Militaries the world over are increasingly relying upon advanced, multifunctional electronics systems to help ensure not only their safety, but also mission success. The growing use of and reliance on electronics does not come without a cost, however. Power-hungry devices require sufficient and reliable power. Yet, power can be hard to come by, especially in remote battlefield locales, such as both the sandy deserts and the mountains of Afghanistan.
U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Army decision-makers perhaps anticipated this growing need for power electronics when they devised the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program roughly a decade ago.
The Army in 2003 launched FCS, the goal of which was to equip future forces with advanced manned and unmanned vehicles in a network-centric battlefield. That is, each platform—ground vehicle, aircraft, ship, and soldier—would serve as a node on a fast, secure, digital network. The vision was to get the right information to the right people at the right time—safely, securely, and reliably—and power electronics are a major enabler of the netcentric goal.
Commanders and soldiers were excited about FCS. After all, it meant they would gain all-new, innovative vehicles replete with advanced electronics and efficient and effective electrical and wiring harness designs. Heck, this geek was excited. FCS carried the promise of multiple new platforms, including the following manned ground vehicles:
XM1201 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV)
XM1202 Mounted Combat System (MCS)
XM1204 Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar (NLOS-M)
XM1205 Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle (FRMV)
XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV)
XM1207 Medical Vehicle-Evacuation (MV-E)
XM1208 Medical Vehicle-Treatment (MV-T)
XM1209 Command and Control Vehicle (C2V)
Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment vehicle