The BAE Systems Land and Armaments XM1203 Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS Cannon) is a 155 mm cannon intended to provide improved responsiveness and lethality to the "Unit of Action" (UA) commander as part of the US Army's Future Combat Systems project. This mobile armored artillery piece provides networked, extended-range targeting, and precision attack of point and area targets in support of other combat units with a suite of munitions that include special purpose capabilities. The Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon provides sustained fires for close support and destructive fires for tactical standoff engagement. The NLOS Cannon uses technology from the canceled XM2001 Crusader.
NLOS-C is a proposed system in development to be part of the FCS (Future Combat Systems) environment and is funded by the U.S. Congress shortly after cancellation of the XM2001 Crusader M109 replacement. It is an 18 ton class vehicle that may be a replacement for current vehicle systems in the 40-60 ton weight class. If design parameters are indeed reached (always a question for systems in development) then it will provide a level of air transportability that current M-109 systems cannot at present match.
The system's primary purpose is to provide responsive fires in support of the FCS (future combat systems) Combined Arms Battalions (CABs), and their subordinate units in concert with line-of-sight, Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS), Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS), external and Joint capabilities.
Round by round fire capacity
The system as proposed looks to add capabilities that the current M-109 systems do not offer. One of the proposed systems advantages is the ability to switch shell types quickly on a one by one basis allowing an illumination round to be followed by a point detonation round, to be followed by an area effect round. This would give the system the ability to fire different rounds as required by different fire calls or to change types of shells. For instance, destroying a building then engaging anyone fleeing the area with the next round.
Rate of fire
The rate of fire in the proposed system would enable more rounds sent downrange in a given amount of time allowing more fire power per system than is available with the current M-109 system, another capacity offered by the increased RPS and advanced gun computers would be one of multiple rounds impacting the same target site at the same time allowing a target little or no reaction time to incoming rounds (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact). This is accomplished by including the autoloader from the canceled Crusader project which achieves the goals of a much improved fire rate with a reduction in required crew.
Networked combat system
The proposed system is envisioned as part of a fast mobile force networked via improved communications and data capabilities to allow rapid response with enhanced accuracy with the view to reducing "blue on blue" incidents along with lessened collateral damage, while providing superior protective artillery fires to units requiring gunfire support. Navigation of the vehicle and targeting information are provided via GPS and networked information systems
Automation of the gun system
Improvements in the refueling arrangements and automation of ammunition reloading allow reduced downtime for logistic functions that would otherwise leave the system unavailable for combat support operations. This also allows the system to be manned with 2 crewmen instead of 5. This is desirable as staffing continues to be a major contributor to life cycle cost of any combat system.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey traveled to BAE Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late May 2008 for the rollout of the first Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon prototype. Prototype 1 will make its first public appearance on the National Mall in Washington on June 11, 2008. A total of eight prototypes will eventually be delivered to Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, by 2009.
By 2010, the Army expects to take delivery of the first six "special interest program platform" prototype NLOS-C vehicles at Fort Bliss, Texas. There, the Army Evaluation Task Force will begin its testing and development of tactics, techniques, procedures and doctrine for the vehicle. The task force is scheduled to receive six vehicles a year, between 2010 and 2012 — for a total of 18.
The Army expects the NLOS-C to be ready for fielding to combat units in 2014.
- Official U.S. Army FCS page on NLOS-C
- First Round fired from 38-Calibre NLOS Cannon
- NLOS Cannon Electronic Press Kit
- GlobalSecurity.Org article
- StrategyPage article
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