By Ann Roosevelt

Boeing [BA] yesterday announced the Increment 1 capabilities of the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program successfully completed their Production Readiness Review (PRR), and demonstrated readiness to move to a production decision review in mid-December, officials said.

Simultaneously, Boeing, SAIC [SAI], and their industry partners plan to submit a Low-Rate Initial Production contract proposal to the Army for Increment 1.

"The Production Readiness Review demonstrated that our industry team is ready to enter Low-Rate Initial Production," Derek McLuckey, Increment 1 project manager for Boeing, said in a statement. "We are looking forward to the Milestone C production decision in December."

The capabilities are scheduled for fielding to seven Infantry Brigade Combat Teams beginning in 2011.

Boeing and SAIC are responsible for developing and fielding Increment 1.

The review, involving Defense Department, Army, Boeing, SAIC, industry partners and other government representatives took place Oct. 27-29 at Boeing’s Huntington Beach, Calif., facility.

Paul Mehney, director for public communications at the Army Program Executive Office Integration told Defense Daily: "The completion of the Production Readiness Review is another step in the comprehensive review process as we move closer to preparing for potential Low Rate Initial Production of key Increment 1 capabilities pending the Milestone C decision scheduled in late December. This cumulative event shows that industry has completed a series of intensive reviews to prepare for production of these capabilities."

The PRR was the culmination of individual system production readiness reviews conducted over the past year and involved input from more than 20 key suppliers, the company statement said.

The production areas that were reviewed included management, production processes and integration, facilities tooling and test equipment, and product assurance for all Increment 1 capabilities.

Developed under the Future Combat Systems program and now a key element of the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program, Increment 1 will provide soldiers with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as increased survivability and lethality. Initial capabilities include:

  • iRobot’s [IRBT] Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle: a robotic system capable of reconnaissance missions in dangerous or difficult situations such as entering buildings, caves and tunnels ;
  • Honeywell’s [HON] Class I Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV): a small, soldier-operated UAV that can hover for reconnaissance and surveillance while providing target acquisition;
  • Textron‘s [TXT] Unattended Ground Sensors: multi-mode surveillance sensors for target detection, location and classification, with an imaging capability for identification;
  • NetFires LLC‘s Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System: an unmanned missile system capable of extended range targeting and precision attack NetFires is a joint venture between Raytheon [RTN] and Lockheed Martin [LMT]; and
  • Network Integration Kit: an integrated computer system that hosts the latest communications and radio systems and battle command software, providing the initial network connectivity needed to transfer sensor and communication data.

Boeing has already begun production preparations ahead of the Dec. 15 Milestone C review (Defense Daily, Oct. 9). That review will also be informed by a formal report from the Army Test and Evaluation Command on the equipment’s safety, effectiveness and suitability.