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OFW award marks milestone

The Objective Force Warrior Advanced Technology Demonstration Science and Technology program is taking the next step in the concept development phase with the announcement of the companies hired to be competing Lead Technology Integrators (LTIs).

Eagle Enterprise Inc., of Westminster, Md., and Exponent Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., each will receive nearly $7.5 million in government funding for the eight-month Phase I effort.

“The award of these agreements marks a major milestone for Army Science and Technology,” said A. Michael Andrews, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Research and Technology)/chief scientist. “Our soldiers are the heart and soul of the Objective Force. We look forward to moving ahead in this transformational endeavor as partners with the LTIs.”

The Objective Force Warrior Advanced Technology Demonstration (OFW ATD) consists of three phases. Phases I and II are led by the Natick Soldier Center in Natick, Mass., with an Army-wide team.

In Phase I, the two competing teams will work closely with the Army to develop the OFW concept design, and the Army will downselect to a single LTI. In Phase II, preliminary and detailed OFW designs will be performed by the downselected LTI, and component technologies and subsystems will be integrated into the OFW system of systems.

Phase III of the ATD will be conducted under Program Executive Office-Soldier (PEO-Soldier) leadership at Fort Belvoir, Va., to build 50 prototype systems of systems followed by Army field experiments and demonstrations to culminate the ATD.

Objective Force Warrior
Dan Harshman, a member of the Operational Forces Interface Group in Natick, Mass., portrays Objective Force Warrior. The OFW concept is a lightweight, fully integrated combat system for the individual soldier.

This LTI approach seeks to develop technologies faster and to a higher level of maturity in Science and Technology (S&T) to shorten the time needed in the System Development and Demonstration phase, which will reduce total time needed to develop, test and field OFW by the end of this decade.

“It is very gratifying to have (the Natick Soldier Center) lead the Army effort with the LTIs,” said Philip Brandler, director, Natick Soldier Center. “We have a strong team across the Army S&T labs, and a partnership with PEO-Soldier ensures that we can get this new capability to our soldiers soonest.”

Col. James Moran, PEO-Soldier, added, “the selection of the LTIs marks an important decision by the Army in the transformation of the soldier and the Land Warrior program to the U.S. Army’s Objective Force.”

The LTI selection follows completion of several independent panel reviews to define the soldier system vision within the context of Army Transformation and begins the earnest and necessary partnership between OFW and Future Combat Systems to achieve the Army vision.

The following are general questions and answers about Objective Force Warrior.

What are the differences between Land Warrior and Objective Force Warrior (OFW), and how do the two relate?

Land Warrior and OFW programs are synchronized and, together, are critical to transforming the soldier as the central piece of the Objective Force.

The Land Warrior program is principally focused on near-term improvements, using mature technologies in lethality, communications, situational awareness and mobility for all Army infantry units.

The path down the road to transformation for soldiers starts with the fielding of Land Warrior. Land Warrior will provide soldiers at the platoon-size unit and below with voice and data connectivity, enhanced target acquisition—including from concealed positions—and improved navigation capabilities.

Further capability enhancements to Land Warrior will be fielded in Fiscal Year 2005-2008 to the Stryker Brigade Combat teams, providing connectivity to the new Stryker vehicles.

The first units to be equipped with Land Warrior are the Rangers in FY2004. Capability improvements to Land Warrior will then be incorporated and fielded to the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams from FY2005-2008.

OFW is the Science and Technology (S&T) name for Land Warrior Block III and will expand from infantrymen to ultimately all soldiers in the Objective Force unit.

Similar to the Future Combat Systems (FCS) approach, after this first S&T phase transitions to Land Warrior Block III, a second S&T phase will integrate more advanced components in which the technologies are currently too immature.

How does OFW fit into the Objective Force?

The Objective Force is the future Army, the results of Army Transformation. The Objective Force requires that all aspects of doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, material, installations, infrastructure, and institutions be reconfigured and optimized to empower soldiers.

Soldiers will remain the centerpiece of our formations, not equipment or technology. Naturally, OFW, as a soldier system of systems, has direct impact on the capabilities of our individual soldiers.

How big a difference will OFW make to the future Army? How will the Future Combat System (FCS)-equipped Army be different than today’s Army?

The transformed Army, enabled in large part by FCS and OFW, will increase the strategic deployability and tactical mobility of our heavy forces while dramatically increasing the firepower and survivability of our light forces.

Most importantly, OFW-equipped soldiers and leaders linked to FCS will have an overwhelming advantage in future operations because they will be able see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively.

OFW includes an advanced combat ensemble providing enhanced mobility, broad spectrum individual protection, sensory inputs and physiological status monitoring, networked communications and collaborative situation awareness enabled by linkage to robotic air and ground platforms to form an adaptive, distributed sensor network.

OFW will have lightweight weapons with advanced fire control and netted lethality within the team and with FCS platforms, man-portable power sources, linkage to robotic ground platforms for load carriage and embedded training.

Robotic mule
This 1/3 scale model is a concept of a robotic mule that may be used by Objective Force Warrior. The Army is investigating robotic systems to lighten the soldier’s load down to 40 pounds as well as perform other combat missions.

These capabilities will enable soldiers and small units to conduct dismounted maneuvers with a fighting load not to exceed 50 pounds over the course of a 24-hour mission without re-supply.

What is the weight goal for the OFW system and how will it be achieved?

The long-term weight goal of Objective Force Warrior is 40 pounds, with the goal to reduce the soldier’s load to 50 pounds during the Advanced Technology Demonstration Phase.

The Army expects to achieve this by using an integrated, lightweight fighting system providing enhanced capabilities at reduced weight and by off-loading to a robotic mule. Technologies being pursued to achieve a lightweight fighting system include lightweight multi-functional materials and composites and higher efficiency power generation, storage and management.

When would units first be fielded Land Warrior Block III?

The Army will equip the first unit in FY2008 and attain the initial operational capability in 2010, commensurate with FCS, and assuming the extra System Development and Demonstration funds are provided to meet that initial fielding.

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