PM Soldier Maneuver Sensors hosts third FWS-CS and FWS-S Industry Day

industry day photoProduct Manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors (PM SMS), led by Lt. Col. Tim Fuller, hosted 86 Industry leaders from 45 companies during an Industry Day for the Family of Weapon Sights-Crew Served (FWS-CS) and Sniper (FWS-S) programs.

At the Dec. 9-10 event, contractor representatives learned the capabilities and technologies the government is seeking for the Army’s next generation of Soldier weapon enablers.

FWS consists of three variants: 1) FWS-Individual (FWS-I), 2) FWS-CS and 3) FWS-S. The FWS-CS will be a weapon mounted long-wave infrared sensor that provides imagery including a reticle bore-sighted to the host weapon (M2, MK19 and M240) in battlefield conditions (daylight, night, and obscurants). FWS-CS will operate as the primary sight, include a wireless helmet mounted display (HMD) and provide the Soldier with a ballistically adjusted reticle based on laser range finder information. Enhanced Target Engagement will be a significant advantage for Soldiers enabling them to acquire and engage targets faster providing increased accuracy with first burst impacts on target.

The FWS-S will be a weapon mounted long-wave infrared sensor that mounts in-line with a Sniper’s day view optic. This system will provide Snipers with pixels on target that will improve their ability to accurately engage targets at long ranges in day/night operations. It will enable combat forces to acquire and engage targets and conduct surveillance at longer distances in all visibility conditions—day, night, obscurants, no-light and adverse weather conditions—while maintaining boresight of the day optic.

“With the FWS-CS, we’re asking for tremendous resolution,” said Fuller. “We’re adding an integrated laser rangefinder and a disturbed reticle, so that we have first burst impacts on target. We’re adding a wireless helmet-mounted display so that the Soldier has improved firing positions.”

FWS-S photo“With the FWS-S, likewise, we’re asking for greater resolution,” said Fuller. “It’s going to be a clip-on thermal sight so the Soldier doesn’t have to remove that day optic.”

PM SMS is a product management office within Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, which provides Soldiers with capabilities, equipment, and new equipment training to ensure they remain decisive and dominant throughout the full spectrum of military operations.

FWS-CSFor the attending industry leaders, PM SMS product leads provided detailed information for each product’s parameters, technical priorities, minimum technical requirements for sample hardware. The leads also presented the program’s schedules. Lt. Col. Fuller emphasized the need to move technology forward in order “to get that revolutionary change into the hands of our Soldiers while keeping size, weight, power consumption and cost (SWaP-C) down.”

Based on lessons learned from Soldier feedback regarding the previous Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS) program, the FWS systems may require specific placement of buttons, known as “buttonology,” and user interface guidelines. This will decrease a Soldier’s learning curve when switching from one manufacturer’s system to another. Based on Soldier feedback and user juries, PM SMS officials asked industry partners to seek improvements to range, weight and battery life. They also asked for wireless communications and interoperability with existing equipment, such as the Small Tactical Optical Rifle Mounted Micro-Laser Rangefinder (STORM MLRF).

In his opening remarks, Col. Michael E. Sloane, Project Manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers (PM SSL), said as the Army faces an extremely uncertain and dynamic security environment, Soldiers must be outfitted with the latest and best equipment in order to be prepared to conduct operations across the full spectrum of military operations. He told industry “we must continue to partner with you to ensure we are always ready to meet our Army’s mission. The technologies you and your tremendous engineers are developing are exactly the breakthrough technologies we are seeking for our Soldiers in this uncertain security environment. The FWS provides that revolutionary capability and the Army will invest in those capabilities that ensure Soldier and Squad overmatch.”

Following the presentations, PM SMS leaders participated in an all inclusive question-and-answer session followed by numerous one-on-one sessions with industry. Government officials and industry partners received feedback on enhancing products and expediting the timeline to provide this state-of-the-art equipment to Soldiers.

Army officials expect to release a draft Request for Proposal between January and March 2015 with a pre-solicitation meeting between April and June.

About Debra Dawson