Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1971


Research and Development

Research is the continuing effort to acquire knowledge of natural phenomena and environment in order to solve problems in all fields of science. Development is the continuing application of the findings to create products and techniques for military purposes.


The fiscal year 1971 research, development, test, and evaluation (RDTE) budget as submitted to the Congress in January 1970 requested new obligation authority of $1,717.9 million and requested reauthorization of $18 million of prior-year funds for a total of $1,735.9 million. Public Law 91-441 authorized $1,635.6 million to be appropriated for fiscal year 1971. The lower figure was the result of specific reductions that included the $18-million reauthorization figure. The Department of Defense Appropriation Act of 1971 (Public Law 91-668), enacted on January 11, 1971, allocated $1,600.2 million for RDTE, to be used as authorized by law and to remain available for obligation until June 30, 1972. The fiscal year 1971 RDTE column of the fiscal year 1972 budget, as amended, came to a total of $1,612.075 and included adjustments for such things as transfers (minus $42.1 million), reprograming of prior-year funds (plus $5.2 million), and a proposed supplement for pay raises (plus $30.8 million).

The Army requested $1,841.6 million for the fiscal year 1972 RDTE program in a budget submitted on October 1, 1970. Following minor revisions and the addition of $117.7 million to finance new initiatives, the 1972 budget was submitted to Congress in January 1971 at a level of $1,932.1 million. In April 1971 another $17.9 million was added to provide for annual pay raises, effective in January 1971. The revised 1972 budget totaled $1,949.9 million.

A major change in the RDTE appropriation was issued as a part of the 1971 Department of Defense Appropriation Act (Public Law 91-668), stating that appropriations theretofore available under the RDTE categories could not be obligated after June 30, 1972; thus all unobligated balances would be lost to the Army. A language change in the 1972 budget authorized the appropriation to remain available until expended.

As a result of this situation, prior-year unobligated balances were reviewed and obligation and commitments carefully validated. Ex-


cess funds were to be returned to the central research and development bank to finance unscheduled high priority programs. Over $30 million was recouped during fiscal year 1971.

Maintaining a Technology Base

The technology base may be defined as the totality of means by which the Army develops the materiel, concepts, and techniques necessary to meet its current and future missions and roles. The base consists of an accumulation of scientific and technical knowledge, trained and experienced personnel, a responsive educational system, modern research and development facilities, and relevant research and development programs. These national resources, both internal and external, enable the Army to maintain superiority and avoid technological surprises from a potential enemy.

The fundamental reason why the Army needs to maintain a technology base stems from assigned missions, functions, and responsibilities. To remain a first-class fighting force, the Army must have better weapons, mobility, communications, medical treatment, and other military essentials. To fulfill these needs, the Army must draw upon available science and technology and must also create new science and technology. These needs require that a vigorous basic and applied research program be conducted.

In addition to the fundamental reason for Army involvement in research and development, there are two "real world" situations that demand continued and even increased involvement. These inescapable facts are that the Army is getting smaller and the United States is in a period of strategic nuclear parity.

One of the ways in which the Army can add to its power, even while its size is diminishing, is with modern equipment—the hardware needed to maintain constant levels of effectiveness in such functions as firepower, mobility, and communications. Research and exploratory development are at the very heart of new product development and old product improvement. The Army has been, and will continue to be, one of the largest consumers of technology in the country. It must, therefore, be an intelligent buyer of technology. To be an intelligent buyer, the Army must be technically competent. To be technically competent, it must do in-house work, including basic research.

The ultimate goal of total Army involvement in research and exploratory development is to improve, through knowledge, the effectiveness of its operational forces. In order to achieve this goal, the Army must ensure that all technological areas important to the Army are exploited. Some of the areas that are of particular concern to the Army, or in which it has a dominant role, are explosives, ground mobility, and trop-


ical medicine. The Army must be the leader and actually perform the bulk of the research in these areas, or the work would simply not be done.

The Army must also engage in many other areas of research that are covered by other organizations in the federal government, in industry, and in the academic world. A few examples are electronics, materials, and meteorology. Active participation by the Army in such areas assures that the results of research, wherever done, are applied to Army problems and that specific problem areas, unique to the Army, are addressed by Army laboratories.

Under nuclear parity, maintenance of adequate conventional forces becomes increasingly vital. These conventional forces are concentrated in the Army. They could be called general purpose forces, prepared to fight general purpose wars. These forces must be modern in order to make more efficient use of the manpower available in a smaller army. The Army must rely on research and exploratory development to provide the qualitative superiority in hardware necessary in light of U.S. force level reductions. As research efforts create new technologies, the Army measures them against priority requirements and then fully supports and funds the appropriate technological advances that will provide necessary capabilities.

The age of nuclear parity has, in part, been the result of increased emphasis, on the part of the Soviet Union, in research and development. According to Dr. John S. Foster, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, who addressed the Navy League members in Miami, Florida, on December 5, 1970, "The Soviets now seem to be gaining on the United States in some areas of technology at a rate of about one year in every three or four. If present trends continue, the USSR could assume technological superiority in military research and development in the latter half of this decade." In other words, "The present relative trends in quality—research and development—coupled with comparable trends in quantity—development of numbers of improved weapons—could jeopardize the U.S. margin of security by the late 70's or early 80's." The loss of U.S. technological superiority would markedly reduce U.S. understanding of the intelligence that is collected, and consequently would seriously reduce the confidence we would have in making decisions about future weapons systems. Recovery from any loss of U.S. technological leadership would not be feasible without enormous expenditures over many years—and without a grave risk, meanwhile, of losing the national margin of safety.

This is a time of great adjustment for the Army. The drastic force reductions are not easy to manage. The Vietnamization of the war is a tremendous challenge. The Army's mission of providing national security, with diminishing resources in the face of a more powerful


threat, is a difficult one. A vigorous research and exploratory program —properly managed—is an invaluable asset in assisting the Army to emerge from this transition period with a newer, smaller, tougher, higher quality force—an Army that will continue to meet the demands that are made of it.

Research and Development Programs

Under the impetus of a large-scale guerrilla-type war in Southeast Asia, important advances have been made in U.S. find-the-enemy capability—the result of increased emphasis in the fields of surveillance, target acquisition, and night observation (STANO). In July 1969, a management structure was established—including a system manager initially assigned in the Office of the Chief of Staff and now assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Developments—to give direction, control, and emphasis in this special field. A STANO division was established in the Office of the Chief of Research and Development to supervise the evolution of techniques and hardware relating to night vision, radar, sensors, and special purpose detectors.

Attention continued at a high level in fiscal year 1971, and progress was made along all lines. Models of a French-German radar were procured to be sent to Vietnam for testing, and this system was placed in the normal development cycle. Engineering development continued on the AN/PPS-15 short-range company-level surveillance radar.

In the night vision area, technology was advanced through exploitation of the techniques of image intensification and thermal imagery. Comparative testing of various aerial night vision systems was completed by the MASSTER (Modern Army Selected Systems Test, Evaluation, and Review) test facility at Fort Hood, Texas. In these tests, FAAR infrared systems performed particularly well and are considered to have high potential for the future.

Experience with unattended ground sensors continued to indicate their potential for surveillance and target acquisition. In fiscal year 1971 a plan for the remotely monitored battlefield sensor system (REMBASS) program was approved, funds were allocated, and guidance was provided to the development agency. Under the program, unattended ground sensor technology will be adapted to a variety of applications.

More work is required to achieve an acceptable mix of capabilities. The ability to locate hostile weapons will receive increased attention in the coming year. Previous work in weapons-locating radar will permit a start on engineering development for the countermortar radar program and advanced development for the counterbattery radar program.


STANO technology, coupled with advances in automatic data processing and communications, portends an integrated battlefield control system that will materially assist the tactical commander in making sound and timely decisions.

During fiscal year 1971 the development programs of the mechanized infantry combat vehicle (MICV) and the armored reconnaissance scout vehicle (ARSV) were reoriented to some degree. In the fall of 1970 the ARSV program was modified to place it on an austere footing. In the early months of 1971 the mechanized infantry combat vehicle program development goals were broadened and both the MICV and ARSV programs were directed along austere lines with the MICV receiving the first priority in the event that future fiscal constraints require a priority determination to be made.

The Army's main battle tank, designated the MBT-70 under the former joint development program with the Federal Republic of Germany and redesignated the XM-803 under the U.S. unilateral continuation program, progressed during the year through design review and to definition of the revised configuration. Fabrication of advanced production engineering pilot tanks proceeded. These tanks will be used for engineering and expanded service tests. First production is scheduled for December 1975. Despite the major changes in the program, the production schedules set under the previous co-operative effort remained in phase.

With respect to the XM-803 engine, a source of concern to congressional committees, the United States returned to the air-cooled piston engine that had been dropped in favor of the German liquid-cooled engine. The reversion was made after study by military panels and after a detailed review by independent experts. The conclusion was that the U.S. engine, with a more conservative power rating, would be reliable and would be within the reasonable limits of development risks. At its new rating—1250 versus the 1475 horsepower of the earlier version—the engine will meet all user requirements. It represents, in comparison with any existing production engine in its class, an unprecedented engineering accomplishment in terms of both power per cubic foot and power per pound. Tests were highly encouraging and confirm its selection.

In the missile field, deployment of the TOW antitank system to the training base in the continental United States was essentially completed during the year. This tube-launched weapon is optically tracked and wire guided and is designed to be used by infantry and helicopter forces to destroy enemy tanks and other armored vehicles. It will replace the 106-mm. recoilless rifle and will improve the ability of U.S. forces to counter the armor threat that has existed in Europe since World War II.


Development of the Dragon system also advanced during the year. This weapon is light enough to be carried by one man and gives the foot soldier a lethal capability against enemy armor. It will replace the 90-mm. recoilless rifle, providing increased range, portability, and kill probability.

Surface-to-air-missile advanced development proceeded through the SAM-D system, the replacement for the Nike-Hercules and Hawk. Fabrication of the fire control group was completed and testing begun as component verification was continued. Captive flight tests were held to prove the guidance concept. Four propulsion test vehicles were flown, verifying the propulsion system and airframe in a limited flight environment. No fundamental technical problems were uncovered.

Under the Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Program, the Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (ABMDA) continued work on new system concepts and components that led to improved defense capabilities. During the year a concept was formulated for the Hardsite defense system, intended to protect the Minuteman force against possible Soviet deployment of a larger and more sophisticated threat than that for which Safeguard is designed. Work continued also on a program to insure that data processing hardware and software techniques are capable of keeping pace with ballistic missile defense requirements; this program advances promising computer concepts not developed commercially, and also examines commercial computers for their adaptability to this role.

ABMDA also continued work on the concept of a long-range homing interceptor to engage and destroy hostile re-entry vehicles in midcourse, away from the continental United States. Development continued on an advanced terminal interceptor missile that would have the high velocity and maneuverability to counter the postulated future threats to the Minuteman force. Also being investigated was the feasibility of a homing capability for endoatmospheric interceptors.

Solid state radar and associated software work also proceeded; the small size, low power, and high reliability inherent in solid state devices will be exploited to reduce the investment, operating, and maintenance costs in future radar components.

An important part of the Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Program is the identification, evaluation, and comparison of new system concepts that would provide paths for future development. Near term concepts build on Safeguard, while longer range ones depend upon more advanced technology.

In addition to the program described above, the ABMDA engages in a wide range of advanced technology projects. Current fields of investigation include radar, optics, missile and data processing components, nuclear vulnerability and lethality, system evaluation models,


environmental measurements and experiments, and advanced materials and structures.

There were also a number of helicopter actions during the year. The period was devoted, for example, to the preparation and processing of documentation and plans for a program to develop a utility tactical transport aircraft system (UTTAS), the Army's first true squad carrier, to replace the UH-1 in assault helicopter companies, air cavalry units, and aeromedical evacuation units. Comparisons were made, in a cost effectiveness study, between proposed and existing candidate aircraft and in the light of a requirement for a helicopter capable of carrying an infantry squad.

In October 1970, funds were released for a joint Army-Navy heavy lift helicopter (HLH) program. Proposals from industry were evaluated and Boeing Vertol was selected on May 7, 1971, to design, fabricate, test, and demonstrate the critical components of an HLH capable of lifting a payload of 22.5 tons at sea level and at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The research and development program for an advanced aerial fire support system also continued during the year. A prototype AH-56A Cheyenne equipped with an improved rotor control system was flown at better than 200 knots true airspeed at design gross weight, and previous instabilities were overcome. Fabrication and ground test of the night vision system was completed and installation on an AH-56A initiated. Flight testing should follow in the coming fiscal year. Meanwhile, aerial firings of the TOW missile system were successfully conducted by Army gunners, with promising results for the Cheyenne system. Army pilots began testing the AH-56A helicopter in January 1971 and about 120 hours had been logged by the fiscal year's end.

Attention was also given during the year to aircraft electronics warfare self-protection equipment. Equipment, devices, and techniques being developed cover the entire range of electromagnetically controlled air defense weapons. Both passive and active devices to counter optical radar and infrared-controlled weapons are being investigated.

Finally, the Army also continued development work to improve conventional munitions, with considerable progress and promise in the use of submissiles and the techniques of controlled fragmentation.


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Last updated 9 August 2004