Designed to increase battle effectiveness, the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program intends to develop and field a number of new, highly integrated battlefield systems. With the Department of Defenses (DoDs) approval, the Army has begun introducing technologies that have shown significant progress and the first of a series of 'spin outs' will consist of several systems designed to improve lethality and survivability of the soldiers. Also included in the first round of technology introductions are non-line-of-sight launch system, unattended ground sensors (UGS), intelligent munitions systems (IMS), and follow-on phases will present numerous opportunities in the coming years and expand the market for many promising FCS technologies.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, United States Future Combat Systems Market, reveals that revenues in this market totaled $5.51 billion in 2005 and can reach $7.85 billion in 2012.
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“Although the Army is at crossroads due to the many challenges confronting the FCS, the payoff for the Army and the industry from the program will be tremendous,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Darren Corbiere. “The goal of a tightly integrated system-of-systems will lead to a paradigm shift in the way the Army fights and spiral acquisition processes will also leverage emerging technologies sooner providing continuous improvements across the spectrum.”
Adding cause to the FCS program is the continued involvement of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. Equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan is wearing out after almost six years of constant use and the DoD and the Army have to balance the costs of resetting legacy equipment to maintain combat effectiveness against the cost of procuring FCS. A reset will be needed before FCS is fully capable but the larger question is how much to reset and which components. Even if manned ground systems do not go forward in the short term, excessive wear and tear on all combat equipment such as radios, unmanned systems, and other aircraft is providing a case for the planned acquisition of FCS capable systems.
Moving ahead to the challenges confronting FCS, the progress of a few FCS systems has been slow due to technological immaturity. This immaturity has resulted in increased program costs and delayed funding. In addition, some of the advantages that were promised are no longer seen as possible and the survivability of the systems is also questionable given the nature of urban and gorilla warfare tactics.
“The future of FCS is questionable in this era of budget oversight on big ticket items,” says Corbiere. “However, even if FCS fails to continue as a program of record, technologies developed under the program are likely to find applications throughout the Army and more broadly, throughout the DoD in existing systems.”
Many times, the U.S. military is waiting for the industry to address its issues and contractors in turn look for the military to propose the problems on hand. As a result, both parties loose out on opportunities to overcome challenges that could prove mutually beneficial. Hence, to overcome this apparent lack of communication, contractors must seek out and explore every opportunity to demonstrate their wares and be sure to obtain the appropriate certifications.
United States Future Combat Systems Market is part of the Aerospace & Defense subscription service. It provides an analysis of the U.S. Army's planned acquisition of a vast array of modern networked systems designed to replace many current combat elements. In this research service, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets/applications/technologies: Unmanned Aerial Systems, Unmanned Ground Systems, Armored Vehicles, Ground Sensors and Improved Munitions. Interviews are available to the press.
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