M1203 NLOS-C: Future Combat Systems’ Howitzer

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NLOS-C CTD, Yuma(click to view full) The USA’s $160+ billion Future Combat Systems faced a mild restructuring in February 2007, and in July 2007, work began on Phase 1 spinouts to the active force. In order to speed replacement of the M109 mobile howitzers, some members of Congress had been pushing to speed up fielding of the M1203 NLOS-C 155mm mobile howitzer as a replacement for the USA’s aging M109s, even if this meant breaking Future Combat Systems’ unitary acquisition model by making NLOS-C a separate program. That didn’t happen, thanks in part to FCS critic Senator McCain’s [R-AZ] interesting intervention, but the message was clear. Unfortunately, even NLOS-C will break the C-130’s 20-ton cargo weight limit by a considerable margin (estimate: 27 tons, which works well in an Airbus A400M but not the C-130J Hercules). As such, FCS’ armored vehicle core is unlikely to ever deliver its most important touted benefit: deployability. On the other hand, NLOS-C does offer new and fully modern mobile howitzers, an aim that has clear Congressional support. As such, the FCS program is making the NLOS-C the lead example for FCS’ tracked Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) family. This will be DID’s Spotlight article covering […]

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