On a conference call earlier this week with Army Maj. Gen. Keith Walker, the service’s Future Force Integration Directorate Commander, I asked him about the crappy performance of the Non Line-of-Sight Launch System’s (NLOS-LS) Precision Attack Missile. The not very precise missile only went two for six in recent limited user live fire tests out at White Sands; the hits only came when it used its laser designator instead of the infrared seeker, which is kind of cheating (laser designated rounds have been around for a long time).
Walker, who is in charge of getting all of the former bits and pieces of technology that fell out of the FCS cancellation integrated into the future force, was none too pleased about the NLOS-LS tests; he was there to witness the misses first hand. “It’s a significant impact, obviously,” he said.
I asked Walker how much patience the Army has with Raytheon’s missile builders. “It depends on what went wrong, if it’s a matter of the switch was set to A instead of B, then that’s just turning the switch. It’s likely at this point in the evaluation that it’s a bit more complicated than that.”
The Army lacks an “easily deployable guided missile system,” he said, but, there is a cost versus benefit issue with the NLOS-LS; the missiles reportedly cost $466,000 a piece. Once the guidance malfunction is identified, then “we can figure out what it would take to fix it. Then the Army’s got the decision: Okay, do we modify the program? Do we cancel the program? Or do we continue?”
The Army is having a tough time even figuring out how the NLOS-LS would fit into its precision fires world because it has yet to perform as advertised, he said.