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Special DoD Briefing on Future Technologies for Indirect Fires

Presenter: Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L) Michael Wynne
May 15, 2002 1:00 PM EDT

(Special Briefing on Future Technologies for Indirect Fires. Slides shown during this briefing are located at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2002/g020515-D-6570D.html)

Staff: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us this afternoon. Today we are going to have a briefing on the future technologies for indirect fires. And with us is Mr. Michael Wynne, who is the principal undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. He does have a short presentation, and then he'll be happy to answer your questions.

Sir?

Wynne: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to be here. My name is Mike Wynne, and I'm the principal deputy for -- undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

What I would like to do this morning (sic) is basically take you through those parts of advanced indirect fire technologies that will -- essentially, we are wanting to accelerate and are the underpinning, if you will, of the future of artillery and the future of the Army -- moving them into more precision and essentially allowing them to further transform themselves as they have been moving in that direction as well. So we refer to this concept as essentially accelerating the U.S. Army's transformation.

These technologies are a part and parcel of the secretary's determination that the Crusader program would be recommended to Congress for termination and cancellation. And our -- essentially, what we want to provide you today is the rationale for where these are, how real are they, and what's the state of play within that context.

So with that, I'd like to ask for the first chart, which is -- and I'll give a short presentation. Then I'll be happy to take your questions.

The first chart should be accelerating the U.S. Army transformation. And what we mean by this is that the U.S. Army has realized, with the advent of all the engagements that they have been in over the course of the last couple of decades, that precision fires is a far more dominant changing of the battlefield than any other element that we have encountered.

I refer to -- unmanned air vehicles has had a long history. It wasn't until we found out precisely where they were in space and time that they became a dominant force on the battlefield. In the same way, the use of and the generation of precision fires for the Air Force has converted, as you know, old B-52 bombers into very accurate strikes, old bomb bodies into very precision munitions. And that's the gist of what we're trying to do. It's a question of prioritization. And we are prioritizing precision. We are prioritizing strategic deployabilty, and we are ultimately prioritizing accelerating the Army's transformation.

So with that, I want to show you basically a table which identifies the various programs that are in activity now. I want to go through these very slowly, because it is kind of a complex chart. Starting out, the M-109 is the legendary artillery system that we have been using. The M-109 has gone through five --

Yes, sir.

Q: The left hand -- (off mike)?

Wynne: The left hand actually is the number of units in service. Thank you very much.

And I didn't start far enough over. The next is the M-109A-5, which is in the gray zone -- lighter gray, which is the fifth generation, if you will -- an upgrade of that 109. The Paladin, as you can see, incorporated all the lessons learned of the Desert Storm engagement and is referred to as M109A-6 and/or Paladin.

The next -- up on top is the multiple-launch rocket system, also an indirect-fire system that's available. The multiple-launch rocket systems A-1 is the guided MLRS that we are also accelerating. And I'll show you a picture of the next one, which is high mobility rocket system, artillery rocket system, which, as you know, we are famous for our acronyms, and so it comes down HIMARS, even though it is really, as you'll see, a lighter, more mobile version of the multiple-launch rocket system.

What I really want to get to are the two that are farthest to the right. The first, as you see, is Crusader, and the second, as you see, is the Future Combat System non-line-of-sight component, here labeled FCS, but this is an artillery chart. It is particularly interesting that it is the non-line-of-sight component of Future Combat System.

What we would like to do through the imposition of advanced technologies, migrating as much technology as we can from the current Crusader program should Congress allow this action to move forward, is capture those technologies to accelerate the transition of Future Combat System non-line-of-sight component into the force structure as fast as possible instead of waiting for the Crusader to time-out, if you will, or to be fielded.

This is the concept, but we are now motivated -- we want to motivate the Army, as well -- dedicated and committed to getting this fielded. And frankly, when the stars line up and the Office of Secretary of Defense as well as the Army is committed behind a weapon system to fully develop, a lot of things can happen to smooth the way. In fact, I'll show you a couple of programs that we intend to fast track through the procurement system, which really means that we hope to set reasonable goals, reasonable expectations, meet them as quickly as possible, get some soldier feedback, which is always important, and then modify them to correct those deficiencies they identify.

In that regard, the next chart takes me to the Paladin. And what I wanted to say regarding this is, General Shinseki really has furthered the cause to revolution to reliable, mobile, deployable, yet lethal forces. Interestingly enough, his comment was, "If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even more." Now, he was being overly harsh, no doubt about it, but his message was clear: "Please change, and change with me; we want to get to a transformed object force as fast as possible." He set aggressive targets. We would like to encourage those aggressive targets to be made, if not accelerated from. GPS targetting, by the way, for all the indirect fires, has really confirmed his view that precision light deployable forces was more lethal and was available to his soldiers.

The Army is applying lessons learned from current operations and intends to integrate these new capabilities to address the specific operations and doctrine as they come about.

Frankly, there's two generations of Army that are going to be here prior to 2008. One is the interim brigade combat team, which is due out in about 2006, and then the Future Combat System, which is targeted for its first battalion in 2008. We want the Army, and we are recommending to the Army that they package up and recommend to the Congress that we accelerate precision munitions and rockets, as we don't want those ultimately competing with the Future Combat System, but basically enhancing the Future Combat System.

We know, as the general indicated, that transformation is not just speed with accuracy, but also encompasses methods of thought, cultural aspects, that are hard to dictate but easy to identify when you don't have, if you will, the will of your people with you. And that's what I mean about OSD being motivated as well as the Army being motivated in bringing things forward.

So what are these transformational programs? Well, the first of these is to improve the Paladin with these precision munitions, enhancing their digital communications and enhancing their targeting capability. The Paladin has been with us since 1993. It's about six years old, really, in the fleet. And it is very capable. When it gets the extended-range guided munition that is this, it will also add about 30 percent of the range to that, we believe, although that's a target. This will be a transforming element in artillery all by itself.

But we do believe that once the Army acquires and begin to train around precision fires, it's going to mean a very different Army. Right now they are trained around, if you will, precision indirect fires that have been delivered by another source, the fighter bombers as well as the B-52 bombers with JDAMs [Joint Direct Attack Munition]. But, frankly, this will accelerate and now they'll have their organic capability to be just as precise as that.

The other thing we'd like to accelerate is this precision munitions aimed at lightweight 155 Marine and light forces. This will expand the use of precision essentially to 70 percent of the Army rather than 30 percent. What's up on the screen right now is that precision munition we're talking about, which is the Excalibur program. The Excalibur program we want to put on a very fast track. The reason we want to put it on a very fast track is they've set themselves some very difficult goals for precision and targeting, and we would like -- we are very enamored, if you will, of that. In fact, on that chart, you will see a model that we believe is the current dispersion of our artillery, which is the light yellow -- or now the gray, if you're in black and white. And in the middle you'll see a crosshair, and inside the crosshair you'll see a black dot. And that's the kind of concept that we would like to have the Army target now.

Frankly, if we are able to do that, it will change the concepts of operation for how you provide for an attacking force, or how you provide for a defending force. And those are the kinds of operations and concepts that the Army, as soon as this capability is proven to them, will begin to incorporate.

Q: Is the accuracy table in mils or in meters?

Wynne: In meters.

Q: At the extended range -- you mentioned you've proven the Paladin with the extended range guided munitions. That's the extended range guided munition you're talking about?

Wynne: Yes. This is a combination of the Army Excalibur and the Navy extended range guided munition program.

Q: How does --

Q: So this is different from the lightweight one you bought for the Marines.

Wynne: This would apply to them. This is a munition, where the lightweight 155 is the gun. In fact, we actually purchased it from England, although I believe it's being made and manufactured here in the United States. And we should have a picture of that coming up a little later.

The next chart is a -- illustrates the guided -- the next chart illustrates the DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] NetFires. And the reason I wanted it next is because it's what I would consider the deepest reach into the technology of -- as you know, DARPA was the inventor and creator of the Predator and of Global Hawk. And we are asking them one more time to reach into their bag of tricks. And DARPA NetFires has undergone prototype tests. We have forwarded under a slug condition to test the motors, and we believe this also can be fast-tracked to become a model procurement program and fielded much sooner than is currently anticipated. The NetFires right now is scheduled to go into systems design and development relatively quickly to see if we can get to a system that's better than anything we have, but not quite the finished product that they want.

This has a 60 kilometer range, which out-ranges any known artillery that we have available to us, especially mobile artillery. So the -- so this is an excellent way of using technology.

Yes, sir.

Q: Would you -- you said that you're recommending, or you believe that it can be fast-tracked and fielded much sooner than previously anticipated.

Wynne: Right.

Q: So that sort of a time frame do you have in mind, then --

Wynne: We have in mind for this device that we could field it by 2008. This fits on the back of a Humvee, extremely portable, extremely deployable. And we think, under reasonable conditions, because we now believe we have the physics conquered, the guidance system is very similar to guided MLRS and that engine technology that's available to us.

Q: How does that compare with what you had previously anticipated?

Wynne: I believe it was scheduled for about 2012 to 2013 on a fairly slow path to develop. One of the reasons, I believe, is that it was -- it's just an unknown, as you might imagine, because having something portable on the back of a HUMVEE is a very different approach than having an MLRS or having, if you will, even the HIMARS that I'll show you.

Q: And similarly, for the Excalibur, if you put it on a fast track, when do you expect to field that?

Wynne: That one I hope to have fully developed by 2005 with potential fielding in 2006 and a half. And it was also scheduled for extensive fielding in 2012 and '13. But I think there again, the technologies are all discovered, and now it's a question of settling it out and engineering it.

Yes, sir.

Q: Two questions, staying on the Excalibur: If you accelerate that, will you also be planning to accelerate the Navy's development of the rounds for its advanced gun system?

Wynne: I believe they're on a very parallel track. So anything that we learn as we're going through the acceleration of Excalibur will automatically cause them to accelerate. But that's really a decision for the Navy. And we haven't really talked to them, frankly, but I know that the program officers are linked to the hip. And so any advantages that I'm sure that the Navy can get over the Army's acceleration, they will take advantage of. And then actually, you're on a great point, because not only does the Army benefit from the aspects of precision, but the Navy gunnery will also, as the Marines are, for the lightweight 155.

Q: Quick follow-up: If these programs are able to be brought forward to 2005-1008 time period, will there then be any gap experienced by the cancellation of Crusader and the requirement that Crusader was to have met by the Army? And if so, what is that gap that you see now?

Wynne: Well, the Army analysis largely focused Crusader on Crusader. We focused on joint and combined fires, which is what's going on now. And joint and combined fires allows you to reach for MLRS, guided MLRS. It allows you to reach for fighter-bombers. It allows you to reach for even Naval gunfire, if you happen to be close to the coast.

We do feel like -- that the combination of what we're attempting to do will, in fact, satisfy all the requirements that the Army desires for indirect fire, including organic capabilities, because, as you know, the MLRS is actually affiliated with an artillery battalion, as will be the NetFires.

Q: What stage is the testing of the Excalibur?

Wynne: The Excalibur has been fired. There -- it has in fact got some very great goals. It has -- I think it has a GPS system. It has an IMU [inertial measurement unit]. It has a -- can have accelerometers. And so what we're trying to do is strip away some of those more difficult technologies to develop, because inertial measurement units are not cheap.

Q: How much does one -- how much are you projecting one Excalibur to cost?

Wynne: Well, I talked to the provider about that, and the provider said that if we choose to invest in cost reductions, that he feels like they can get it to be within 10,000 and 25,000 a round. Now just for purposes, JDAM comes in right at 13,000 for the kit and about a thousand and a half for the -- for that. So their competitor is pretty close, as a competitor.

Yes, sir?

Q: On the Paladin, the improvements to that weapons system, what's a ballpark for that?

Wynne: I couldn't -- I don't know that answer. I'm sorry. It's being estimated as I speak. But it's -- I don't think it's that expensive, because they've been improving the Paladin.

Q: But when will they --

Wynne: But when will it come out? That's being -- that's actually being done as we speak. And they're -- they are incorporating, if you will, on the fly many of the things that they were learning.

Q: So two, three, five years? Any ballpark?

Wynne: I really don't know. I mean, I would love to tell you, but I just don't know.

Q: And one last thing. There was 9 billion that was supposed to go into the Crusader system.

Wynne: Yes.

Q: How much of that money will be used for all these --

Wynne: We hope to maximize that amount, given the permission that we can. And -- but we do know that we have to capture -- migrate technologies from the Crusader, the development. We don't want to lose aspects of that, like the cooled cannon and the digitized fire control system, the software that has gone into it. There's been lots of code.

So we do know that in order to migrate those technologies forward to meet the Future Combat System non-line-of-sight component, we're going to be spending some money, if you will, right in the same areas and right in the same companies as are doing it today.

Q: Do you expect to spend roughly that 9 billion on these other technologies, or --

Wynne: We are hoping that all of the 9 billion will not only be returned to the Army, but it will be returned to Army artillery. And we have asked the Army if they would come forward with a plan to essentially reinvigorate all of these programs, accelerating them, and so maintain control and monetary spending authority. We've asked the Future Combat System program office to please identify for us those technologies that are available in Crusader to migrate forward and help them accelerate Future Combat System. And I think that's actually going to help us.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: The Army was considering combining non-line-of-sight FCS with line-of-sight in one system. Is that not happening now that you're accelerating?

Wynne: I think it's -- a lot of things are on the table. The Army is still concepting what the Future Combat System will ultimately look like. We have only had an opportunity to review the executive summary of the winning bidder, which showed an array of vehicles. I know the Army is thinking about how do you reduce the life cycle costs and not have everybody have sort of unique systems and -- but I'll have to let the Future Combat System program office really better respond to that.

Yes, sir?

Q: Are these acceleration plans solely dependent on what Congress's final decision on Crusader is, or will you go ahead with all of this, part of this, regardless of what they decide?

Wynne: You know, we'd love to buy everything, but we can't.

Q: Right.

Wynne: And so we saw this as a tremendous opportunity, if you will, to accelerate the transformation of the Army by essentially converting that particular element of funding into these. I do not know what priorities these will have, although I'm sure now that they have been highlighted to the Army, you know, as areas of interest to us, they've been highlighted to Congress as areas of interest to us -- and I don't know the outcome, right? I mean, today is today, and they substitute for the 9 billion. Tomorrow, who knows?

Staff: Sir, I want to be sensitive to the fact that we only have about 15 more minutes, and there are some other technologies that you want to touch upon.

Wynne: Right.

Staff: If you want to finish your presentation, then we can get back to some of the questions.

Wynne: One more.

Q: Excalibur, I understand, to work optimally, needs a very smart gun, and Paladin is not currently a very smart gun. Someone was telling me that -- in fact it's Carlyle Group, to fess up -- (laughter) -- was saying that -- but who knows; it may even be true -- (laughter) -- that you basically need about 32 K processing capability within the dispatching gun. And Paladin doesn't have it. Is that true?

Wynne: It has been aimed at -- before at Paladin, at the lightweight 155, as well as at Crusader. We intend to redo that. It will take some modifications, but the Paladin is being upgraded for a better communications and targeting, and this is an update system. You know, there's no reason it can't.

Q: (Off mike) -- that you will credit to fuse Excalibur on the Paladin?

Wynne: Absolutely. That's our number-two goal. Our number-one goal is to use it on the lightweight 155, which further has to be, if you will, netted up to make sure they have the available 32 K, if you will, which is a very small chip nowadays. I don't know if you know that. (Laughs.)

Q: Wasn't that in the plan, anyway, for Excalibur, to use it on the Paladin in 2013?

Wynne: Right. It was after they used it on Crusader. And we essentially reversed that, because we wanted to impact the majority of the forces as early as we can. Light forces are what's being deployed, and we would like to get them to have the precision fires, frankly, well in advance of heavy force.

So to keep my moderator happy, let's move on to the next one, which is the guided multiple-launch rocket system -- also, by the way, a 60-kilometer system that has been historically the Army's counter-battery weapons now will be counter-battery in a very accurate fashion. And this has recently undergone scrutiny from the Department of Defense. It was, in fact, as probably many of know, on the Nunn-McCurdy list. We took a hard look at it. We believe that it is truly transformational. We have looked into both the contractor and the military management, and we believe we've made some correct choices in giving them some assistance to essentially straighten up and fly right. So we're going to do that.

The next one is the HIMARS, which was the high mobility artillery rocket system. Frankly, this is a favorite of anybody in the field, because it is deliverable off of a C-130. It has a six-pack of MLRS and before you ask, yes, this will have to be converted to guided MLRS, which is one of the reasons we want to do this. But it is available just like it is available on the MLRS basic.

So the HIMARS is a system that we would like to accelerate, frankly, because it's deployable, it fits transformation -- deployable, lethal and light.

Next?

This is the Lightweight 155, which we are buying from the U.K. Obviously, it is currently stand-alone. When we go to a more netted environment, it will be netted. We want to accelerate that to make sure that it has the right kind of utility for the Excalibur and any other precision munition we come from.

One of the things about precision munitions is I believe that once we acquire a precision artillery shell, we will then be faced with an inventory problem in the classic corporate sense. And the reason for that is that we have a lot of shells, much like we had a lot of bombs, that if we hadn't discovered the JDAM kit, we would still have. So what we are trying to do also is I'm asking the Army and the Navy to get together to try to get a very less expensive, essentially integrated fuze that would substitute in any NATO slot. And we're also asking what's the impediments to performance and how can we do it? But if we achieve this goal, that will allow me to covert, maybe not into as good a piece of precision as Excalibur, but a lot better than we have today. And that's always been my goal.

So with that -- I think that's the last chart. I can basically tell you that -- where are we in these things? Well, the Paladin improvements are in fact underway, and we'll probably match Abrams and Bradley as communications and targeting.

Excalibur is a new munition; it is in R&D [research and development]. There are engineering problems; they're eminently fixable.

The Guided MLRS acceleration is underway. We've already had a big review on that.

The DARPA NetFires is in R&D. There has been a prototype test. The precision attack munition, which is one of the two elements, has been type classified by the Army. So it is real and it is a system that the Army has at least evaluated on a preliminary basis and found to be very useful.

So that's really the -- and then my precision munition NATO fuze is -- I would say is still feasible. They have had some work on it. They have a packaging issue, and I think they will overcome it. But I think it's going to need some great engineering.

Q: Will it be fins?

Wynne: Excuse me?

Q: Will it be fins, I mean -- (inaudible) -- or canards?

Wynne: Well, it'll have canards, for the most part. It is the way -- it is the concept now that canards will be buried in the fuze, will come out, and what it'll really do is alter the trajectory down more than it will maneuver it to the side.

Crusader funding is -- we want it to be fully re-distributed to the Army programs. We do believe, because we are accelerating the precision systems there's going to be room to accelerate the Future Combat System. Because we're accelerating the Future Combat System, we really believe we'll transform the Army sooner. And frankly, moving the Army to a light and mobile force is where we're at, where the secretary is at, and where, in fact, the Army is at.

Staff: Yes, sir.

Q: A question about the networking stuff that you've been mentioning. Do you mean to say that you're going to direct that funds go specifically to upgrading (inaudible) and other systems like that, or the lightweight howitzer, or for the Paladin --

Wynne: No. This is strictly the development of these precision munitions in the minimum amount necessary, if you will, to make them work on the systems that we've talked about. This is really aimed right into precision on a very much of a priority basis. Actually, we're going to be working with the AFATADS [Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System] folks to make sure that we're in synchrony (sic) on this. And frankly, we want to work with the digitized fire control system that was in development for Crusader to make sure that we take advantage of all of that development work and see if we can, if you will, just get a -- move over, if you will, into the systems we want to do now.

Yes, ma'am.

Q: As you forward the technologies from Crusader into the non-line-of-sight FCS, is it really just going to become a re-packaged, lighter version of Crusader, or is it going to be truly a different kind of system?

Wynne: It's -- you're asking me in 1920 if I had predicted the cars that are produced in 2000, how different would they be. And I have to say, you'll have to have a gun, you know, and you'll have to have a fire control system, and you'll have to have a way of moving it around. So for the most part, many of the functionalities have already been described, like the steering wheel still is on the left in a car, and the question is how many seats, what's the slope of the roof, and all of that kind of stuff.

So a little bit different. I think everybody always gets excited that we're going to do a clean sheet of paper design. At the day it's normally evolutionary.

Q: In the meantime --

Wynne: Yes, sir.

Q: If I can just follow up, in the meantime, is there any interest in looking at existing howitzers that are already built and developed and out there, not that different from the Crusader? There's a German system, there are some others --

Wynne: On -- I'm not sure, except that I do know that the Future Combat System program manager is open to all suggestions. And frankly, what this is supposed to do, if you will, is motivate all of us in the same direction, which is to accelerate that Future Combat System component and the Future Combat System as well. I couldn't answer your question specifically, but I do know they'll all be showing up.

Yes, sir?

Q: On Excalibur, what is the largest attraction? Is it that you -- is it deployability, or is it that it's precision, or is it that you can do a longer range, where you're not visible? For instance, the Marines can be on the other side of a mountain, or for the Navy, you could have a ship standing farther offshore?

Wynne: Boy, I'm hoping our operational-concept guys are listening in to your description.

Q: (Laughs.)

Wynne: You've done some great work here.

But I will say it this way. The real advantage of it is precision. The real advantage is that if we were to try to aim at a training center in the middle of a city, we estimate and simulate that this will take three shots, whereas it now takes 150. I mean, that's exactly what we're looking for. When you go after a bridge, we want to do it in one shot, three shots; we don't want to pepper the entire countryside with bridges [sic]. We now want to minimize collateral damage where we can, and this is all part of making the artillery, if you will, a much more relevant part of our future force.

Yes, sir?

Q: Everything you're talking about accelerating is separate from the non-line-of-sight piece of FCS. In other words, NetFires is not a part of the non-line-of-sight FCS.

Wynne: Other than those technologies that we're trying to migrate forward, yes, sir, you're exactly right. But we are trying to migrate those technologies and hope that it will motivate people to do this differently.

Q: If you move that forward, that opens up a funding window that FCS then could accelerate.

Wynne: Yes, sir.

Q: Got it.

Q: You mentioned cooled cannon, digitized fire-control system. What are some of the other things that you want to migrate from the Crusader?

Wynne: No, I had the list, I didn't bring the list with me. But I do know there's some other stuff that I just have forgotten. I'm sorry.

Yes, sir?

Q: What kind of risks are you willing to accept in order to accelerate all these technologies that you're talking about?

Wynne: Actually, if you get a lot of attention on something, you actually begin to minimize the risk because you get a lot more people interested in their success. And, you know, the aspects of quality is doing it one time, all time. And that's what we have to do. Our biggest fault in systems design is going back and reiterating on requirements and then testing against those newer requirements. We hope to, by fast-tracking, essentially avoid that aspect of life.

Yes, sir.

Q: Way back when, you mentioned that the Army's analysis was Crusader on Crusader, okay? You said "What we've done is to jointly combine forces analysis."

Wynne: To meet the requirements.

Q: To meet the requirements. And you mentioned MLRS, guided MLRS, and even Naval (inaudible). What slice of the Crusader's mission has to be done by fighter-bombers or by air, by nonorganic means?

Wynne: Actually, frankly, none of them. I would say to the Army -- the Army would probably say suppressive fires, because they would like to get more than one tube, if you will, at a distance into suppressive fires. That's probably better done right now by, essentially, a B-52 with a reasonable load or a B-1 with a reasonable load.

Most of the other can be accomplished by a guided MLRS with -- using, if you will, a different system. I mean, as one person put it, once it hits apogee, you have no idea where it came from.

Staff: All right, I know you have another appointment here shortly, so we probably only have time for a few more.

Wynne: Okay.

Yes, sir.

Q: I wanted to get back to HIMARS and MLRS. You talk to some Army officers, and they say they're not as effective as artillery -- as the Crusader or other artillery pieces, because you need a wide buffer between the target and the friendly forces -- maybe a kilometer.

Wynne: You do now, but not if you have guided MLRS, because if you have guided MLRS, you get the same capability improvement as you got with JDAMs. And so all concepts of operation -- that's why we're excited about this -- much like on the Excalibur chart, when I showed you the difference in diameter of those two circles. That's what makes the difference.

And basically, it's a matter of trust. I mean, if I'm going to let you shoot over my head -- right? -- I kind of want to know that you know where you're going.

Yes, sir.

Q: Until a couple of weeks ago, the Army's argument for the Crusader was that as the Paladin exists now, it is usually outgunned by the systems of other countries. North Korea is the usual example cited. Could you comment on that argument? Do you accept that premise? Is it essentially true, as far as --

Wynne: We accept the requirements that they have come forth with. Recall that the Crusader was not going to be available in much bulk beyond 2008 plus, so they have this problem. What we're trying to do is get these technologies into being, because if I'm firing counter-battery, I'm much more desirous of having precision fires than I am on having simple range.

Gentlemen, I've got to -- have to go. Can I take one more?

Q: Yeah. How optimistic is your scheduling here on advancing the technologies of the Excalibur and the other system? You know, invariably, everything in the Pentagon gets delayed because of technology problems, and these were not supposed to come on line for several more years after.

Wynne: Well, I did -- I did get a chance to meet with the program manager for Excalibur, and I came away from that with a very good feeling that the technologies were maturing and that this concept we have on spiral development will in fact allow us to, if you will, specify the requirements so that we know the technologies already encompass them -- maybe not as good as the final goal, but better than we have now.

Q: Can you actually do it in 2008 or that's pie in the sky?

Wynne: Yes, sir, I think we can. I think we can.

Q: The same issue for FCS and NetFires?

Wynne: For NetFires, that's what we're trying to achieve, is I think 2008 with a 2009 forces delivery. So I think that's doable, and the reason I think that's doable is we're going to do the same thing with it -- put it on a fast track, limit the specifications so we know the current technology achieves it, and then spiral it up as we're allowed.

Frankly, since they're both expendable munitions, it isn't like you have a system out there -- you can always convert the previous era's into training rounds.

Thank you very much.

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