Future Combat Systems (washingtonpost.com)

Future Combat Systems

The U.S. Army is in the early stages of developing the most expensive weapons program in its history, but the project could already be in jeopardy because it largely depends on three separate military programs that have been plagued by cost overruns, immature technologies and timetable delays. Here is a summary of those three programs:

Program Description Overseen by Main contractor(s) Program started Estimated cost Expected deployment
Joint Tactical Radio System Radios that will transmit more data, such as maps and images, faster than existing radios. Defense Department Boeing, General Dynamics 2002 $37 billion Several different versions of JTRS under development are expected to begin being used by brigades between 2009 and 2013.
Warfighter Information Network-Tactical A high-speed communications network using radio and satellite technologies powerful enough so that combat vehicles on the move can communicate wirelessly, transmitting, for instance, streaming video. Army General Dynamics 2003 $16 billion The second of four stages of WIN-T is expected to be completed by 2015, but an end date for the final stage is not set. The military said it is aiming to complete the fourth stage in 2017 to 2018.
Transformational Satellite Communications A constellation of satellites that will be about 100 times faster than military satellites in orbit now. Air Force Boeing and Lockheed Martin (vying for contract) 2004 $24 billion Launch of first satellite is undetermined.

SOURCES: Air Force, Army Defense Department, GAO, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, defense analysts.

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