Embattled missile program meets its demise

Former Future Combat Systems precision-strike missile project axed, freeing up billions

After weeks of speculation, poor performance and doubts about its efficiency, the Defense Department approved an Army recommendation to cancel the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) precision-attack missile program.

“A detailed analysis of alternatives determined that the NLOS-LS does not provide a cost-effective precision-fire capability,” according to a DOD release announcing the move.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee's Air-Land Subcommittee April 15, David Duma, DOD's principal deputy director for operational test and evaluation, said that in the initial operational flight test in January and February, NLOS-LS' demonstrated missile reliability was 61 percent, well below the 85 percent requirement.

A vestige of the Army's folded Future Combat Systems program, NLOS-LS has already cost upward of $1 billion. It was also slated to be used in the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, but the latest announcement did not elaborate on whether that application would continue despite the Army’s cancellation.

Management responsibilities for the system will be transferred from the former FCS program, which is currently under Program Executive Office Integration, to other PEOs that manage similar systems, the release states.

The release also says the decisions were made under the Army’s newly instituted Capability Portfolio Review Process, which is part of a renewed focus on modernizing the force.

“The intent of this review process is to conduct an Army-wide, all-components revalidation of requirements for all Army acquisition programs," the release states. "The Army holistically examines all existing requirements and makes recommendations to terminate ones that are redundant and outdated.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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