Future Combat System Prototype Vehicles
United Defense Industries, Inc. unveiled two Future Combat System vehicle prototypes at the Association of the U. S. Army's annual meeting in October 2002. Featuring breakthrough technologies with a high degree of subsystem commonality, the C-130 transportable wheeled and tracked vehicle platforms would enable the U.S. Army to field highly advanced and cost-effective Future Combat Systems vehicles by 2008. United Defense previewed both of its adaptable Future Combat System prototypes at the AUSA annual meeting in Washington, D.C., 21-23 October 2002. Both vehicles increase mobility, survivability and - when configured as mobile gun systems - lethality. There is significant commonality between the two vehicles, thus affording the U.S. Army the flexibility to select a mixed fleet, with wheeled or tracked systems tailored to the mission, without sacrificing the logistics savings inherent in a common design.
United Defense designed and manufactured its Future Combat System-Wheeled prototype (FCS-W) in less than eight months demonstrating the Company's ability to meet the Army's objectives and deadlines. The materials and structure of the wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle incorporate leap-ahead technologies and designs. The FCS wheeled prototype shares a high degree of commonality with a second new tracked vehicle, the Future Combat System -Tracked (FCS-T). The FCS-T prototype was shown in the U.S. for the first time after being developed for the U.S./U.K. Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) program. FCS-T features hybrid-electric drive, band track and an advanced crew station, among other features.
Future Combat System-Wheeled (FCS-W)
FCS-W is based on FCS Phase 1 vehicle concepts and designed to demonstrate advanced capabilities that the Army is seeking for its future force. FCS-W features a hybrid-electric drive system and two-man cockpit workstation that incorporates innovations developed for the Future Scout program. The vehicle features new material designs that provide superior ballistic protection through a highly advanced vehicle hull structure.
FCS-W is designed to deliver a top road speed of 75 mph, a maximum cross-country speed of over 40 mph and acceleration from 0-30 mph in 7 seconds. The vehicle features an advanced hybrid structural design that combines titanium, high strength aluminum, polymer composites and ceramics to provide superior ballistic protection when combined with the latest armors. The unique arrangement of the turbine power unit and drive motor provides for a two-man, side-by-side cockpit and a large payload compartment for a full infantry squad or mission equipment for other FCS variants.
United Defense leveraged years of Army investment and Company experience in vehicle systems integration, hybrid-electric drive, composites, active protection systems, crew cockpits and other technologies in creating and manufacturing this prototype. The Company has integrated technologies into FCS-W that are ready for FCS Block 1 variants. To design and manufacture the FCS-W in less than eight months, United Defense adapted its vast library of prior research, development and design data, and used its experience as a vehicle solutions integrator to deploy some of the best combat vehicle technologies available today.
Collaborative partnerships in research and development with industry, government and academia made FCS-W possible. The development of United Defense's wheeled prototype combined the Company's mobility system development and integration, with the Army Tank - Automotive and Armaments Command Research and Development Engineering Center's (TARDEC) Integrated Hybrid Structure program, which leveraged a number of enabling material, design and process technologies that have application to FCS.
Concurrent Technologies Corporation of Johnstown, Pa., provided expertise in advanced metallics and manufacturing process development; The University of Delaware Center of Composite Materials supported low-cost composite materials and processing; The TARDEC/ARDEC manufacturing technology program produced a titanium-intensive hull structure, representing the first broad application of low-cost titanium using United Defense's titanium welding processes that enable efficient volume manufacturing of hull structures; ARDEC and the Boeing Company provided advanced surface preparations for titanium for bonding of ceramic armor tiles; Honeywell provided the turbine, Timoney Technology, Ltd. of Ireland provided the 8x8 wheeled automotive components and AeroVironment provided the battery system.
Future Combat System -Tracked (FCS-T)
In addition to FCS, system level demonstrations also include the Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), a cooperative US/ United Kingdom program. FSCS ATD was completed in July FY02 with a robust demonstrator provided by each contractor team to assess the warfighting capabilities of the advanced technology incorporated into the FCS design. The FSCS ATD program is viewed by the US Army as a technology carrier for FCS and, possibly, for the Interim Brigade Combat Team. In coordination with the UK, the Army extended the FSCS program from its planned completion in July 2002 to April 2003 to further test and demonstrate FSCS technologies that may transition to FCS.
FCS-T was originally developed for the joint U.S./U.K. FSCS development program. The vehicle recently completed testing in the U.K. and returned to the U.S. FCS-T is C130 transportable at 16 tons and can be deployed directly to the battlefield in any terrain without preparation.
Designed from the start to meet a requirement to equip units in 2008, FCS-T is highly mobile in all terrain, and reduces logistics support requirements through the efficient hybrid-electric drive system, hydropneumatic suspension and band track. The vehicle will travel at 56 mph on hard road surfaces and more than 40 mph cross-country, with acceleration of 0 to 30 mph in about 7 seconds. Crew cockpits are tailored for superior visibility and engineered to maximize crew interaction.
FCS-T was built using the best available tracked vehicle designs and subsystems. The platform provides a realistic foundation for building a full-spectrum objective force. The performance of the platform demonstrated that the subsystem maturity would provide significant risk reduction on FCS. All key components are at a technology readiness level of 6 or better.
"Our FCS wheeled and tracked platforms are the latest example of how United Defense is changing the future of defense," Doty concluded. "Our company and our people look forward to assisting the Army in any way possible as it prepares for the challenge of fielding Future Combat Systems by 2008."
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