As the Army’s Future Combat Systems’ program struggles to stabilize its path after the announcement of the planned elimination of eight manned ground vehicles from the program – unmanned systems, remotely operated sensors and weapons are becoming once again the leading elements in FCS. The element that will control these systems, known as the ‘Common Controller’ has successfully completed its preliminary design review (PDR) and the system is expected to begin testing with the Army later this year.

Close Representation of Controls & 6.4” Display Device Design Concept being developed by Lockheed Martin for the FCS program.

“The combined government and industry team delivered a mature design that meets the FCS program schedule and requirements,” said Roy Seaton, FCS LSI Common Control program manager. The Common Controller consolidates control of a number of different systems into one integrated controller, simplifying logistics and empowering the soldier.

Primarily, it controls the FCS Class I (T-Hawk) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Multifunctional Utility/Logistics Equipment vehicle (MULE), the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), unattended ground sensors (UGS), and select ground vehicle functions and their respective payloads. The controller also provides situational awareness to dismounted soldiers conducting operations outside of their vehicles. The Common Controller hardware is being developed and supplied to the Lead Systems Integrator by Lockheed Martin.

“The Common Controller PDR marks the successful completion of the last of our individual platform and system reviews and clears the way for the FCS System-of-Systems PDR in May,” said Gregg Martin, Boeing vice president and FCS program manager. “The entire FCS One Team continues to execute to their commitments, which enables our program to remain on plan. Following the System-of-Systems PDR, we’ll be focusing on executing ourcritical design reviews and moving into final test and evaluation of our systems.”

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