FCS Budget Woes Continue

Despite a full-bore public relations campaign to press lawmakers into supporting the Armys Future Combat System program, it looks like Congress wasnt buying the services pitch.FCS-testing-web.jpg

According to a report by Tony Capaccio with Bloomberg News, House authorizers slashed the FCS budget 23 percent, cutting nearly $870 million from the Armys fiscal 2008 request. According to service budget documents, the Army asked for $3.7 billion in 2008 to pay for the following:

Continuing development, testing and delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles, unattended ground sensors and unmanned ground vehicle prototypes.

Completing preliminary platform design reviews and initiating critical design reviews.

Continuing development of the FCS network, including delivery of the battle command network and software to support key testing events and Spin Out 1.

Completing technical field testing (TFT), force development testing and evaluation (FDT&E) and limited user testing (LUT) for Spin Out 1.

Delivering early prototypes of the Non-Line-Of-Sight-Cannon (NLOS-C) Manned Ground Vehicle.

Continuing development of the short-range countermeasure active protection system.

See an exerpt of Capaccios story below:

The $867 million cut is the largest since the program was proposed in 2003. Cuts in the past two years have averaged about 10 percent.

This latest cut could be overturned by the Senate Armed Services Committee when it completes its version of the fiscal 2008 spending measure later this month.

At $161 billion, the Future Combat Systems is the Pentagon's second-most-costly program, behind the $276 billion Joint Strike Fighter.

Since fiscal 2003, the program's research-and-development phase has slipped five years and the final fielding date by seven years.

And the House Armed Services Committees red pen didnt stop there

In a separate action, the committee voted to kill the Textron Inc. Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, a $3.6 billion program.

The committee recommended that the program be reopened to competition. In voting to kill Textron's stewardship, the committee cited a long list of problems.

The program's development phase has grown to more than $300 million from $210 million, and the per-aircraft price has nearly doubled -- to almost $10 million from $5.2 million, according to Army officials.

Like the story says, the money for FCS and the ARH, for that matter - could be restored by the Senate Armed Services Committee and put back into the final bill during the conference markup. But at a time when the worlds attention is focused on current operations and counterinsurgencies, its hard to see how the Armys sales pitch is going to take hold.

-- Christian

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