFV is a fine vehicle. the only ones to have issue with it was that 60 Minutes yellow journalism piece back in the 80’s. I’ve worked around them and with them for years, and i’ll take one of those over some other vehciles. I work with the LUH right now and its great little a/c that does right what we need. What we need to do is find exactly what is needed, is balance in where we look for systems. ANY systems. If something already is out there that fits our bill then lets go for it. if not, then we need to come up with it ourselves.

Well if the NLOS-C is needed that badly, maybe they can adapt it over to an existing chassis.

James and co.

I’ve tightened up the wording to include a reference to the famous black berets made in China. Although Rep. Duncan Hunter is no longer in Congress, his son is and I expect you would hear howls of protest from that and other “Buy America” quarters if Casey had made any kind of explicit commitment to consider buying a foreign vehicle. It would have been especially risky to do so just as they are killing an American-made product…

As was the case with the Chinese made black berets…the emerging issue is our declining defense manufacturing capacity. At the outset of the current “over-seas contingent operation” (we used to call them wars) we did not even have the capability to manufacture enough 5.56 ball ammo! Most units crossed the l/d without the basic load!
This is not so much a ‘buy America” issue as one of being self sustaining.

Germany and S. Africe are already building better artillery than us anyway.

Just buy the designs and build domestically.

I can think of at least one major ‘incident’ using foriegn manufacturers.

Manufacture of the ceramic armor plates that were to equip the Stryker was trusted to a German company. Tests found that the company had delivered a completely bogus product. Different (cheaper) formulation, manufacturing process, the works.

SGT Thomas I thought I was pretty clear, but obviously not clear enought. I was not criticising the vehicle as it stands now, but the procurement process and US business’s who have to be reminded that pre-field “field testing” needs to be done BEFORE you can say that the item is ready to be bought by the Military. Both the Bradley and F-35 are being tinkered with right up to (and it sounds like after with the F-35) the point when we are starting to buy them. The Bradley had glaring faults that were ignored by the testing group until Lt Col. James Burton brought the problems surrounding the Bradley to light, and as you say journalists made it public. Sometimes the only way politicians can be convinced to do things by the Military is to have their Constituents remind them that the Military is made up of their Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers, Cousins etc. This is where the media comes in.

Apart from clarifying that I agree with everything you said 100%

No one’s talking in public re the role of Lead Systems Integrators Boeing and SAIC. Are they just potted palms? What has been their contractual role in letting this program get so behind, overbudget, and downright confused that it was a juicy target for defunding and dismemberment. How much of their fees are being cut?

Is it me or is Gates fighting the next war according the doctrine of the current one?

And, as for buying foriegn made equipment, that’s a huge mistake. Not only does buying American made equipment keep Americans employed it guarantees the supply chain won’t be broken if there are diplomatic hurdles thrown up by the supplying country. Additionally, the US leads the world technologically and should continue to develope new systems for our military to ensure we stay ahead of any potential opponents.

Rumsfeld killed the Crusader. Gates is shutting down National Guard towed fire support and killing the NLOS.

When all is said and done, the US Army will have no fire support.

Ya well someone needs to get the requirements straight… the NLOS is apparently too delicate (cant take ied hits)while mobile and the crusader was too big and bulky and too much armor and not mobile enough… you got to realize the tradoffss.… in any effect we are wasting money on R+ D with no end result. if anything make up your mind so the warfighters have something!

I think we should give the CV-90 a hard look. It already has all the cariants we might want to incorporate. It is modular in armor. Active protection can be added.

Scathsealgaire, Gotcha Lima Charlie sir… and i do agree with ya there, although from one of the issues that they found with the Bradley was the fire supression system wasnt a issue. they (the media) had said that it failed multipule times when in fact it did fail, AFTER the vehicle was hit 7 times with an RPG-7. If you hit anything 7 times with a HEAT round, something is going to fail!…LOL..

Sorry to hear that the NLOS-C will be scrapped. Maybe a different version will emerge in future years? For the time being it looks like the Stryker, HUMVV and MRAP with advanced armor / suspension and power trains (GM/Chrysler?) upgrades will take the lead.

The digital battlefield will have to wait for the old fashion shoot and scoot technology to fade away. The digital structure may take more cost and time to manifest, and every second counts when you are under armor. The FCS systems lacked the programmatic progress so DoD wielded the axe man!


Never heard NLOS-C get terminated last week. Now this came out today??? Any info regarding this info Colin?

Congress can always use a “Pork Project” or an “earmark” to build F-22s and other equipment if the DOD won’t request it.

Gates is fighting the next war according to the rules of the current one, but with half the resources.

NLOS-C Lives?,
It does not live, according to Army Secretary Geren, who told the Senate Appropriation defense subcommittee that, as my story says. The cannon itself will still get worked on, but not the combat system.

Colin, can you clarify, “the cannon will still get worked on…”. What exactly does that mean? Thanks.

The cannon and only the cannon will still be worked on to keep the technology alive. Note the $58 million figure. That’s probably enough to fire some shells from a test cannon at Aberdeen and continue to gather test data. Nothing more.

To my knowledge the NLOS-C and other MGV variants are still being worked on from an engineering and design point of view. I wonder if this work will stop in the near future or if it will last through the summer while Congress does it’s thing with the budget??? Are there any plans for an offial stop-work order? I read a little about an acquisition decision memo that is expected this week. Not sure what that would entail though. Any insight is appreciated… Thanks!

Surprise, surprise folks! Gates announced today that the entire FCS program — not just the MGV portion — is terminated, and as far as his office is concerned, it’s effective immediately. I work on FCS and I’m expecting to see a stop-work in the next day or two, followed shortly thereafter by a pink slip. FCS supporters were double-crossed by the SecDef. This had to be the plan all along. It’s part of the Obama administration’s long-range plan to Carterize the military.

Obviously they are taking their lead from what the Canadian Liberal Party accomplished with the Canadian Forces…attempting to please the tofu eayers and tree huggers by emasculation core capabilities, your tech advantadge future will include walking to work in civvies so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the local populace.

What should have happened is The FCV (including N-LOS) were fully funded and able to be modified to rail gun when appropriate. This funding could have been accomplished by selling off a thousand or so Abrams. That leaves what about another 4500?

Go with Andy and buy the South African kit: you’re using a lot of the stuff already (RG33, etc), and the 155mm and 105mm howitzers are the best in the world. Just ask the Cubans.….
They actually SUPPLY Germany with ammo and technology based on the partnership with Rheinmettal and Zeiss optics.
Kit is all battle-proven and designed for low-maintenance but hi performance.

“Army Secretary Pete Geren also clarified one point that is sure to raise the hackles of Sen. James Inhofe — the Non Line of Sight Cannon was killed as well. Inhofe had the NLOC made a separate program in large part to protect it from any cuts made to FCS. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the decision that killing MGV also meant killing the NLOS-C, Geren said today.”

The picture above looks like a Arty piece, I can’t tell if it’s a 155 or a 110. “Non line of sight” what the H-ll is that suppose to mean?, or better yet, who the H-ll are they trying to fool? Just call it what it is, “Indirect Fire”, that means you can’t see the target you are shooting at, you use grid coordinates to hit the target. I got to tell you though, I never like this this thing, mabe because I am old fashioned or mabe it’s because this thing just cost to much money, the money you spend on one of these things you can buy mabe two MLRS. What I really like to see is full body armour for the troops, with weapon integration with body protection, well.…may be not for another hundred years but, you get the picture.

I for one am glad they are cancelling the FCS program. I dont think all the gee-whiz star wars crap is the appropriate way to go for vehicle defense. In comparing the two extremes as far as cannon artillery goes, you have the Crusader on one end and the NLOS-C on the other.
The Crusader is too heavy and bulky, and the NLOS-C is way too light and thin skinned (plus it has less range than a currently fielded Paladin howitzer!!). We need a compromise between the 2 extremes! And we need it now, not in another 10 years.

I can say with experience on the buffalo, the stryker, the rg38, the husky all built overseas and very effective equipment. However things like the IHMEE are very problematic. Lack of parts, lack of support. It’s like ADI (australian defense industries) made the IHMEE wheeled excavator and sold the product with very minimal support. Instead of running overseas, check with the companies that have equipment fielded into the system already so there’s already parts in the system (companies such as caterpillar or gdls). How easy do you think it will be to obtain parts for a boeing vehicle???

Fascinating that they left the door ajar for offshore suppliers. One would think that with Detroit in such a shambles, they would structure this thing to cut out the Germans and the French. SpzH 2000 has been in the field for years and the Puma infantry fighting vehicle is starting to be fielded this year. And with such an emphasis on green technology, one would have thought that the MGV hybrid engine would have counted for something. It really is a pretty sweet engine, powerful and fuel efficient. There is plenty to rage about on this, but cancelling NLOS-C is the unkindest cut of all — Rummy cancelled Crusader and a pile of other programs to fund FCS. Now the self-propelled howitzer gets cancelled AGAIN after Congress put in the mandate to build the thing, and they reprogrammed funds to accelerate its schedule ?

Admiral Sestak just hit the nail right on the head when Gates testified to HASC this week. Gates is doing to the Army what Rumsfeld would have done if it were not for 9/11. These guys idea of “transformation” is put money into special ops, then put more money into special ops, and — did we forget to put all the money into special ops ? But, by golly, we can do just fine schlepping things around in C-130s, don’t need no stinkin’ light cargo aircraft…or more C-17s.

Hail, to the Once And Future Combat Systems. Our nation and its soldiers really need you — like yesterday — and someday some loved one wearing a green beret on a battlefield far away will send out a call for the Cavalry — and wait three months for the ships to arrive.

Boots take and hold territory. Lethality in combat is best measured by “how much” can be delivered by the infantry over the long term. All these “Billy G. Wihizbang” systems are great. Great until they break, great until well into their useful service life, maintenance costs far exceed initial procurement costs. The costs of these systems are taken out of the hide of grunts on the ground. In protracted combat such as Irag, we need more troops. I’ll take a light, airlift (read helicopter) mobile, 105 battery to support me. I still like the all weather, any hour, day or night, weapons systems that are fueled with MRE’s, moleskin, and water.

Funny! I was on the Crusader Program (United Defense now BAE) when the Secratary Of Defense cut that now the Secratary Of Defense cuts the NLOC that the same plant in Minneapolis was buuilding. I guess the Secrataries don’t like MN!


NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.