Future US infantry brigade shows promise


Boeing says it has successfully tested new technologies developed for the future US infantry brigade under the now-cancelled Future Combat System programme.

The company says Early-Infantry Brigade Combat Team (E-IBCT) capabilities, including unmanned ground and air vehicles, sensors, precision launch systems and network integration kits, completed a limited user test at Fort Bliss, Texas, in September

The test was a three-week, soldier-driven independent review of the maturity, readiness, and functionality of E-IBCT capabilities that was developed and overseen by the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

Results will be compiled in an assessment report later this year as part of the process leading to limited-rate initial production, Boeing says in a media release.

It adds the capabilities are planned to be fielded to seven Infantry Brigade Combat Teams beginning in 2011.

Boeing, along with its teammate Science Applications International Corp, is the prime contractor for the development and fielding of the E-IBCT effort, which is also known as Increment 1. Additional increments are planned by the Army as part of the Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization strategy.
“The completion of the limited user test is another important milestone in fielding enhanced capabilities to our soldiers as soon as possible,” said Gregg Martin, Boeing vice president and program manager. “We look forward to working with our Army customer in moving toward a production decision later this year.”

These E-IBCT capabilities, developed out of the Future Combat Systems program and now transitioned to support the Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization effort, will provide soldiers with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as increased survivability and lethality. Initial capabilities include:
— Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle: a robotic system capable of reconnaissance missions in dangerous or difficult situations such as entering buildings, caves and tunnels
— Class I Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV): a small, soldier-operated UAV that can hover for reconnaissance and surveillance while providing target acquisition
— Unattended Ground Sensors: multi-mode surveillance sensors for target detection, location and classification, with an imaging capability for identification
— Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System: an unmanned missile system capable of extended range targeting and precision attack
— Network Integration Kit: an integrated computer system that hosts the latest communications and radio systems and battle command software, providing the initial network connectivity needed to transfer sensor and communication data.

Pic: US troops testing UGV at Fort Bliss earlier this year.