Although the Army canceled most of the projects in its ambitious Future Combat Systems modernization program in June 2009, the service has yet to renegotiate an integration contract with Boeing Co. that was part of the high-tech program valued at $17 billion, according to a House authorization report released this month.
The House Armed Services Committee cut the Army's fiscal 2011 budget request for FCS engineering by nearly 13 percent, from $568.7 million to $497.4 million. The high contractor overhead and integration expenses do not reflect the downsizing of FCS from 18 to four projects, which includes primarily communications systems and sensors under the Early Infantry Brigade Team modernization program, the panel said in its report on the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill.
The committee said it expects the new contract with Boeing will require "significantly less contractor overhead, program management and systems integration in fiscal 2011."
The Army has entered the final stages of renegotiating the contract with Boeing and the contractual relationship with the company has changed, said Paul Mehney, spokesman for the Army's Program Executive Office for Integration. Boeing now works as a prime contractor to the Army on the modernization project, he said.
"This significantly alters the relationship with Boeing, who is now responsible for development and delivery of incremental technology and network builds," Mehney said. "It is the Army's responsibly to integrate the capabilities and manage their life cycle."
Matthew Billingsley, a spokesman for Boeing, said it was "premature to speculate about individual steps in the budget process or their potential impacts" on the Early Infantry Brigade Team modernization program.
The committee cut $682.7 million from the fiscal 2011 Army procurement budget for the current modernization program. It approved a $1.4 billion research-and-development budget, $200 million less than the Army requested.
This summer, the Army plans to test radios, network systems, small-tracked robots, and aerial and ground sensors at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The work will be Boeing's primary focus, Billingsley said.
The service plans to equip its modernized brigades with the wideband variant of the Joint Tactical Radio System, manufactured by Boeing, which in a test at White Sands in April transmitted 2 megabytes of data over 19.5 miles. The committee said it supports JTRS, "but encourages the Army to explore alternative network solutions in order to mitigate the risk of JTRS fielding delays."
The Mobile Ad hoc Interoperability Network GATEway program (MAINGATE) that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages could serve as an alternative to JTRS, the House panel said. Members called for the director of Defense research and engineering to submit a report comparing MAINGATE and JTRS by the end of January 2011.
DARPA awarded Raytheon a $24.4 million contract in July 2009 to develop MAINGATE.
The committee also cut the Army's requested budget for the JTRS Rifleman Radio, which individual soldiers would use, by $10.2 million to $199.4 million.
J. Michael Gilmore, Defense's director of operational test and evaluation, told a hearing the House Armed Services Committee in April 2009 that a test of the Rifleman Radio, which General Dynamics is developing, showed it had deficiencies in reliability, battery life and range.