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Author Topic: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution  (Read 42144 times)

Offline Rafael

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FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« on: July 13, 2007, 03:32:27 pm »
Hola!!!

I'm interested in information on the evolution of the FCS.
These are two models I made from depictions taken out of ARMOR MAGAZINE in 1997. The model is a concept contest winner apparently designed by Dr. Asher Sharoni, from Western Design Howden (WDH)




Thanks,
Rafa
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 06:16:31 pm by Rafael »

Offline Ranger6

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2007, 09:58:43 am »
Rafael,

What information are you looking for? There are a number of good sites with information on the FCS and related systems. However, as the program is still in the design stage, there will very likely be major revisions prior to cutting metal. ;)

Also, it's important to note that the FCS contains three different vehicle systems: Tracked, Wheeled, and Unmanned. So far, the most information that is available is on the tracked system(s).

Hope this helps a little -- I'll post more information after I dig it out of my "archive."

Abraham

Offline Anderman

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2007, 10:10:28 am »
Hola Rafael,

i don't know if you know this the "future combat system" and the "future combat systemS" are different project
the first was a replacement project for the M1.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/fcs.htm

The new conception of the Future Combat Systems [plural] as a distributed battlefield system of systems [in the 20-ton class] represents a rather dramatic departure from the previous concept of the Future Combat System [singular] which was focused on a 40-ton tank.

maybe this links helps a little bit to:

http://www.mainbattletanks.czweb.org/Tanky/dfsv.htm

« Last Edit: July 17, 2007, 10:12:30 am by Anderman »

Offline Rafael

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2007, 02:00:13 pm »
Thanks for replying, amigos!!

I understand that the FCS started life as a replacement search for a substitute for the M-1 Abrams Tank. It envisioned a "threshold or interim model", before going to full scale development of the definitive tank.

Then I found that the "System" in FCS was changed to "Systems" to accommodate the development of up to 16 (?) manned and unmanned ground and air vehicles.

It all happened sooo fast...When was the "Systems" introduced?
....and why?

Of course, there were other programs, like the FSCS (Future Scout Combat System), which I lost track of..... Maybe I am confused by the sudden change (for example an MBT weighing in 40 tons to another of 20+Tons...)

Thanks for your analises and explanations

Rafa

Offline Anthonyp

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2007, 02:58:25 pm »
Without going into it, the FCS is still very much in flux.  Globalsecurity.org actually has closer pics to the latest design incarnation than what fas.org has.  They're about two generations old.

And it's still Future Combat System (no s), at least within BAE Systems and TACOM.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2007, 03:00:40 pm by Anthonyp »

Offline Ranger6

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2007, 03:14:03 pm »
Hi all,

I just got home and was able to find the resources. In addition to the ones already mentioned, I would add: www.army.mil/fcs and www.g2mil.com.

The fornmer is an official US Army site and "tows the official line" but still contains a wealth of information, the latter is a somewhat idiosyncratic review of current and future warfare trends by a former USMC officer. BTW, the latter is very critical of the entire FCS project.

For what it is worth, part of your problem Rafael, is that the Army is basically trying to pull a fast one -- replacing the M-1 Abrams (a 65 ton MBT) with the FCS "Mounted Combat System" which is planned to weigh in at about 24 tons. Of course, any idiot can see that the MCS is a souped up light tank. However, the Army learned its lesson with the cancellation of the M-8 Armored Gun System (another attempt to push into production a system designed to do too many things adequately without doing any one thing well enough to make the effort worthwhile).

The reality, of course, is that the Army will be needing new systems soon. And the funding is getting more scarce. The US is now in the same situation the UK was in the 1920s and 1930s: we have a large and widely scattered empire to protect with an barely adequate number of troops. Face it, a 24 ton tank is easier to transport than a 65 ton one. And for these Third World style operations a light tank will be more than enough to accomplish the mission (think Op Iraqi Freedom). The real problem is -- what do we do if we ever have to face an army on par with us technologically (say the Chinese).

Sorry about the rant. As I was saying, there is a wealth of information at the above sites!

Abraham

Offline Rafael

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 05:45:16 pm »
Very illustrative.

Then, there's a dicotomy in this problem. What is then the FCS (I acknowledge the term "Systems" not currently in use) do when confronted with heavy armored MBT systems like the Russian Eagle and whatever there is that the Chinese might throw against it?

How well are this vehicles expected to fare in an asymmetric environment (IMHO the most common in the future)?

I know the program is developing and nothing concrete has come out of it in the form of a service-ready-vehicle. But does the "tank" member of the family incorporate something new in terms of protection/mobility/lethality beyond the current M-1 MBT version?

What does Networking mean to this new generation beyond the obvious ease of operation?


Meanwhile I will be reading the references you posted, but I would appreciate your sharing of comments and opinions.

Thanks.
Rafa

Offline Ranger6

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2007, 11:25:53 am »
Rafael,

You just hit the nail on the proverbial head! DoD along with the "Transfomation Cult" have decided that all future wars will be fought by a US military with complete mastery in all fields -- technical, informational, morale, etc -- and will thus be able to fight our style of Net Centric Warfare. Since we will have precise intelligence of where the enemy is we will be able to hit him while he is so far off that his systems won't be able to strike back (akin to the situation the British 8th Army was in in early clashes vs the Afrika Korps).

This will almost certainly work as planned if we fight against tin-plate dictators like Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, but is not the answer to counter-insurgency campaigns (as currently transpiring in Iraq and Afghanistan), is also inapplicable in the "War Against Terrorism", and probably won't work without heavy losses if we ever have to face a first rate army that is technologically equal to us.

For example, much of our situational awareness is based on the premise that we have sattelites in orbit able to identify enemy movement in real time. This would allow us to position our forces to destroy said enemy force before it even has time to deploy. But, what if the enemy has the ability to shoot down our sattelites? We will be as blind as they are. Oh, BTW, the Chinese have successfully tested an ASAT system similar to the one we abandoned about twenty years ago.

So here you have it: Deja Vu all over again. The US Army seems forever fated to be facing enemy Tiger tanks with our Sherman 75s. That's the result of looking at war through a managerial/business school mentality rather than a warrior mentality. Keep in mind, I hope my entire prognosis is wrong, but somewhere along the line somone is going to have to wake DoD up to the fact that the only replacement for an MBT is another MBT.

Ragrds,

Abraham

PS I should let everyone know that in my "other" life I'm a professor of Military History, though in the last few years I've become very interested in futurism (hence my joining this group). ::)

Offline vajt

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2007, 11:14:27 am »
Unless they develop some radical armor, either using nano-materials and/or new electric armor and combine it with active protection, there is no way a light tank will match the protection capability of a current M-1.

From what I hear, the new Russian T-95 tank will be a modular design with an unmanned turret. It will still weigh around 40 tons but the crew compartment will incorporate extra protection with new materials, new generation reactive and active armors will also be used, it will have a reduced silhoutte and weight due to the smaller turret and new  stealth features. Now this to me sounds like a true next generation MBT.

-----JT-----

Offline sferrin

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2007, 04:51:57 pm »
Rafael,

You just hit the nail on the proverbial head! DoD along with the "Transfomation Cult" have decided that all future wars will be fought by a US military with complete mastery in all fields -- technical, informational, morale, etc -- and will thus be able to fight our style of Net Centric Warfare. Since we will have precise intelligence of where the enemy is we will be able to hit him while he is so far off that his systems won't be able to strike back (akin to the situation the British 8th Army was in in early clashes vs the Afrika Korps).

This will almost certainly work as planned if we fight against tin-plate dictators like Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, but is not the answer to counter-insurgency campaigns (as currently transpiring in Iraq and Afghanistan), is also inapplicable in the "War Against Terrorism", and probably won't work without heavy losses if we ever have to face a first rate army that is technologically equal to us.

For example, much of our situational awareness is based on the premise that we have sattelites in orbit able to identify enemy movement in real time. This would allow us to position our forces to destroy said enemy force before it even has time to deploy. But, what if the enemy has the ability to shoot down our sattelites? We will be as blind as they are. Oh, BTW, the Chinese have successfully tested an ASAT system similar to the one we abandoned about twenty years ago.

So here you have it: Deja Vu all over again. The US Army seems forever fated to be facing enemy Tiger tanks with our Sherman 75s. That's the result of looking at war through a managerial/business school mentality rather than a warrior mentality. Keep in mind, I hope my entire prognosis is wrong, but somewhere along the line somone is going to have to wake DoD up to the fact that the only replacement for an MBT is another MBT.

Ragrds,

Abraham

PS I should let everyone know that in my "other" life I'm a professor of Military History, though in the last few years I've become very interested in futurism (hence my joining this group). ::)


The Chinese ASAT system is more like the old Russian one.  It's nothing like a 3000 pound missile launched from a fighter aircraft.  As for the tank situation I'm with you there.  IMO Rumsfeld is right up there with McNamara when it comes to screwing things up.  AFAIK there is NO heavy tank componant in the FCS lineup.  Last I heard though is that sanity is starting rear it's head and the M-1 will be around a while.  Hopefully they're going to replace it with another heavy tank when the time comes instead of a 10,000lb HUMMER with CKEM on it.  With the Dems coming into power though I won't be holding my breath.   >:(
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline sferrin

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2007, 05:18:32 pm »
Lineup from the GD FCS site.  Not seeing a heavy tank there.  Mostly bloated-Bradley looking things.   :'(    Actually come to think of it they look more like the Venus probe from the Bionic Man.   :'( :'(

(link is to high res version)

http://www.xmission.com/~sferrin/fcslineupnd4.gif
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 05:20:56 pm by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Rafael

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2007, 06:29:43 pm »
They're really nice. And the family resemblance is there in all their faces.

What nags at me is the doubt of all of you gentlemen. I too don't see a Main Battle Tank in there. At least in the classical sense. Unless a technological breakthrough is inside and over all of them, I keep thinking they will be easy preys to massed RPG attacks, Networking and all notwithstanding.

Like I said. They're all nice. As is nice the notion of a 24 ton air transportable/droppable tank. But a functional, fully capable mini-MBT?.

Or an armored Gun system capable to take on heavy opposition while it has to retreat to avoid  being hit and survive?

And if active countermeasures, be them grenades, flying plates, or other device exhausts, what will be standing there between the crew and an RPG or APFSDS or HEAT round?

What about good 'ol heavy armour?

I would like to see them roaming the battlefield. But I would like it the most if they were more survivable and lethal.

Am I wrong, gentlemen?

Rafa

Offline Rafael

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2007, 03:27:03 am »
Unless they develop some radical armor, either using nano-materials and/or new electric armor and combine it with active protection, there is no way a light tank will match the protection capability of a current M-1.

From what I hear, the new Russian T-95 tank will be a modular design with an unmanned turret. It will still weigh around 40 tons but the crew compartment will incorporate extra protection with new materials, new generation reactive and active armors will also be used, it will have a reduced silhoutte and weight due to the smaller turret and new  stealth features. Now this to me sounds like a true next generation MBT.

-----JT-----

And I agree with you there, JT. I also read somewhere that the M-1 was to be around for a while longer, and I think that is good reasoning prevailing.

And that T-95 you mention sounds a lot like the FMBT program that predated the first FCS program.

One thing That made me start this thread was to know more about the evolutionary steps that led from M-1 to FMBT to FCS in terms of design and requirements.

Any comments?

Thanks
Rafa

Offline yasotay

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2007, 06:35:48 am »
There is no heavy armor, because none of these vehicles are intended to replace the M-1 series, or the M-2 for that point.  The intent of the FCS is have a more rapidly deployable mechanized force.  It is also attempting to improve the use of information technologies

Offline sferrin

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Re: FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2007, 08:03:16 am »
There is no heavy armor, because none of these vehicles are intended to replace the M-1 series, or the M-2 for that point.  The intent of the FCS is have a more rapidly deployable mechanized force.  It is also attempting to improve the use of information technologies

Not so sure about that.  That my be the intent today but you know some bean-counter will have a hissy when the time to replace the M-1.  That or it will soldier on way past it's prime because it's cheaper to do so.  A prime example would be the M109 Palidin.  When it's over the hill (some would argue that happened several years ago) they won't replace it with something more capable (because they cancelled it), they'll just say "use the FCS gun" and a report will get pulled out of a hat that justifies it.  Some genius will come along and say "FCS version X can kill tanks" and it will be a done deal.  Look for the M-1 to be replaced by Sheridan Mk 2.  (Sorry if I sound cynical but I've not been inspired by many of the procurement decisions in the last ten years.  Apparently it's more important for the politicians to vote themselves another raise than to see the soldiers have the best we can give them.)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 08:38:51 am by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.