3. Army Strategy for Systems, System Upgrades, and Advanced Concepts
a. Systems and System Upgrades
The development of the next set of systems requires prior demonstration of the feasibility of employing new technologies. New systems are those next in line after the ones currently fielded or in production. For these systems, most technical barriers to the new capability have been overcome. Generally, these systems can enter engineering and manufacturing development relatively quickly as a result of the successful demonstration of enabling technologies. Based on current funding guidance, the number of new systems is in a sharp decline. Systems included in this chapter must have a funded 6.4 or 6.5 development program and/or production dollars in the POM/Army RDA Plan.
In the absence of new systems, the Army is pursuing incremental improvements to existing systems to maintain its technological edge and capabilities. For the purposes of this plan, these improvements have been designated as "System Upgrades." System upgrades are brought about through technology insertion programs, service life extension programs, preplanned product improvement programs, and block improvement programs. System upgrades included here must have a 6.4/6.5 funding wedge in the POM/Army RDA Plan. These upgrades are based primarily on the success of funded 6.3 ATDs/TDs. The 6.3 ATDs/TDs either are the basis for the system upgrade or have a high probability of forming the basis for the system upgrade. Descriptions of systems and system upgrades may be found in the book Weapon Systems, United States Army 1997.
b. Advanced Concepts
Advanced Concepts are systems concepts further out in time. For these, significant technical barriers remain, and questions of military worth, including trade-offs within emerging doctrine and force structure limits, are less clear. Advanced concepts help provide the focus for the earlier stages of technology development (6.1 and 6.2 programs) and outyear projected 6.3 demonstrations. In many cases they are conceptual in nature, and actual system definitions may change significantly by the time technologies and demonstrations are more fully understood. Advanced concepts represent an option that is thought to be technologically achievable and useful on a future battlefield, but without a prior commitment by either the Department of the Army or the user community for development or production. Inclusion of advanced concepts in the ASTMP is based on planned/funded 6.3 ATDs/TDs.