Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles

The Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) was a family of lighter and more transportable ground vehicles developed by BAE Systems and General Dynamics as part of the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. The MGV program was intended as a successor to the Stryker of the Interim Armored Vehicle program.

FCS Manned Ground Vehicles
Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles.png
All variants of the Manned Ground Vehicles program, and the MGV common chassis
TypeTracked armored fighting vehicles
Place of originUnited States of America
Production history
DesignerBAE Systems and General Dynamics
VariantsReconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle, Mounted Combat System, Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon, Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar, Field Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle, Infantry Carrier Vehicle, Medical Vehicle, Command and Control Vehicle
CrewVaries from 2–4 depending on vehicle

Most vehicles armed with a machine gun
EngineDetroit Diesel 5L890

The MGV program was set in motion in 1999 by Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki.

The MGVs were based on a common tracked vehicle chassis.[1] The lead vehicle, and the only to be produced as a prototype, was the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon. Seven other vehicle variants were to follow.

The MGV vehicles were conceived to be exceptionally lightweight (initially capped at 18 tons base weight) in order to meet the Army's intra-theatre airmobility requirements. The vehicles that the Army sought to replace with the MGVs ranged from 30 to 70 tons. In order to reduce weight, the Army substituted armor with passive and active protection systems.

The FCS program was terminated in 2009 due to concerns about the program's affordability and technology readiness. The MGV program was succeeded by the Ground Combat Vehicle program, which was cancelled in 2014.


Initial Technology Demonstrator Vehicle by United Defense yielded both tracked and wheeled prototypes.[2] Only the tracked variant was pursued further.

FCS-Wheeled (FCS-W) was an early concept designed to demonstrate hybrid-electric drive system and two-man cockpit workstation. A Technology Demonstrator Vehicle was built by United Defense and was unveiled in 2002.

FCS-W was designed to deliver a top road speed of 75 mph and a top cross-country speed of 40 mph. The vehicle's armor utilized armor similar to the tracked variant but was lighter. The vehicle would have also had some type of active protection system. The arrangement of the turbine and drive motor provided for a two-man, side-by-side cockpit and a sizable payload compartment.

In May 2000 DARPA awarded four contracts to four industry teams to develop Future Combat Systems designs and in March 2002, the Army chose Boeing and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to serve as the "lead systems integrators" to oversee the development and eventual production of the FCS’ 18 systems.[3] In October 2002 United Defense (UD) and Boeing/SAIC signed a memorandum of understanding to bring the Objective Force Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon under the FCS umbrella.[4]

In January 2003, Boeing and SAIC reached an agreement with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and United Defense LP (UDLP) to develop the MGVs. UDLP was responsible for leading development of five of the vehicles (including the NLOS-C) while GDLS took responsibility for leading development of the other three.[5]

In May 2003 the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) approved the FCS’ next acquisition phase, and in August 2004 Boeing and SAIC awarded contracts to 21 companies to design and build its various platforms and hardware and software.[3]

In March 2005, the Army's acquisition chief Claude Bolton told the House Armed Services subcommittee that getting the MGV's weight to under 19-tons was proving difficult.[6] In 2005 the Army relented on the vehicle's requirement for roll-off C-130 transportability. Relaxing the C-130 requirement to allow vehicles to be transported in a stripped down configuration allowed the weight cap to be increased from 18 tons per vehicle, to 24 tons.[7]

In August 2005, GDLS selected Detroit Diesel's 5L890 to power the eight variants.[8]

The Department of Defense announced budget cuts in April 2009,[9] which resulted in the cancellation of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles family.[10][11] The Army issued a stop-work order for MGV and NLOS-C efforts in June. In July the army terminated the MGV, but not the NLOS-C. In the news release the Army said cancelation would "negatively impact" NLOS-C development but said it was seeking a "viable path forward" for the NLOS-C.[12]

The DoD determined that the proposed FCS vehicle designs would not provide sufficient protection against IEDs.[13]

The Army planned to restart from the beginning on manned ground vehicles.[14] The program's heavier successor, the Ground Combat Vehicle, was cancelled in 2014.


Chassis and components.

In order to reduce weight, the Army substituted armor with passive and active protection systems. This was hoped to provide a level of protection similar to the legacy armored vehicles being replaced.[15]

Most vehicles were protected with hard-kill active protection systems capable of defeating most threats.[16] The armor was a unique secret matrix that may be utilized by industry in the Ground Combat Vehicle program.

The common MGV chassis was required to provide full protection from 30 mm and 45 mm cannon fire in a 60 degree arc opening towards the front of the vehicle. 360 degree protection from small arms fire up to 14.5 mm heavy machine gun and 155 mm artillery shell air-bursts was planned. Protection from higher caliber rounds as well as anti-tank guided missiles would be provided by an active protection system manufactured by Raytheon known as "Quick Kill".

Use of a common chassis was to reduce the need for specialized training of personnel and allow for faster fielding of repairs. The MGV platform utilized a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system. The MGV also employed numerous weight-saving features, including composite armor, composite and titanium structural elements, and continuous band tracks.

The 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster II chain gun on the reconnaissance and surveillance vehicle and infantry carrier vehicle provided greater firepower, yet weighed 25% less than the M242 Bushmaster it would replace.[15]

Weight growthEdit

Weight at full combat capability (FCC) was raised to 24 tons in June 2006, then to 27.4 tons in January. According to a former program official, MGV chassis weights entered a "death spiral," as any weight growth to the subsystems cascaded to the whole system (e.g. heavier armor required a stronger suspension to carry it). FCC weight was eventually raised to 30 tons.[17]

TRADOC was slow to update its expectations for the MGV. TRADOC recommended removing C-130 transportability requirements in 2007 and raising the weight limit to 27.4 tons in requirements drafted in 2007. However, TRADOC's essential combat configuration MGV weight remained capped at 38,000 pounds (19 tons) until the program's cancelation.[17]

Armor and countermeasuresEdit

MGVs in essential combat configuration were required to have all-around protection from 14.5 mm caliber ammunition, and 30 mm from the front. This requirement was changed later that year to 14.5 mm protection with add-on armor.[17]

In 2008, the Army added a requirement for an add-on V-hull kit.[17]


Comparison of variants
Name Developer[18] Vehicle replaced[19] Number per brigade[19]
XM1201 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV) General Dynamics (GD) M3 Bradley 30
XM1202 Mounted Combat System (MCS) GD M1 Abrams 60
XM1203 Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) BAE Systems (BAE) M109 howitzer 18
XM1204 Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar (NLOS-M) BAE M1064 mortar carrier 24
XM1205 Field Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle (FRMV) BAE M88 Recovery Vehicle 10
XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) BAE M2 Bradley and M113 102
XM1207 and XM1208 Medical Vehicle (MV) BAE N/A 29
XM1209 Command and Control Vehicle (C2V) GD M113 command variant 49

Reconnaissance and Surveillance VehicleEdit

XM1201 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV)

The XM1201 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV) featured a suite of advanced sensors to detect, locate, track, classify and automatically identify targets under all climatic conditions, day or night.

The suite included a mast-mounted, long-range optoelectronic infrared sensor, an emitter mapping sensor for radio frequency interception and direction finding, chemical sensor and a multifunction radio frequency sensor.

The RSV also features the onboard capability to conduct automatic target detection, aided target recognition and level-one sensor fusion. To further enhance the scout capabilities, the RSV was also to be equipped with Unattended Ground Sensors, a Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle with various payloads and two unmanned aerial vehicles. It was to be armed with a 30 mm MK44 autocannon and a coaxial 7.62 mm M240 machine gun.

Mounted Combat SystemEdit

XM1202 Mounted Combat System (MCS)

The XM1202 Mounted Combat System (MCS) was planned as a successor to the M1 Abrams main battle tank.[15]

The MCS was to provide both direct and beyond-line-of-sight ('indirect') firepower capability, and allowed for in-depth destruction of point targets up to 8 km (5.0 mi) away.[15]

As of 2009 the MCS was to have had a crew of two and to be armed with an auto-loading 120 mm main gun, a 12.7 mm (.50) caliber machine gun, and a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.[20]

The MCS was intended to deliver precision fire at a rapid rate, in order to destroy multiple targets at standoff ranges quickly, and would complement the other systems in the unit of action. It would be capable of providing direct support to the dismounted infantry in an assault, defeating bunkers, and breaching walls during tactical assaults. It was also intended to be highly mobile, in order to maneuver out of contact and into positions of advantage; given the vehicle's light weight, this was especially important.

The XM360 tank gun underwent test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground beginning in March 2008.[21]

Non-Line-of-Sight CannonEdit

Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon at Yuma Proving Ground c. 2009

The XM1203 Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) was a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer to succeed the M109 howitzer. This was the lead vehicle effort, and most far along when the program was terminated in 2009. The NLOS-C used technology from the canceled XM2001 Crusader project.

The NLOS-C incorporated the autoloader from the Crusader project.[22] The NLOS-C featured an improved fire rate over the M109. It was capable of multiple rounds simultaneous impact (MRSI), where the cannon fires a sequence of several rounds at different trajectories such that the rounds all hit the same target at the same time. The system had the ability to switch shell types quickly on a one-by-one basis.

Improvements in the refueling arrangements and automation of ammunition reloading reduced the amount of time spent on resupply and during which the gun would be unavailable for combat support. This also allowed the system to use a crew of two instead of five.

The NLOS-C had high commonality with the NLOS-Mortar vehicle.[23]

The first NLOS-C prototype was rolled out in May 2008. Eight prototypes were delivered to the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona by 2009.[24]

Although Defense Secretary Robert Gates ended the MGV program in April 2009, Congress had directed that the Army continue working on the NLOS-C as a separate initiative. The Pentagon directed the Army to cancel the NLOS-C in December.[25]

Non-Line-of-Sight MortarEdit

XM1204 Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar (NLOS-M)

The XM1204 Non-Line-of-Sight Mortar (NLOS-M) was a turreted mortar carrier with a four-person crew.[15]

The NLOS-M had a breech-loading, gun-mortar that fired 120 mm munitions including the Precision Guided Mortar Munition (PGMM). It had a fully automated firing control system and a manually assisted, semi-automated ammunition loading system.

The NLOS-M would carry an 81 mm mortar for dismounted operations away from the carrier.[15]

The NLOS-M provides fires on-demand to engage complex and simultaneous target sets. As part of an NLOS-M battery, individual NLOS-M vehicles will provide precision-guided rounds to destroy high-value targets, protective fires to suppress and obscure the enemy, and illumination fires. All of these will be in close support of infantry maneuver units.

The FCS command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) network enables the NLOS-M fire control system to conduct semi- to autonomous computation of technical fire direction, automatic gun lay, preparation of the ammunition for firing, and mortar round firing.

In January 2003 United Defense, now part of BAE Systems, was selected by the Army and the FCS lead systems integrators (Boeing and SAIC) to develop and build the NLOS-M.

The NLOS-M had high commonality with the NLOS-Cannon.[23]

Recovery and Maintenance VehicleEdit

XM1205 Field Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle (FRMV)

The XM1205 Field Recovery and Maintenance Vehicle (FRMV) was the armoured recovery vehicle and maintenance system for employment within both the unit of action (UA) and unit of employment (UE).

The recovery vehicle was designed to hold a crew of three with additional space for three additional recovered crew.[15]

Each UA would have a small number of 2–3 man combat repair teams within the organic Forward Support Battalion to perform field maintenance requirements beyond the capabilities of the crew chief/crew, more in-depth battle damage assessment repair, and limited recovery operations.

The FRMV was armed with a close combat support weapon (CCSW) and a 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher.

The FMRV was deferred in 2003, then restored in July 2004.[26]

Infantry Carrier VehicleEdit

Artist's impression of the XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle

The XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) was a set of similar infantry fighting vehicles for transporting and supporting ground troops. The ICV featured a crew of 2 and space for 9 passengers.

It was armed with a 30 mm or 40 mm cannon[15] and a 7.62 mm machine gun.

The ICV family consists of four versions fitted for the specific roles of: a company commander; a platoon leader; rifle squad; and a weapons squad. All were visually similar to prevent targeting of a specific ICV versions.[15]

A platoon would consist of a platoon leader vehicle, three rifle squad vehicles and a weapon squad vehicle.[27]

The Rifle Squad ICV[15] and Weapons Squad ICV each carry a 9-person infantry squads into close battle and support the squad by providing offensive and defensive fire, while carrying the majority of the soldiers' equipment. The ICV can move, shoot, communicate, detect threats, and protect crew and critical components under all weather conditions, day or night.

The squad would have access to Army and joint fire delivery systems from external sources (e.g. the NLOS-Cannon) to enhance the squad's range, precision, or quantity of fire. FCS Networking with other components of the unit of action permits rapid identification of targets and improves situational awareness.

Medical VehicleEdit

XM1207 Medical Vehicle-Evacuation (MV-E)/XM1208 Medical Vehicle-Treatment (MV-T)

The XM1207 and XM1208 Medical Vehicle was an armoured ambulance designed to provide advanced trauma life support within one hour to critically injured soldiers. The Medical Vehicle serves as the primary medical system within the unit of action (UA) and will have two mission modules: Evacuation and Treatment.[15]

The XM1207 Medical Vehicle–Evacuation (MV-E) vehicle allows trauma specialists, maneuvering with combat forces, to be closer to the casualty's point-of-injury and was to be used for casualty evacuation.[15]

The XM1208 Medical Vehicle–Treatment (MV–T) vehicle enhances the ability to provide Advanced Trauma Management (ATM)/Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) treatments and procedures forward for more rapid casualty interventions and clearance of the battlespace.[15]

Both would have four-man crews and the capability to carry four patients. Both Medical Vehicle mission modules will be capable of conducting medical procedures and treatments using installed networked telemedicine interfaces,[15] Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care and the Theater Medical Information Program (TMIP).

Command and Control VehicleEdit

XM1209 Command and Control Vehicle (C2V)

The XM1209 Command and Control Vehicle (C2V) was to provide for information management of the integrated network of communications and sensor capability within the unit of action and provide the tools for commanders to synchronize their knowledge with leadership.

The C2V was to have had a crew of two and carry four staff officers.[15]

It was to be located within the headquarters sections at each echelon of the unit of action down to the company level, and with its integrated command, control, and communications equipment suite, was to make command and control on the move possible.

The C2Vs were to contain all the interfaces required to enable the commander to leverage the power of the C4ISR network and provides the means for leaders at all levels to achieve information superiority and situational understanding. In addition, the C2Vs were meant to make possible the establishment, maintenance and distribution of a common operating picture fused from the friendly, enemy, civilian, weather and terrain situations while on the move. The crew was to use its integrated C4ISR suite (communication, computers and sensor systems) to receive, analyze and transmit tactical information via voice, video and data inside and outside the unit of action.

The C2V was also planned to employ unmanned systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Manned Ground Vehicle overview Archived 2008-12-30 at the Wayback Machine. Boeing, 7 August 2008.
  2. ^ "Future Combat System Prototype Vehicles". GlobalSecurity.org. 30 September 2006. Archived from the original on 2 September 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b Feickert, Andrew (5 May 2006). "The Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 12, 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Army Working To Bring FCS, NLOS Cannon Efforts Together". Defense Daily. 22 October 2002. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. ^ Hsu, Emily (27 January 2003). "Team Will Design Eight Manned Ground Vehicles for FCS: GD, United Defense Team Up for Army's Future Combat Systems". Inside the Army. Vol. 15, no. 4. Inside Washington Publishers. pp. 2–3. JSTOR 24819825. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  6. ^ Jen DiMascio, Jen (21 March 2005). "Both Face Technical Hurdles: JTRS and Manned Ground Vehicles Critical to Success of Fcs, GAO Says". Inside the Army. Vol. 17, no. 11. Inside Washington Publishers. pp. 12–13. JSTOR 24823654. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  7. ^ Erwin, Sandra (1 November 2005). "For Army's Future Combat Vehicles, Flying by C-130 No Longer Required". National Defense. Retrieved 14 May 2017.[dead link]
  8. ^ Roque, Ashley (29 August 2005). "$47 Million Contract Awarded: Army Selects Diesel Engine to Power FCS Manned Ground Vehicles". Inside the Army. Vol. 17, no. 34. Inside Washington Publishers. pp. 1, 9–10. JSTOR 24824724. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Military Budget Reflects a Shift in U.S. Strategy" Archived 2017-06-28 at the Wayback Machine. New York Times, April 7, 2009. Retrieved in April 2009.
  10. ^ Cavallaro, Gina (June 11, 2009). "Panel to discuss new ground combat vehicle". Army Times. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  11. ^ McLeary, Paul. "U.S. Army Ground Vehicles Up and Down"[permanent dead link]. Aviation Week, 8 May 2009.
  12. ^ Jagirdar, Sarabjit (20 July 2009). "ARMY PARTIALLY TERMINATES FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEMS MANNED GROUND VEHICLE". US Fed News Service. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Contractors vie for lucrative vehicle work" Archived 2011-06-22 at the Wayback Machine. The Hill, August 5, 2010. Retrieved on August 21, 2010.
  14. ^ Military Deputy for Budget Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Mgt and Comptroller) Lt. Gen. Edgar Stanton and Acting Director, Army Budget Office William Campbell May 07, 2009, News Transcript Archived 2009-05-30 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs).
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Andrew Feickert (May 29, 2009). "The Army's Future Combat Systems Program" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  16. ^ "GCV, Industry Day #1". Contracting.tacom.army.mil. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  17. ^ a b c d Pernin et al, Ch. 5, p. 95-118.
  18. ^ Pernin et al, p. 197.
  19. ^ a b CBO, Ch. 2, p. 17-27.
  20. ^ "The Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress". DTIC.mil. 28 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  21. ^ Roosevelt, Ann (26 March 2008). "Advanced 120mm Gun For FCS Mounted Combat System In Safety Testing". Defense Daily. Archived from the original on 15 November 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  22. ^ "M-109 Replacement Enters Production". Strategypage.com. 2007-07-24. Archived from the original on 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  23. ^ a b Wasserbly, Daniel (21 April 2008). "FCS Mortar System Moving Ahead in Wake of Its 'Big Brother' Cannon". Inside the Army. Vol. 20, no. 16. Inside Washington Publishers. p. FCS Mortar System Moving Ahead in Wake of Its 'big Brother' Cannon. JSTOR 24826636. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  24. ^ C. Todd Lopez (2008-05-30). "First FCS Manned Vehicle to Make Public Debut". Army.mil. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  25. ^ Censer, Marjorie (14 December 2009). "Promising thorough vehicle review ...: DOD Acquisition Chief Formally Terminates Army's NLOS Cannon". Inside the Army. Vol. 21, no. 49. Inside Washington Publishers. JSTOR 24831487. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  26. ^ Pernin et al, Ch. 8, p. 191-246.
  27. ^ Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) army.mil


  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army.

External linksEdit