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Army Transformation on Track, Says Vice Chief.

The Army is on schedule to make critical decisions in 2003 about the kinds of technologies that it intends to install in the Future Combat System (FCS)--the next-generation combat vehicle that is currently under development--according to the service's vice chief of staff, Gen. John M. Keane.

"It looks very promising," he said. "We asked the Army Science Board whether those technologies would be available in time for a 2003 decision, and the answer was, 'yes' in about 90 percent of the cases. ... The technologies are in the laboratories, and you can touch them."

As the Army increased the lethality and survivability of its combat vehicles over the years, the Abrams tank grew to 70 tons, Keane noted, sacrificing agility and mobility.

"The new principle is, 'avoid being hit,'" he explained. "That doesn't mean that you sacrifice survivability for those inside the vehicle. Quite the contrary."

The new Initial Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) now taking shape at Fort Lewis, Wash., each include a reconnaissance and surveillance battalion-"an intelligence batralion"--Keane said.

"The reason that it's there is to assist us in finding out where the enemy is and what his strength is, so that we can hit him before he hits us."

The IBCTs do not contain helicopters, Keane admitted. But that doesn't mean that they will be solely reliant on ground transportation, he insisted.

Most Army combat brigades do not include helicopters, he said, and it will be the same with the IBCTs.

"We will augment the brigades with reconnaissance helicopters, with attack helicopters, with lift helicopters, as needed," Keane said.
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Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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