Contractors vie for Future Combat
- By George I. Seffers
- May 12, 2000
The Army this week announced the first four contractors to participate in
the Future Combat Systems program, an effort to equip future soldiers with
vehicles loaded with surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting systems.
The Future Combat System family of vehicles is widely viewed as a replacement
for the Army's Abrams tank, but likely will replace a number of other vehicles
as well. The new vehicles are considered integral to the Army's plans to
become a lighter, more lethal and more mobile force.
The system will weigh about 20 tons, in contrast to the heavily armored
60-ton Abrams tank, and it will require a full suite of information technologies
to allow it to locate and hit enemy targets while remaining undetected.
"If you get the surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition
right, you don't have to worry about how much frontal armor you have," said
retired Army Gen. Paul Gormon, speaking at the National Defense Industrial
Association science and technology symposium held May 9-11 at Johns Hopkins
University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
The four contractors vying to build the IT-laden vehicle are Boeing
Co.'s Phantom Works; Science Applications International Corp.; the Team
Focus Vision Consortium, which includes Raytheon Co.; and Team Gladiator,
which includes TRW Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. among others.
The Future Combat Systems demonstration program is a collaborative effort
between the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with
the former paying $509 million and the latter $406 million.