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BAE Systems Rolls-out  the FCS's All-Automatic, Ultra-lightweight 155mm Howitzer. Photo: BAE Systems via U.S. Army

BAE Systems rolled out the Non Line Of Sight Cannon (NLOS/C) to the Army on May 30, 2008. NLOS/C is the first prototype of the Manned FCS vehicle. This prototype was the first of nine vehicles to be delivered to the Army for engineering, mobility, safety and reliability testing as well as gun firing, to be conducted at the Army Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, by 2009.

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. George W. Casey and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) inspected the Army's newest 155 mm self propelled, automatic loading howitzer at BAE System's central engineering facility in Minneapolis. The cannon rolled out here May 30, 2008 will be fielded as part of the Army's Future Combat Systems family of weapons by 2014. Photo: BAE SystemsThe five early configuration platforms including the first prototype currently delivered will be supplied this year and the remaining three will be configured in a full system development and demonstration (SDD) design, will be delivered by early 2009. According to Lt. Col. Robert McVay, product manager for the NLOS-C, the new vehicle will also provide the army an opportunity to evaluate the FCS' new and promising propulsion technology, including the hybrid electric drive, the traction drive subsystem, the hydroupneumatic suspension, the band track and the new 440kW power generator. All these will be tested on a real platform for the first time. The testing at Yuma will put two years of testing on the chassis before a critical design review for the MGV family is performed in 2010.

The Non-Line-Of-Sight Cannon Firing Platform undergoing firing tests in Yuma. Photo: BAE SystemsThe NLOS-C is introducing a new, lightweight and fully automatic 155mm 38 caliber howitzer gun. This armament system, including the gun, auto-loader and electrical control systems are being tested extensively in the past two years at the Yuma proving grounds. "That is the end-state gun, it has finished firing over 2,000 rounds since October 2006, as part of the gun development program," McVay said. "The mission module is approaching the 90-plus percent threshold. For the chassis -- this is the first time the Army will take a full hybrid-electric, independent semi-active suspension system and mate it with a mission module and run it into tests." and The system is designed to improve the survivability of both itself and its two-man crew and can operate in a range of environmental conditions. McVay said by 2010, the Army expects to take delivery of the first six "special interest program platform" NLOS-C vehicles at Fort Bliss, Texas. There, the Army Evaluation Task Force will begin its testing and development of tactics, techniques, procedures and doctrine for the vehicle. The task force is scheduled to receive six vehicles a year, between 2010 and 2012 -- for a total of 18. By 2014, NLOS-C is expected to reach full operational capability status, and will be ready for fielding to combat units.


A BAE System's video depicting the complex ammuniton handling system developed for the NLOS Cannon. This system enables the gun to be operated fully automatically, by only two crewmembers.

The NLOS-C is also designed to work in concert with other FCS manned ground vehicles to include the XM1204 Non Line of Sight-Mortar; XM1202 Mounted Combat System; XM1208 Medical Vehicle-Treatment and XM1207 Medical Vehicle-Evacuation; XM1205 Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle; XM1201 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicles; XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle; and XM1209 Command and Control Vehicle. The Army expects to see prototype vehicles for other FCS MGVs beginning in 2011. All eight of the FCS manned combat vehicles are mounted on nearly the same chassis -- they share more than 80 percent compatibility across the family of vehicles. They are unique in that they are electrically powered. A diesel engine on board turns a generator, which in turn charges batteries, which in turn powers electric motors that drive the tracks. In fact, the entire vehicle is electrically powered.

 

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