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Background  –  FLCS Project  –  Future Combat Systems for the Army

Update: 09 July 2009 – New armoured vehicles announced including $4B for CCV (now cut), TAPV, and new Leopard 2-based AEV/ARV and engineering implements for tanks (under the Force Mobility Enhancement project ). Another $1B is for major upgrades to the LAV III.

The Family of  Land  Combat Systems is a grab bag of future CF projects that covers artillery, vehicles, and even the individual soldier equipment. 'Omnibus' components included: Future Combat Vehicle Systems (including Close Combat Vehicles), Future Direct Fire Capability,  Future Indirect Fire Capability, Future Soldier Systems, Future Service Support Systems, Future Network Capability, Autonomous Systems, etc. Here we review  the major vehicle components of  FLCS.

Artillery features large among the components of the FLCS and one of the earliest elements to surface was the Future Indirect Fire Capability. FIFC centred around  truck-based MAVS [1] – but little has been heard of that 105mm system since the CF fielded 155mm M777 howitizers in Afghanistan.  Options  for a 155mm gun carrier might include a LAV III or the Supacat Portee.

LRPRS – Long Range Precision Rocket System
Another artillery component of  FLCS is the Long Range Precision Rocket System. Due to the terms of  its LOI,  LRPRS  is assumed  to be aimed at the Lockheed Martin's MLRS, available as an off-the- shelf system based on the tracked M270 launcher or truck-based M142 HIMARS. Neither chassis is now in CF service but used M270s were available.

Discussing CF armoured vehicle priorities in mid-2008, then-Chief of  Land Staff, LGen Andrew Leslie, mentioned an armoured patrol vehicle which would  be smaller than a Coyote but better protected than a G-wagon.  Most directly a replacement for Armoured Patrol Vehicles, this Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle will also replace the Coyote (now being upgraded). TAPV become a key component of FLCS and, on 08 June 2012,  DND announced a $603 M contract to Textron Systems Canada to supply 500 TAPV (with options for an additional 100). TAPV is derived from Textron's Mobile Survivable Vehicle. TAPV deliveries are to run  from July 2014  to March 2016.

Although not core parts of  FLCS, LGen Leslie also mentioned a heavy infantry assault vehicle. 'HIAV' is an Israeli term associated with very heavy APCs based on tank chassis (like their Achzarit). Even in small numbers said to be required, the HIAV would represent a radical change for the CF. Later in 2008, the list of  tank-based vehicles expanded to include engineering variants excluded from the Leopard 2s' rebuild. [5]  The troubled  CCV Project was revised, reset, and rebid upon before finally being cancelled on 20 Dec 2013 – one business day before bids lapsed. The Army had argued for cancellation to shift budget emphasis to readiness. [6]

[1] MAVs was to mount an existing 105mm howitzer on an open truck to provide net-centric, 'shoot-and-scoot' fire support. The language used hints at how long this 'transitional' concept has been around. MAVS predates the Kandahar deployment and  the modern IED threat.

[2] As a 'mini-Coyote', this Armoured Tactical Patrol Vehicle would seem to eclipse the LARV Project with something more like an M-ATV.

[3] Being a low-slung vehicle, Fennek didn't fare that well with mines and IEDs. The original Fennek has now been upgraded with add-on armour packages. KMW has also developed a 'next-generation' Fennek, the better protected F2 (originally known as the GP-F2T Fennek).

[4] The Joint Light Tactical Vehicles seem to have survived the recent DoD budget cuts. That can't be said for the 'vehicle component' of the planned Future Combat Systems.  It was generally assumed that the CF's Future Combat Vehicle would draw heavily from the US FCS.

[5] Neither Armoured Engineer Vehicles nor AVLB bridge-layers are mentioned  in the Tank Replacement Project LOI  although Armoured Recovery Vehicles were. Since then, Leopard 2 implements, ARV, and AEV have been covered in a Force Mobility Enhancement project. Specific NPPs have also been issued for Leopard 2 ARV conversions  ( 8 + 4 options) and  Leopard 2 AEV conversions ( 13 + 5 options).

[6] The GoC continued to push for CCV even after the Army stated its preference to focus on maintaining readiness. –