Boeing gets more FCS funds

The Army announced Monday that the service has awarded a $219.2 million contract to Boeing for the Future Combat System program.

The deal is part of a contract worth about $20 billion for the FCS system development and demonstration acquisition phase that started in 2003, according to a Defense Department contracts announcement.

FCS is the Army’s next-generation fighting force of 18 light, lethal and mobile manned and robotic air and ground systems connected by a fast, secure communications network. The program passed a major review last month that validated the systems can work together on the battlefield.

“This review is an important milestone for the program and the Army’s initiative to achieve [DOD] transformation goals,” said Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cartwright, the service’s program manager for the unit of action, which refers to the brigade-type organization structure for FCS, in a Boeing statement issued last month. “We feel confident that we have properly captured the warfighter’s needs and established a functional baseline” for FCS.

The Army held a media briefing last week at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., to demonstrate FCS technologies and meet with service leaders about them. Congress is debating this fall whether to cut funding for the program in DOD’s 2006 budget request after the House Armed Services Committee slashed $400 million from the service’s $3.4 billion request in May.

The Army and Boeing plan to decide next year on the operating systems for FCS. They will also conduct an initial program design review.

The Army plans to deploy the first FCS technologies to soldiers in 2008 and the first unit equipped with FCS in 2014. The service awarded a contract called the lead system integrator in 2001 to the industry team of Boeing and Science Applications International Corp. to help oversee the program.

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