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The RAH-66 Comanche program was canceled in 2004

Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Majority of Army FCS projects have been cancelled

The U.S. military depends on technology to give the edge on the battlefield. The U.S. government spends billions of dollars each year researching and developing new tech that will allow the military to better fight enemy forces wherever and whenever the need strikes.

Of all the branches of the U.S. military, the branch that might be considered the least modern would be the Army by some. The Air Force has its high-tech Joint Strike Fighter program and F-22 Raptor aircraft and the Navy has numerous high-tech ships and weapon systems. At the same time, many of the large programs that the Army has launched have ended before the weapons systems were complete as a casualty of cutbacks in Washington.

Defense News reports that U.S. 3-star general Daniel Bolger has stated that the Army does in fact have a strong modernization program in place and he defended that strategy over the weekend at breakfast meeting.

Gen. Bolger said, "Now most folks in this room would probably say that in wake of the cancellation of the Future Combat Systems [FCS], the Army really does not have much of a modernization strategy, but I would disagree." He continued, "Our Army has modernized dramatically in the last decade, if you think about it. We're organized differently and we fight differently. We did it all at war and in fact, I would tell you, we did it because we're at war."

Among the notable Army projects that were axed by Washington where the XM2001 Crusader program that was to be a more modern version of the self-propelled Howitzer canon. Another casualty of the ending of that program was the non-line-of-sight canon that was intended to replace the M-109 self-propelled 155mm Howitzer.

Another high profile cancelled project for the Army was the RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter. The program to find a replacement for the aging Bradley fighting vehicle saw its RFP cancelled in late August with the promise that a new request for proposal would be released within 60 days. BAE has been working on a proposal to replace the Bradley that uses hybrid technology.

Despite the notable Army project cancellations, Bolger points to the upgraded CH-47F Chinook helicopter [PDF] as one of the modernized vehicles in the Army's strategy. Bolger said, "[The CH-47F] looks the same, but it's a much different and better aircraft than the D model it replaced."

The biggest chunk of the modernization strategy according to Bolger is the network capabilities being tested at Fort Bliss, Texas. Bolger sees the network upgrades as the centerpiece of the Army modernization strategy. He also points to the Army's purchase of the Grey Eagle drone, a version of the Predator drone used by the Air Force previously known as Sky Warrior, as one of the modern weapon systems the Army has acquired.





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