Army Relaunches FCS Son

Army Relaunches FCS Son

The Army finally kicked off the competition today to develop son of the Future Combat System after scrapping the earlier RFP which the Army decided pushed the technology envelope too far.

Reflecting the cost sensitive environment the Pentagon faces, service officials unveiled a fixed price contracting strategy to develop an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) capable of operating in everything from major armored fights to counterinsurgency missions. Translation: the new FCS will largely be a replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

To do this, the Army will award up to three contracts in April 2011 totalling no more that $450 million each for manufacturers to come up with the best possible design, according to Col. Andrew DiMarco, the Army’s program manager for the Ground Combat Vehicle effort (which the IFV falls under).


After 24 months of technology development, the service plans to select up to two competitors to continue a four-year engineering, manufacturing development effort, after which the service will pick a winner to build 1,874 of the IFVs, DiMarco said. Those vehicles are currently projected to cost $9 million to $10.5 million apiece, not including the cost of spare parts and other support items.

The Army also wants the vehicles to cost $200 per operating mile. This falls between the $100 per mile of the Bradley and the $300 per mile of the M1 Abrams tank.

The new troop carriers must meet “non-negotiable” criteria for protection against everything from cannon rounds and RPGs to explosively formed penetrators, along with the ability to accommodate future growth in terms of size, weight, power and network connectivity as well as carry nine soldiers, said Michael Smith of the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence during a conference call with reporters today.

However, the rest of the vehicle’s performance will largely be up to contractors to determine as long as they meet minimum criteria.

“The bulk of the tradable requirements, we left that up to industry to figure out how to best to balance their design together with the affordability pieces presented in the RfP,” said DiMarco.

With regards to firepower, “we have a requirement to take out certain threats at certain ranges, that has been included in the tradespace so we’re leaving it up to industry to respond to that,” said DiMarco.

Still, “we don’t want to go anything less that what the current M2 Bradley has on it” in terms of firepower, he added. For the majority of the open (trade space) requirements there are no similar caveats, according to DiMarco.

The Army dropped any requirement that the vehicle must fit on a C-130 tactical airlifter and instead requires it to fit on the much larger C-17 strategic lifter. As for the venerable wheels-versus-tracks debate, that will be up to contractors to decide.

Asked how the service will keep a competition with such wide open requirements from being protested by the losing bidder, DiMarco said the service has placed higher values on certain design features over others.

“From a performance perspective, we’ve prioritized the requirements, ” said DiMarco. “From that perspective, we can make some judgements on value that one design or one contractor brings to the table over the others.”

Proposals for the vehicles are due on Jan. 24, 2011.

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Well it sounds like the Army has come up with a competition that really leaves room for industry innovations to shine. Let’s just hope the next phase doesn’t hang too many ornament capabilities on.

what’s bad with the Bradleys????

We can do much better in this day and age, even if the vehicle was the same weight.

$9 million to $10.5 million APIECE!!!!

450 Mil X 3 just for a design? I thought we were cutting back. What’s wrong with the M3 that the MRAPs doesn’t already compensate for?

Going by a $10 million per vehicle price, 2000 state of the art IFVs would cost us $20 billion. So we just take a little off the next $500+ billion stimulus package. And that $20 billion will do far more than the rest of that sum.

But can we afford something like that?

I heard that they plan on taking the Main Gun turrant off the Tank chassis and then build up a protective side wall on them so troops can ride in them…I think they plan on calling them “Kangaroos”.

Oh wait, that was WWII and the Brits did that already…never mind.…

Someone needs to dissect this puppy into steel, plastic, electronics, wage labor and nonrecurring development costs. Once you do the test models this puppy shouldn’t cost more than $3 million a pop. If you believe the price should be higher, buy stock in the bandits that will get the development awards! As a taxpayer, we need an “independent authority” to validate these outrageous price estimates. It’s a sad day when we can’t trust the Pentagon to do the public’s business.

The IDF did that with the Merkava 4 , they took the turret off and added an armored top. we should do something like that with the Abrams . Just turn it around so the engine is in the front and put the driver behind the engine, armor the front better and put troops in the back. Also it should be a family of vehicles like the striker , and the ass kicker version with an A-10 30mm cannon mounted on top. A medivac version, and so on but all should have an active protection system on them. (Trophy)

Show me one vehicle that is a quantum leap compared with the Bradley.

I prefer to put the NLOS cannon in production

Look at the Puma IFV and imagine that but with nine guys in back instead of six. Add active defense systems, new sensors, and other improvements. Plus it could be future-proofed for possible new technologies like electromagnetic-armor. An IFV like that is easily achievable.

You are right.I really like the Puma .

A Bradley a decade ago was $3.5M, upgrading those to the modern electronics that the GCV are suppose to get would be another $2M. Then you take inflation and higher material prices into consideration and $3.5M becomes $4M. Given the the large crew compartment, improved survivability, and what are effectively Bradley upgrades as standard, another $3M over the price of a “modern” or new Bradley for a vehicle that due to transport size means you need 1/3 fewer.… it seems pretty reasonable. That price tag doesn’t even take into consideration that its suppose to end up easier to maintain and with an overall need for fewer vehicles you don’t need as many spare parts and maintainance crews.

They needed to add TOW missile launchers on the sides if the Tank to be competative against Russian made Tanks.

So they are restarting the R&D trough — got to keep the contractors happy. They haven’t been fed for 3 months now.

> Those vehicles are currently projected to cost $9 million to $10.5 million apiece

This is hilarious, just a look at the profits the contractors have to extract tells you that you can triple that and then add a generous helping of pork fat. No wonder bailout bill is ecstatic.

Of three things we can be certain, it will do less and cost a lot more than a Bradly and Bill will tel us that there is no alternative.

The new expected cost of a EFV (formerly AAAV) is $24M each. We have already spent Billions in development, and an additional $12 Billion is needed to finish the design and for procurement of 574 vehicles. The EFV has failed Systems Design and Development testing once, and is now going through that phase for a second time. If this program follows its previous path, I will guess the price will go up, and they will by less than 574 vehicles.

Do you have any sort of experience? Have you ever even picked up a book regarding the development of a weapons system? Have you ever heard of concepts like inflation? Go troll somewhere else.

what plastic tanks? the challenger tank uses similar armour technology (composite) then abrams.
i’d use the CTA gun, as it’s the hottest thing on the market, but who knows, due to the NIH syndrome.

Good Afternoon Folks,

Hi Lt. Colonel Fritts, You know the answer to your question better then I do, we don’t have any Generals who ever fought in an armored vehicle or taken a hit from an IED they haven’t a clue. I can’t talk to loud somebody might wake General Casey up. Thank God for direct deposit, now the Chief of Staff doesn’t even have to wake up on paydays.

My question is who asked for these. I can’t seem to find anybody in the Army requesting any new armor. Manybe this is the Butternuts dreaming up something, getting the idiots in DoD to put out an RFQ and then buying congress to fun it.

The Army is in the middle of a very expensive down to zero hours on its Bradley’s so it doesn’t make any sense to buy any more APC’s or IFV’s. Perhaps sir you can enlighten me on where a number 1,874 vehicles come from.

On this had done with the posting of a ball park cost of $9 to $10.5 million a copy there is world wide interest on this bid. On European and Russian acquisition sites they are going nuts. I haven’t a clue of what the Army is thinking by putting out a number like that. The Army is looking as good at procurement as they are at winning wars it looks like.

The timing of the Army couldn’t be worse on this. Who ever decided to do this now is a complete fool.

ALLONS,

Byron Skinner

Very few companies can afford to drop $450M to build a prototype. If the Army expected that, they wouldn’t have many bids… if any, they would tend not to be that great.

With the ability to carry a squad of 9 instead of 6, you need 1/3 as many vehicles for comparable capabilities. That justifies most of the difference since 2 GCVs would replace 3 Bradleys that is a shift of operating cost of $400 per operating mile up from $300 per operating mile for equivalent functions. The extra $100 or $50/per vehicle is justified by the improved survivability and weight that comes with it. The M2A3 was $3.2M with inflation its upto $3.7M, by replacing 1.5 Bradleys with each GCV you justify $5.5M, the rest is a matter of electronics upgrades to modernize that package ($2M), and armor ($1M) and mine resistance($1M).

I’m not asserting that those are the break down of costs just that to get a Bradley to be what they want the GCV to be those are the kinds of costs you’d be looking at.

I don’t believe you will find a company that is willing to spend their own dollars on development of any major weapon system. The last one I remember was the mid 80’s when Northrup developed the F-20 Tigershark, only to lose to GD and the F-16. Northrup spent 100’s of millions in development cost, only to find that they couldn’t sell it because no one wanted to buy a product the US Air Force didn’t want. Would you as a CEO of a company be willing to invest $150M over the next two years, and at least another $75M/yr for the 4 following years, only to find out that your competitor beat you and you get nothing? Thats a half a Billion dollars you are asking a company to invest!

Here’s your first contender, and I bet the Italians wouldn’t be charging $10mil per vehicle, either.
http://​www​.military​-today​.com/​a​p​c​/​i​v​e​c​o​_​s​u​p​e​r​a​v.h
http://​www​.defense​-update​.com/​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​s​/​s​/​s​u​p​e​r​av8

It swims, so it’s also a good contender to replace aging USMC LAVs.
It already offers scalable protection and IED survivability.
Carries a squad of 12, or 8 with a turret.

Oh, shame on me: it isn’t made in USA. What was I thinking.

I suppose after a US defense contractor gets their hands on it, for every percent the vehicle’s current abilities will be reduced thru inept engineering and bad program leadership, the price will go up accordingly.

I misread the article, its actually $450M per contractor for the 2 year TD phase. Follow that with the 4 year EMD phase, it will probably require a MINIMUM $1B investment for each of the 2 EMD contractors. I don’t know of many companies willing to do that, without some guarantee of a contract.

I was unable to find a capability document for the IFV. Per Mr. Skinner: “Who asked for these?”, I’m guessing that the Army just took the old FCS requirements document (ORD), changed a few requirements, and wrote an RFP. Seems to be another case of an ad hoc program looking for gaps to address instead of rationally-based analysis of gaps and potential solution sets. In other words, another well-connected ACAT 1 program that doesn’t have to follow sound aquisition principles (gap analysis — capability assement — technological maturity — engineering — program managemt — procurement — sustainment). Anyone taking bets on when the first Nunn-McCurdy breach will be briefed to the CJCS and SecDef?

There is an Army and DoD approved ICD and a draft CDD. Not cut and pasted from the FCS ORD.

Part of what is going in here is that this is really how the Army — under duress from OSD management — is stretching out the FCS MGV program. it is a very long stretch, but the belief is that the Army cannot pay for production, not even low rate production, in the present fiscal climate, so those costs get pushed out of the POM — and tomorrow is just another day.

Skinner is wrong on two accounts. The requirements for ICV/GCV/Whatever its name turns out to be — those requirements are well understood and they are not going away. It is not entirely clear why they chose to make survivability the long pole in the tent — other than some weasels like putting poison pills in these programs from the start…Bradley survivability issues are well understood, and this is not a tank. I’ve always held the view that the Army made a major mistake not taking the MCS into LRIP and testing to learn. Some of these guys are gonna be very tempted to go long and build an electro-magnetic armor solution.…given the Army’s current attitudes toward technology risk — what would they do with something like that if forced to make a resource decision — and defend it in public ? So the thing that is attractive in this approach is also the same thing that is unattractive — it keeps kicking the major decision down the road. And — oh, yeah, what Skinner says about Army generals not having combat time in armored vehicles is false — see Chiarelli’s resume.

“Anyone taking bets on when the first Nunn-McCurdy breach will be briefed to the CJCS and SecDef? ”

I almost expect at some point that Nunn-McCurdy may well be re-written (or whatever terminology is appropriate) or outright abolished,
considering just how many programs anymore have violated it…

Does anyone here seriously expect that future major defense programs are really going to fare any better than the mis-managed, overly-optimistic, expensive-and-behind-schedule programs we’ve seen in the last decade?

Doesn’t work that way. The Bradley design short-sheeted infantry strength on the ground — all 8 infantry battalions in a mech division could barely muster more than a thousand 11M soldiers. More capable troop carriers just give you the chance to get more infantrymen into the fight and rebalance the organization. Stryker did this somewhat, at the cost of a less capable “fighting vehicle”. Wake me up when Fort Benning finally gets its act together and figures out the roles and missions of the mechanized infantry.

Since we seem to have a lot of both armchair and real subject matter experts on this discussion, let me float this idea. Instead of overpaying defense contractors for underperforming products and technologies (the putting all your eggs in one basket approach), can we use a hybrid model instead? (1) Have the development R&D for technologies and materials performed by both defense contractors and DoD in-house R&D organizations. (2) Have all production work done by government-owned, government-operated industrial activities. The second would go a long way to keeping production costs in line. Comments? Criticisms?

offtopic: what is the status of the marine personell carrier?

William C they already tried FCS and it didn’t work

$200/mile. Why would they choose that number. Why wouldn’t they want costs to remain as close to what they are; instead of endorsing an escalation of costs before pencil meets the design paper?
And funding r&d is usually fruitful even if the project doesn’t get produced. But we need to think long and hard before we replace the vehicles already in use.

How about if we actually followed our existing policies & procedures and didn’t get ourselves committed to doomed to fail programs from the beginning? High risk research should be performed by DARPA. Only when high tech is proven on properties in an operational-like environment consider it feasible for integration into an MDAP (we already have TRLs). The problem is DoD pushes high tech into it’s MDAPs. We cannot afford to have MDAPs fail because we are operating ancient systems. Every failure makes the situation more and more unbearable. MDAPs need to be low risk, integrating current state of technology. It is hard to impossible enough just to get a program to survive independent cost estimating and testing, auditing, funding, and politics from all angles.

oops — I meant prototypes not “properties” above

What you propose also sounds something similar to 50/50 law, and that doesn’t work either. current state of organic depots testifies to this. DoD almost always turns to contractors for everything. Contractors generally are the only ones who will take the risks and are skilled & productive enough to develop, produce, and sustain real hardware & software.

Man just upgrade the bradley to the Technology Demonstrator. Why waste 10 million per vehicle. Here are some links to its ability: http://​defense​-update​.com/​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​s​/​b​/​b​r​a​d​l​e​y​.​htm. Here is a link to a whole family of vehicles based on the bradley: http://​defense​-update​.com/​w​p​/​2​0​1​0​1​0​2​6​_​m​1​1​3​-​r​e​p​lac.… They tested EM armor on the bradley already as well as an hyrbrid propulsion. Just leverage what we have and make it top of the line. elgatoso is right, there is no big jump in technology. The things that William mention mostly can be added to any vehicle. The reason the puma fits so many is its unmanned torrent, if u read the above links we can do the same with the bradley.

It’s just another foolish example that the Army has no engineering judgment to write realistic requirements. A road mile is different than an off road is different than an off road in combat is different in the jungle than in the desert etc etc. They’ve spec’d another foolish immeasurable, untestable requirement. In the end someone could come up with some kind of formula and pretend they’ve achieved the requirement. This means nothing to the Soldier in the field who cannot train properly because the system breaks all the time and is too expensive to sustain.

On hold.

A draft CDD?? Without an approved CDD the milestone decision authority does not usually declare a Milestone B (program initiation) because it is very risky — unstable requirements, unknown technological maturity, low levels of funding, and a strawman schedule. From a contacting perspective I’m not sure that an RFP can be advertised without a MS B. With funding in short supply I’m guessing that the Army had already inserted a “wedge” in the last POM for RDT&E funding — meaning that they haven’t yet POM’d for “full funding” to get from MS B to MS C. Smells like an Anti-Deficiency Act issue or at least a few bid protests.

A draft CDD?? Without an approved CDD the milestone decision authority does not usually declare a Milestone B (program initiation) because it is very risky — unstable requirements, unknown technological maturity, low levels of funding, and a strawman schedule. From a contacting perspective I’m not sure that an RFP can be advertised without a MS B. With funding in short supply I’m guessing that the Army had already inserted a “wedge” in the last POM for RDT&E funding — meaning that they haven’t yet POM’d for “full funding” to get from MS B to MS C. Smells like an Anti-Deficiency Act issue or at least a few bid protests.

Taxpayer: How about we just nationalize the defense industries? Then we’d have a military — military simplex. You want to transfer production to the same government that can’t effectively manage contractors or control costs and schedules? Haven’t you heard that the government doesn’t produce anything? It just wreaks havoc.

Have to agree with Skinner once again!

OK, lets spend $450 mil per contractor to develop an IFV without any solid prereqs. Moronic. I’m a retired BFV Master Gunner with many years experience on the platform. I also have experience with the LAV. Both systems are solid platforms with excellent weapons/targeting systems. Why wouldn’t we begin with here and develop in-house with the experts on the line. Use off the shelf technology for upgraded electronics and network connectivity. Lower the silohuet, lighten the chasis, etc. I’ll bet we could put together the meanest, deadliest combat vehicle ever built and definately for well under 10.5 mil delivered and per mile operating cost about the same as the current BFV.

Good Evening Folks,

Lets see, Bill R. challenges two aspects of what I said earlier. First the lack of Generals with combat experience with armor, he cites one. So what I made a generalization the military currently has over 1,300 flag officers find 650 more and you may have a point.

Then he challenges who in the Army asked for this. Bill R. bumbles around but can’t find any body in the Army who wants this vehicle, his answer amounts to nothing but what we already know, and that is the defense industry is a self licking ice cream cone.

The we are entertained by a rant on the MOS 11M and Mech. Infantry. The Army if anything has to much Mech, Infantry and needs more Light Infantry, which it looks like it is doing. Most of the Army’s heavy units it appears from the planning I’ve seen will be assigned to National Guard Units. After all this sorts out the only active Army Heavy Division will be the 1st. Armored at Ft. Bliss.

The Stryker was a bust, all of the false reporting and other lies from the DoA still could make this pig fly. The 105mm Gun Variant is history, but true to form the Army keeps ordering Strykers.

While the Army and the Marines appear to be in need of a direct fire platform for Infantry in the category of the Bushmaster III, it doesn’t need anymore APC’s or Tanks.

The price estimate of these vehicles is outrageous. For that money the Army can buy fully tricked out M/RQ-1’s, make strides into solving its communication issues and restart quality of life projects that have been put off now for 10 years.

Even Marines don’t deserve to live in barracks that were built in 1948.

This whole project is unwarranted, will cause more headaches then the tanker bid and is totally un-needed. All we are seeing here is the defense industry trying to create a need where there isn’t one and to promoted more business for itself and profits for equity holders.

ALLONS,

Byron Skinner

Time to dismantle some more of Byron’s claims again. It’s no individual general asking for this but it is the recognition that the Bradley will have to be replaced in the coming decades. Not just to replace aging vehicles but to provide superior capabilities and match potential opponents.

The Stryker was NEVER intended as a replacement for the Bradley. Rather the Stryker was to be the centerpiece of several light mechanized brigades that are significantly faster to get to the area of operations. It was to be the precursor to the MGV which was canceled along with much of the FCS program, hence why the Stryker was once known as the IAV, Interim Armored Vehicle. The Stryker MGS with the 105mm cannon is still around and while it has some flaws (turret is too cramped according to crew) it generally does what it is supposed to do.

The MGV series was planned to eventually replace all of the “legacy” armored fighting vehicles in the Army, meaning an overall shift to a lighter force more capable of rapid deployment. This along with the greater FCS plan was the brainchild of many post Cold-War planners. Yet since then things have changed. Iraq and Afghanistan have again shown the advantages of heavy armor and have put a halt to the idea of building most of our Army around comparatively light vehicles. The Army wants a purebred main battle tank like the Abrams for the foreseeable future.

MGV’s goal was a large “family” of vehicles on a common hull with the first priority going to a new SPG to replace the Paladin. Currently the only goal of this program is to develop a new ICV (infantry carrier vehicle) that will replace remaining M113s and eventually the Bradley. The question seems to be what sort of balance of armor, mobility, and firepower is the Army looking for. If any contractors submit wheeled designs they will likely be not much heavier than 25–30 tons. On the other end of the spectrum we could see “heavy” IFVs comparable in weight and armor protection to the 60+ ton Abrams offered. Could something based off the Bradley provide enough of an improvement to satisfy what the Army is looking for? We’ll have to wait to find that out.

I don’t think the Army is looking to arm the thing with a 105mm gun, but I imagine a 30mm autocannon (Mk.44 Bushmaster II) will be the minimum as many modern IFVs are resistant to 25mm fire.

Remember this vehicle we are talking about now won’t enter production until the later half of this decade at earliest. It is easy to say the Bradley is good enough for now, but what about in 2020?

Just too add. Yes there is plenty of potential for this program to be screwed up and end in disaster. But there is the potential for the US to take the lead in armored fighting vehicle development again and finally have some success in modernizing our military. If we don’t do anything on the basis that it may end up like (insert failed program here), we’re pretty screwed.

You don’t send APC’s to fight tanks. You send tanks to fight tanks (or more likely A-10’s and apaches).

Now this wouldn’t work for allmost every other military in the world.

BUT… The US defence is sooo huge compaired to everyone else (not necessarily manpower) but in terms of budget and buys of sheer amount of hardware that I would think this might work.

Besides having DARPA (as per its name) take care of advanced technology concepts and then have another department actually design the hardware right down to every single nut and bolt (and test them by prototypes).

Only then, when you have a working design with fully developed specs you put out a bidding contest on the production.

Hell if you owned an efficient tractor company with attached metal working factories they could bid on it.

Well it’s a tradeoff… Is the lack of efficiency (extra expense for the taxpayer) more costly than the profits (extra expense for the taxpayer)?

It seems you didn’t take that into account… I wouldn’t know the numbers either but I think that would be an important piece of the puzzle to really judge what would work.

Personal bonus info on my point of view. I would to you be a partly communist / socialist european. :)

Eg. I don’t at all mind businesses competing on things like pc’s, flatscreens, cars or meat.

I do have a certain morale issue with things like the medical industry, insurance companies or health care.

I just don’t like the idea of people profiting of other peoples “bad luck”. It basically revolves around these companies that making their profits on skimping on the service (“product”) to people who had a run of bad luck or just making money on ill people.

But thats a whole nother discussion for another day and just to describe where my point of view comes from.

Well I don’t think the problem necessarily is that a certain general doesn’t have experience with this and that platform.

Unless the person in question is then unable to seek out other peoples experience and knowledge on the subject.

But that is more a question whether you picked the right man for becoming boss or not.

Well, if I read correctly, this contract is supposed to be fixed-price, so F-35 shall not reoccurre, shall it? As far as I know, fixed price means that Army will give some money and if industry needs more, it’s entirely their problem.

I cannot add much to what William C. correctly stated. The original FCS operational requirements are still in the need bucket. No amount of sticking one’s head in the sand will make it otherwise. I do believe that the people who conceived FCS got ahead of themselves in proclaiming the demise of the main battle tank — begs the question of deployability — but there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Skinner’s comments on the Stryker just demonstrate how clueless he really is. You bought an “interim” solution off-the-shelf and there are problems. Just stripping the Army of more RDT&E money to polish your pet rock does not solve the problem that the Army has long standing needs that require a material solution and those needs are not being met.

By definition, DARPA cannot work to a requirements document — it is pure basic and applied research. And, the DoD labs have their mits on R&D all the way through 6.3 — at which point they must find a program of record to transition their work into production and fielding. OTH — industry has the opposite business model. R&D is kept as lean as possible, even if it is funded by Uncle Sam — the real incentives, as has been patiently explained to yours truly, are in production contracts. You incentivize industry a little by giving out small R&D contracts based on breadboard prototypes and simulation based acquisition. You incentivize industry a lot be letting it bend metal with the hope of larger scale production down the road. In house government production eliminates all incentive for industry to participate.

DARPA and/or the labs could change then. Whatever, the important point is to have well thought out, executable concepts and mature technologies prior to MS B. I disagree with you that R&D is lean. SDD contracts are big fat multiyear multibillion dollar contracts, government and contract mismanagement stretch these out to ridiculous durations. The “product” is billable hours and empty promises. Real products, if programs ever make it, are almost aways seriously flawed, requiring even more money to fix. The whole system stinks because the people leading it stink. The SecDef, President, and Congress are the only ones who can save the system by firing ineffective, incompetent, corrupt people, and terminating foolish programs. We need to recognize doomed to fail programs as early as possible, kill them, and try again with less risky concepts.

Most of the Army labs had their 6.2 programs reduced by half last year. DARPA itself is under a good bit of pressure to demonstrate “relevance” and push as much into the field as possible. One could do better by growing the concept right prior to Milestone A, and not rushing to get out of Milestone B. That requires more discipline and patience than the last two SecDefs have had. But that is the right way to keep SDD phase costs down. As far as the crack about billable hours is concerned, all I will say is that more systems engineers is not always better. My dream program would have NO HUMP — the same people would work on it start to finish, and the engineering staff profile would be a flat line from Milestone B until IOT&E. I understand that is not what they teach project managers in school. In this environment, a PM has to be tough as nails as well as technically grounded and most importantly, a compassionate leader who motivates his people to do what seems impossible. You don’t get that kind of excellence by whining about schedule and risk, or by demonstrating to your engineers how little their livelihood matters to you. Aim low and you’ll shoot short every time. Aim high and win.

maybe we agree on somethings maybe we don’t. but on your last statement, i’m not suggesting anyone aim low. i’m saying aim straight. aiming high should be for labs & DARPA. aiming to have a program survive the oversight, scheduling, testing, and costing process needs to become the norm in MDAP, not the current ration of crap we are force fed.

So tows are only used to fight tanks?

TOWs are used to fight tanks. You could also employ them against buildings and bunkers, “hard targets” but they are mainly useful for killing armored vehicles.

I guess it was someone else who brought up Nunn-McCurdy. One of the good things one could do would be to lighten up the leash a little bit and give PMs the chance to recommit the money they save by running a tight program. As it stands now, Congress (or OSD) will swipe up management reserve in a hearbeat, then beat up on the poor PM for not making his numbers and schedule balance up. You could make a lot of money and introduce efficiencies in the system by letting PMs keep their own money rather than incentivize them to spend, spend and spend down to the last dollar.

What you are describing is a program 15 years ago called AFV Armored Family of Vehicles. This program demonstrated electric drive, from engine drive, the different vehicles basically were a slide in package. This vehicle was demonstrated to the Army, program was succesfully completed. Then the Army decided that what was done no longer fit the requirement. Here we go again, same thing different players and
$ Billions wasted again because the requirements are cast in jello.

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