NLOS-C Update

Strategy Page: The Future Gets Mugged By Reality

Congress originally demanded that NLOS-C be in service by 2008, but it appears that 4-5 years from now seems more likely. Field testing (operating as one would in combat), begins this year with the six prototypes. One problem the brass are already concerned about is the ability of the two man crew to hold up during 24/7 operations.

I didn’t realize that the timing had slipped so much. I’ve been a pretty big fan of the NLOS-C for quite a while and thought we’d be seeing some in action any day.


  1. Good system, but the two man crew is just not going to cut it. There is a lot more to artillery than just loading and shooting. If anything big breaks on there two men can’t lift the heavy stuff like 7-8 can. Artillerymen still don’t get no respect…

  2. “Artillerymen still don’t get no respect…” not true. After taking out SAM’s,artillery is #1 on the tactical targeting list.

  3. Maybe I’m just a goofy optimist, but it sounds like one reason for the delay is the unbelievable success of the Excalibur shells.

    A 90% reduction in the amount of ammo needed to lug around is HUGE. (And I don’t want to start a 5.56 vs 7.62 debate here, although there are some parallels…)

    Of course, if the satellites those shells depend on are gone, and it renders all the ammo useless, that’s not good at all. So there is probably a lot to think about here. No need to rush to judgment just yet….

  4. Maybe I am a pessimist, but I believe the delay is caused by a desire in the army to keep the FCS program alive. So if you delay a component that has a good deal of support, you can keep in R&D land, and use its program line to keep open the cash flow on the related “family” of vehicles.

    Otherwise if NLOS goes live, chances are the unfielded parts of FCS get dropped as part of deficient reduction. You can make a strong case for the need for NLOS. The Paladin is getting long on tooth and coming up short on capability.

    It’s much harder to make a case for its vaporware siblings. Especially since our current hardware is in the middle of a major upgrade push, and is working just fine.

  5. Hey, thanks for the paying attention to NLOS Cannon. I know you’ve followed the NLOS Cannon for several years and I wanted to address your post about the delivery timeline.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a communications representative at BAE Systems who has been involved with the NLOS Cannon program since its inception. Reading your post and subsequent comments, I thought I’d offer some links to Army documents below that might be helpful in clarifing the delivery timelines for the NLOS Cannon systems.

    The first prototypes were delivered to the Army in 2008, according to the schedule (as I understand it). Soldiers will begin using the systems this year (as stated in the Strategy Page post) and deliveries of NLOS Cannons to the Army’s Evaluation Task Force as part at Fort Bliss, Texas will begin next year.

    Some good points were made above and I look forward to more discussion.

    Let me know if you’d like more information.

    -Ryan May, BAE Systems

  6. Amen on the stimulus — you’d think we could get some defense spending in that since most defense spending is year-of-execution dollars … meaning immediate, or nearly so, impact on the economy.

    As to NLOS-C delay … maybe they’ll have time to make it Excalibur-compatible now. The fielded Excalibur isn’t NLOS-C compatible because NLOS-C couldn’t or wouldn’t use a muzzle brake design that would allow the existing Excalibur to be fired, and they were having fits designing a new muzzle brake (or would have to redesign Excalibur, which would be a non-starter). Guess they’ll sort that out, eventually.

  7. Don’t know why we need any artillery anyway. All the FA guys here in the sandbox are being used as (pick one): Infantry, force protection, trainers for everything other than artilley, chauffers, VCP & ECP mentors/supervisors, a lot of other stuff. .)

    More to the point, I hope this crummy acronym system isn’t going to be another case of going through years of changing design requirements, gilding, and eventual cancellation. The requirements need to be common sense realistic, pretty much set in stone, test and fielded QUICKLY so they’re available to the troops!

  8. Wanted to know if anyone was familair with the components of the chassis and/or turret systems and if a company called solomon technology or technipower makes items for it.


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