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FCS Mounted Combat System (MCS) (formerly FCS BLOS)

As of 2003, the Line-of-Sight / Beyond Line-of-Sight (LOS/BLOS) Vehicle's name was changed to the Mounted Combat System (MCS) Vehicle.

The LOS/BLOS was a FCS combat vehicle with 105-120mm cannon with LOS/BLOS capability. It was developed in the FCS 120mm LOS/BLOS ATD. Also included is a Self Protection Weapon. The MCS has a 120mm main gun, a .50 Cal machine gun, and a Mk-19 40mm.

The Future Combat System's (FCS) MCS is a joint effort between the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intended to replace the Army's current fleet of General Dynamics M1 Abrams tanks, United Defense M2 and M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other armored vehicles. General Dynamics is currently heading up the manned ground vehicle common design development with United Defense, the FCS Lead Systems Integrator (LSI), and the Army. Furthermore, General Dynamics is leading the development of the MCS. According to Army officials, the Army should attain the technological innovations needed to create the Future Force as projected. Key among these are the technologies required to produce the MCS, which will be a replacement for the 70-ton M1 Abrams tank that will have the same lethality and survivability but will weigh only 20 tons.

The FCS Anti-Tank variant is a 20-ton vehicle with a 2-man crew, an allowance for 2 passengers, and a direct fire ETC weapon capable of beyond-line-of-sight fires with the Tank Extended Range Munition (TERM) round. The gun elevates up to 60 degrees to enable precision fires at elevated targets in urban environments with programmable levels of lethality. Survivability is enabled by enhanced situational understanding and long-range fires (up to 8 kilometers from a target) to avoid close combat with enemy tanks, signature management to avoid or delay detection, active protection against tank-fired and larger munitions, and passive armor to defeat all lesser threats. Ground mobility is enabled by a fuel-efficient hybrid-electric drive system, and at 20-tons, the vehicle can be inserted precisely via parasail.

It is a virtual certainty that future conflicts in the 2025-era will find US forces opposing traditional massed heavy armor. There will be occasions where the MCS will encounter such enemy forces and direct fire engagements will be unavoidable. Under such circumstances, Overmatching Direct Fire Lethality (ODFL) will be essential to FCS survivability. For a vehicle as light as 20 tons, however, ODFL as protection reflects a last-ditch defensive measure of desperation to be called upon only after the vehicle has gotten itself into a situation that should have been avoided in the first place. If the MCS is used in a manner that optimizes its capabilities and minimizes its operational weaknesses, the overall contribution of its ODFL capabilities to survivability will be relatively small.

Despite having an overmatching direct fire capability, the survivability of a 20-ton MCS will be severely threatened by close-in encounters with enemy main battle tanks. MCS survival will depend on vehicle capability to engage and defeat enemy targets at extended ranges outside the reach of enemy guns. The Tank Extended Range Munition (TERM) program is directed toward providing that capability while retaining an overmatching direct fire capability as well. A variety of projectile concepts are being pursued. Contractor teams are being led by Alliant, Boeing, and Raytheon. The TERM program is structured to meet a First-Unit Equipped (FUE) goal of 2010. This date is compatible with the planned development cycle for FCS, which began in 2003.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:42:57 ZULU