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Land Warrior (LW)

2000s History

The systems integration for the Land Warrior was managed by Program Executive Office Soldier's Project Manager Soldier Systems and the subsystems were developed through the collaborative efforts of PM-Soldier Electronics, PM-Soldier Equipment, and Communication and Electronics Command (CECOM) with a Consortium of development contractors.

The program manager contracted with Exponent, Incorporated, to develop a prototype system. Based on an evaluation of the initial prototyping efforts, the program manager asked Exponent to deliver 70 prototype systems for further demonstrations. As a result of the prototype system's promising performance during warfighting exercises, the program manager established another transactions agreement with a consortium of six contractors (the Consortium), including Exponent, Incorporated (a nontraditional defense company), Computer Sciences Corporation, Omega Training Group, Incorporated, Pacific Consultants LLC, PEMSTAR, Incorporated, and the Wexford Group, International. The roles and responsibilities were as follows:

Computer Sciences Corporation Eatontown, NJ Logistics, Software Application
Pacific Consultants Mountain View, CA Hardware Design and Integration, Firmware, System Integration
PEMSTAR San Jose, CA Hardware Fabrication
Exponent Menlo Park, CA Test, Configuration Management, System Documentation
Omega Training Group Columbus, GA Training, Test
Wexford Group Vienna, VA Consortium Administration

Transactions agreements between the Consortium and the program manager followed. The first transactions agreement required the Consortium to perform a coordinated development program for the design, development, integration, fabrication, test, delivery, and support of the Land Warrior version 1.0 system during the engineering and manufacturing phase of the acquisition process. The other transactions agreement was firm-fixed-price, using payable milestones, for a performance period of 2 years (FY01 through FY03).

To reduce technical risk and to expedite fielding the Land Warrior's capabilities, the program manager effectively planned an evolutionary acquisition strategy to develop and produce the Land Warrior System in three sequential blocks. The Block I development and production effort was to provide Army units with a Land Warrior System that met the threshold performance requirements in the draft operational requirements document, dated 31 October 2001. Block II and Block III were upgrades that were to meet the time-phased objective performance requirements in the draft operational requirements document.

The LW system consisted as of 2000 consisted of the following of five subsystems:

  • The integrated helmet assembly (IHAS), which featured a helmet-mounted monocular display with flip-up design, thermal weapon sight (TWS), and video camera. The audio headset included a chinstrap-mounted microphone and speakers mounted into the helmet suspension system.
  • A modular weapons system with the primary user weapons being the M16A4 rifle, M4 carbine, M240B machine gun, and M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW). Each weapon was fitted with a rail system to hold the following components: TWS, reflex or close combat optic (CCO), multi-function laser, video camera, and infrared aiming light.
  • Protective clothing and individual equipment, which consisted of a soft armor ballistic protective vest with optional ballistic plates and load-carrying equipment. The modular packs consisted of an approach pack, sustainment pack, and butt pack.
  • A wearable computer and radio, which featured a global positioning system receiver, capture and transmission of video imagery, a squad radio with type 1 encryption, and a soldier radio with type 3 encryption.
  • Computer software, which provided digitized map displays, overlays, signal operating instructions, and controlled messaging. The software allowed images from the TWS and video camera to be transmitted to the IHAS and throughout the chain of command.

The Human Research and Engineering Directorate of the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) conducted a human factors evaluation (HFE) of the Land Warrior (LW) System as part of the Land Warrior Safety Test conducted by Aberdeen Test Center in March 2002. The primary objective was to identify human factors issues associated with the LW system. Five assessments were conducted as part of the HFE: glove compatibility, shooting performance, weapons compatibility, mobility and portability, and range of motion. Participants were 12 infantry Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

As of mid-2002 the Army had not finalized system requirements in the operational requirements document because the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) System Manager-Soldier was still defining the force structure requirement for the Land Warrior System to accommodate the Army's ongoing transformation to the Objective Force capability. As a result of the uncertainty of the force structure, the program manager had explored many options, ranging from 13,676 systems costing $3.6 billion to 47,245 systems costing $7.6 billion. Multiple options were explored because the Army had also not fully defined the mix of components for the Land Warrior System, which would also affect system costs.

As a result of the uncertainty of the force structure, the Land Warrior Program Office, working with the TRADOC System Manager-Soldier and the Army Cost and Economic Analysis Center, developed 24 estimates for the number of Land Warrior systems that were needed, based on distribution of the system to different types of combat personnel. Examples of the internally generated alternative distribution estimates that the program office was considering and their associated estimated life-cycle costs include the following five distribution alternatives.

Land Warrior Distribution Number of Systems Life-Cycle Cost (millions)
All squad members 47,245 $7,609
Half of the riflemen 43,645 7,207
No riflemen 39,325 6,714
Squad and team leaders and above 18,053 4,227
Squad leaders and above 13,679 3,600

In FY03 the Land Warrior acquisition strategy changed from what was reported earlier. Previously, the Program Office intended to field three versions of the Land Warrior system: Land Warrior-Initial Capability (LW-IC), Land Warrior-Stryker Interoperable, and Land Warrior-Advanced Capability. These versions were designed to meet one of the three blocks of requirements defined in the Land Warrior Operational Requirements Document (ORD). The Block I Land Warrior-Initial Capability acquisition was terminated because of technical and reliability issues. The subsequent acquisition strategy was to acquire Block II Land Warrior-Stryker Interoperable systems that were interoperable with Stryker Medium Armored Vehicles. Block I and II functionality requirements were to be met with this version. The Program Office would add functionality to provide the system with additional capabilities to allow interoperability with the Army's Future Combat Systems. The Land Warrior-Advanced Capability version will be designed to meet undefined Block III requirements.

The first operational test of the LW system was conducted in September 2000 with a platoon of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. At that time, the target date for fielding the final version of the LW System, an even more advanced model, smaller and more affordable, was 2004. There had been no operational tests of any LW versions prior to 2000 and no tests of Block II or III systems prior to 2003. The DOT&E expected testing to begin in FY06. As of 2003 the US Army planned to begin fielding elements of the Land Warrior system by 2004.

The US Army Infantry Center conducted a side-by-side comparison between Land Warrior-equipped Soldiers and currently equipped Soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia, in late 2004. This squad-level operational assessment demonstrated that Land Warrior capabilities did improve the combat effectiveness of Soldiers and small units engaged in dismounted operations. As a result, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army directed conduct of a battalion-level Land Warrior assessment.

The FY05 Defense Appropriations conferees directed the Secretary of the Army to submit to the congressional defense committees a plan, not later than 31 January 2005, to consolidate the Land Warrior and Future Force Warrior programs into a single program, benefiting from the efficiencies of each. The conferees also recommended a reduction to the Future Force Warrior program of $5,000,000 and a reduction to the Land Warrior program of $15,000,000, as a result of anticipated efficiencies gained through consolidation of these two programs. The consolidated program was expected to take on the focus of the Army's Future Combat System (FCS) and provide the Army with a FCS dismounted capability for the individual soldier. Further, the conferees understood that it was possible to field a dismounted capability immediately to the Stryker Brigades currently deployed in combat. Therefore, the conferees recommend that the combined program re-focus its procurement strategy to incorporate these emerging capabilities, such as the Commanders Digital Assistant (CDA) and hand-held EPLRS capabilities, into the Stryker brigades immediately.

In 2005, the Army terminated a spiral of Land Warrior, the Dismounted Battle Command System, intended to provide a limited, near-term capability to the current force, and it renewed its focus on the full Land Warrior system. The program office reported at the same time that the full system's three critical technologies (power, radio, and navigation module) were mature.

The Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior Soldier Systems were under operational assessment at Fort Lewis, Washington, by the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The 4th Bn. was equipped with 440 Land Warrior Systems and 147 Mounted Warrior Systems for the assessment, which continued through September 2006. The assessment was expected to provide significant insights about Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior combat effectiveness, tactics, techniques and procedures. Soldiers had been positive concerning benefits from Land Warrior capabilities, and continued to provide valuable feedback to improve the system for the Limited User Test in September 2006. The assessment was sponsored by the Army Infantry Center and Program Executive Office Soldier.

On 7 April 2006, the Department of Defense released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the September 2005 reporting period. This information was based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2005 reporting period. Land Warrior program costs decreased $8,880.3 million (-68.7%) from $12,934.5 million to $4,054.2 million, due primarily to a quantity decrease of 60,189 systems from 84,970 to 24,781 (-$3,228.1 million) and associated schedule and estimating allocations (+$1,162.9 million), as well as reduced initial spares, peculiar support, training, and data related to the decrease in quantity (-$689.3 million). In addition, there was a downward revision in the cost estimate to reflect the Army's updated requirements for the Land Warrior Ensemble and the Ground Soldier System (GSS) (-$6,687.9 million). These decreases were partially offset by the application of revised escalation rates (+$511.4 million).

Test and budget assessments were also to inform the decision-maker regarding Land Warrior's entry into low-rate initial production in March 2007. According to the Army, test results indicated that Land Warrior was generally effective, suitable, and survivable. However, due to significant Army-wide resource challenges, the Army had decided to not pursue further development and production of Land Warrior.

The program office reported to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that Land Warrior's three critical technologies, a navigation module, radio, and power (rechargeable batteries), were mature, and prototypes of these technologies had been tested in a realistic environment, according to information published by the GAO in March 2007. Two backup technologies, disposable batteries and a navigation module with GPS only, were also mature. Between the previous GAO review and the March 2007 assessment, the program had focused on reducing the weight of subsystems and enhancing reliability by better integrating the subsystems and improving connections to the processor.

The Land Warrior system was to have used the JTRS radio, scheduled to be available in FY11. In the meantime, the program was using a radio compatible with Stryker communications to provide voice, position, and command and control information at the team/squad level and higher.

The Stryker vehicle component of Land Warrior allowed for battery recharging in the vehicle, communication between the dismounted soldier and vehicle using the radio, and access to the lower tactical internet through a gateway installed in the vehicle.

The GAO reported that it could not assess the maturity of production processes for Land Warrior because the program did not collect statistical process control data during the system development phase. In the last quarter of FY06, the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) conducted a user representative assessment of the system and the Army Test and Evaluation Command led a Limited User Test, both of which will inform a production decision in March 2007. According to the program office, General Dynamics (by then the primary contractor) planned to take lessons learned from the assessment to mature manufacturing processes.

The GAO also reported that the Land Warrior program had experienced significant challenges and delays in its 12-year history prior to 2007. The program restructured after contractor prototypes failed basic certification tests in 1998. Government testing revealed technical and reliability problems with Block I (Land Warrior-Initial Capability), which was subsequently terminated in 2003. Block II (Land Warrior-Stryker Interoperable) was restructured in 2004 in response to congressional direction to immediately field some Land Warrior capabilities to the current force. The restructured program, the Dismounted Battle Command System (DBCS), was refocused in 2005 following a test event that concluded it had not demonstrated the necessary capabilities and was not mature. Elements of DBCS, such as a friendly force tracking capability, were modified and integrated into the next phase of the system, Land Warrior in support of Stryker.

The program as of 2007 had been focused on developing an integrated Land Warrior capability in support of the Army's Stryker Brigades. Slightly less capable than Block II, this system was used to equip one Stryker battalion in FY06 for assessment purposes. A program official reported that, following the assessment, the battalion decided to take the Land Warrior system with it to Iraq when it deploys in the third quarter of FY07.

The Ground Soldier System, a future iteration of Land Warrior capability, would provide advanced capabilities. This future iteration was intended to provide a dismounted soldier capability to the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) and to units not associated with FCS.

Due to significant Army-wide resource challenges, the Army reported in 2007 that it had decided to not pursue further development and production of Land Warrior. On April 6, 2007 the Department of Defense (DoD) released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the September 2006 reporting period. This information was based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2006 reporting period. Land Warrior program costs decreased $3,382.8 million (-83.4%) from $4,054.2 million to $671.4 million, due to termination of the program by the Army Acquisition Executive.

The Army News Service reported on 28 May 2008, that the Army was seeking to equip an entire brigade combat team with the Land Warrior system. The Army approved an Operational Needs Statement to field the Land Warrior system to the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, in 2009. During the previous year, Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment had faced the challenges of asymmetric warfare in Iraq using Land Warrior, and the battalion's success prompted others to ask for the system. The 4-9th Infantry was part of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Washington. However, Land Warrior needed extra procurement money to be ready for FCS Block I. The program had always been plagued by a funding gap and was never fully supported in order to synchronize with FCS. This was one of the factors that led to the program being shelved entirely as of early FY08.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY09 did not include any request for funds in Other Procurement, Army (OPA) for the Land Warrior system. The Senate Armed Services Committee was concerned that the Army had terminated this program despite significant investment, its promising test results, and its performance in combat.

During 2008, the Department of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) assessed Land Warrior during tests with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, a Stryker unit preparing to deploy to Iraq. The Director, in a carefully worded report to this committee, determined that the system was "on track" to be operationally effective and suitable, even though it had not completed its Initial Operational Test. DOT&E also indicated that the system's test items could deploy to Iraq with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, the Army approved the plan, and the battalion was equipped with the system.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee during 2008, the Army indicated that it would move forward with the program based on the test results and the feedback from the soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry. Additionally, the Army included in its FY08 supplemental appropriation request sufficient funding to outfit a brigade combat team with Land Warrior equipment.

The Senate Armed Services Committee was encouraged by the Army's action and recommended accelerating the procurement of the system to include enough equipment to outfit a second brigade combat team preparing to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. Accordingly, the committee recommended an increase of $102.0 million in OPA for additional Land Warrior systems in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY09. This effectively reactivated the Land Warrior Program.

Subsequently, on 10 September 2008, General Dynamics C4 Systems announced that it had been awarded a $70 million contract to equip the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division with a new, lighter-weight version of the Land Warrior integrated fighting system. This order funded a Brigade-set of Land Warrior ensembles and vehicle integration kits.




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