Army Cost Estimates on Next-Generation Vehicle Programs Need Work, GAO Finds

U.S. Army modernization officials can do a better job of reducing risk and estimating costs in two efforts under the service’s Next Generation Ground Combat Vehicle (NGCV) priority, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

Nearly three years ago, the service launched an ambitious modernization effort designed to replace its major armored combat vehicles, helicopters, long-range fires and air defense capabilities, as well as update its tactical network and improve soldier lethality. The effort included standing up Army Future Command and relying on a flexible acquisition strategy that focuses on early rapid prototyping to speed up program completion.


The next few months are ‘critical’ for the Army’s new helicopter engine

WASHINGTON — The Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program is facing a “critical” stretch which will determine whether testing on the engine will occur on time or be delayed, thanks to challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a pair of Army officials said Wednesday.

Patrick Mason, the program executive officer for Army aviation, and Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, the director for future vertical lift inside Army Futures Command, said that the service has finished its component critical design review (CDR) process, and has moved on to its full program CDR, a key milestone before moving into testing.

However, “given COVID and all of the factors that have gone on with COVID,” the plan to have the full CDR done during second quarter has been pushed to third quarter, Mason said at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation.


Army aviators ask for more comfort, less workload from future vertical lift teams

Army Futures Command introduced about a dozen soldiers to technology demonstrators for the service?s future vertical lift program last week, giving them an opportunity to provide input prior to the evaluations and fly-offs over the next few years.

The soldiers spent a full day each with Bell?s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft in Arlington, Texas, and Sikorsky-Boeing?s SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The site visits included flying simulators and aircraft familiarizations. Two of the soldiers who participated spoke with Army Times about the experience.

?We?ve never seen anything like it,? said Chief Warrant Officer 2 William Bogert, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.


Jumping into algorithmic warfare: US Army aviation tightens kill chain with networked architecture

NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION CHINA LAKE, Calif. ? In the skies above China Lake, California, from the back of an MH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter, an operator with a tablet takes control of a Gray Eagle drone and tasks it with firing a small, precision-glide munition at an enemy target located on the ground. But at the last second, a higher level threat is detected and the munition is rapidly redirected toward a different threat, eliminating it within seconds.

This was made possible through the architecture, automation, autonomy and interfaces capability, or A3I, built by the Army?s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team under Army Futures Command.


Futures Command looks to enable plug-and-play PNT across Army platforms

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Army Futures Command is developing a modular plug-and-play framework that will enable the rapid insertion of emerging position, navigation and timing, or PNT, technologies into Army air, ground and Soldier platforms. The Modular GPS Independent Sensors project, known as MoGIS, is a shift from developing stand-alone PNT systems that have proprietary software and hardware interfaces.


This Startup Learned the Hard Way What It’s Like to Work With the Pentagon

There were hoodies. Robots. Free drinks. Young founders milling around a loftlike, concrete-floored space. Your typical startup demo day, in other words–except for the presence of a four-star Army general and pockets of uniformed military personnel and besuited corporate types with name tags from giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton. And the senior U.S. senator from Texas, John Cornyn, standing near the general, along with the mayor of Austin and the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

It was February 21, opening day of the Center for Defense Innovation, in the downtown Austin high-rise that houses Capital Factory, the city’s leading accelerator. Last fall, the U.S. Army chose Austin as the home for its new Army Futures Command, the most sweeping modernization effort in decades across the largest branch of the military. As the pace of tech change has quickened, the Army has begun to look badly outdated in fields like artificial intelligence and robotics. The AFC intends to fix that by working with startups; the new space within Capital Factory is where it all will come together.


Inside Army Futures Command: CFT Chiefs Take Charge

REDSTONE ARSENAL, HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: It took a minor miracle of scheduling for me to catch up with Wally Rugen in his half-furnished office here. The fast-moving helicopter pilot has been head of the Army?s aviation Cross Functional Team since December, a one-star general since January, and a full-time CFT chief just since July 8th, when he officially left his other?job at the 7th Infantry Division and resettled here in Huntsville.