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For example, we do a lot where the scientists and engineers in our labs and centers are actually the program managers for DARPA programs, because DARPA doesn't have that many people. The people who are the--I call them the entrepreneurs at DARPA--the program managers there really use the assistance of our scientists and engineers and those in the Air Force and in the Navy to actually manage and execute the programs that they have.
Then even within the Army itself it seems there is an abundance of different programs. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how Land Warrior fits with Future Combat Systems, with Future Force Warrior....
Killion: Land Warrior was a generation of warrior systems. Future Force Warrior--which was previously called Objective Force Warrior, back when we had something called the Objective Force and Future Force--was sort of the next generation and enhancement in terms of the amount and capability of the various sensors, communications gear, weapon interfaces and so on, beyond what was available in the Land Warrior program and integrating that into an integrated system.
As you said earlier, there is a Stryker Brigade that has Land Warrior kit in theater today and is experimenting with it and there seems to be some very positive feedback from that. We'll be doing our culminating demonstrations with the Future Force Warrior program this summer and this fall at the C4ISR On-the-Move demonstration, up ahead at Fort Monmouth or Dix and then at something called AAEF (Air Assault Expeditionary Force). It's a demonstration with the TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) folks down at Fort Benning--that will be in the October time frame.
Really that's a sort of next generation--more computing, greater sensor capability, new power subsystems--that will allow you to operate for a longer period of time, those sort of things, and then we look at how we can transition those components into the Soldier Program as it evolves over time.
Now how does that work with FCS? (In) Experiment 1.1 that was conducted very early this year, in fact the soldiers who were participating in the experiment were wearing the Future Force Warrior kit. So it was FFW that was interfacing with the FCS platform that they are using. The reason that they were able to do that is because Future Force Warrior is using the Soldier Radio Waveform that's been designed for JTRS (the Joint Tactical Radio System) and is one of the key components in the networking capability for Future Combat Systems.
Boeing just got a contract from the Army to work on a high-energy laser on a truck. There are things like Active Denial (the so-called heat ray). Taser has got a deal with iRobot to supply their technology for potential use by soldiers. How does all this mishmash of directed energy and stuff fit in with what you're trying to accomplish?
Killion: The contract for Boeing on the high-energy laser tech demo came from the Army, from SMDC (the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command). They are lead for our high-energy solid-state laser program, which we are working jointly with the High-Energy Laser Joint Technology Office and the Air Force, investing in the next phase of our solid-state laser program where we are going from a nominal 25 kW laser capability to a 100 kW capability. There are two contractors who are working essentially on the laser engine for that capability. The contract that has been let to Boeing is really about starting to build the architecture for, once you have that laser engine, how do you build that into a weapons system and start to work out the issues of things like power management and beam control that would support that system and put it into a mobile configuration?
Directed energy we see as the next-generation capability particularly for counter-rocket/artillery/mortar capability to defeat inbound projectiles. But it's still a very hard technical problem. We are working hard to make this a reality--it's going to take some time. We have a good program to do that and the Boeing contract is a piece of that program as well as the ongoing tech development efforts with Northrop Grumman and with Textron to build the laser engine. Active Denial is directed energy--obviously, a different part of the spectrum and at a different power level than something like a high-powered laser. We've been looking at lower-power lasers for things like destroying exposed ordnance or mines that might be sitting on the ground and we've done some work with that, demonstrated the capability to do that in Afghanistan previously.
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