Monday, November 21, 2005

Didn't Need a Crystal Ball for This...

Defensetech.org recently noted that the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program was among those mentioned in the Pentagon's Selected Acquisition Reports this year. Of course, Defensetech saw this coming a mile away, as one can see by following the links to view the history of that site's extensive coverage of the FCS program.

Anyone who's been reading eDefense could also have told you the FCS program was in trouble, what with last year's restructuring of the program and all. Restructuring a program is a recipe for cost increases. Hardly ever is a program "restructured" without an attendant boost in the program's price tag.

For that matter, though, a number of the programs that ended up in the Selected Acquisition Reports should've come as no surprise really. To stick with the Army, earlier this year, it was noted that the Army's Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program had serious issues with the weight of the payload on the selected aircraft. Eventually, the Army decided to stop work on the ACS program until these issue could be resolved. And, not surprisingly, the ACS program was one of those listed in the SARs.

Other programs included in the SARs that should've come as no shock, again sticking with Army, were the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning System (ATIRCM/CMWS), considering that the Army has an urgent need for IR countermeasures for its helicopters but the ATIRCM system is lagging behind its CMWS counterpart.

But the Army's not alone. Other services have troublesome programs. Like the Army's FCS program, the Navy's DD(X) destroyer program recently changed course, leading to a schedule slip. And the US Air Force's Space-Baced Infrared System-High (SBIRS-High)? Well, even the commander of the US Air Force Space Command has referred to the after-effects of SBIRS-High program as a hangover.

The signs were all there. How anyone can be surprised is beyond me.

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