Ground Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, Airborne Sensors, and Missile Weapons on A10C and V22 Platforms
Raytheon has successfully completed the flight test phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s persistent close air support (PCAS) program.
The PCAS program seeks development of software that could enable ground troops to receive close air support sooner through improvement in coordination among joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC), airborne sensors and weapons. Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice-president Tom Bussing said “The PCAS program was able to reduce close air support response times from nearly one hour to less than six minutes. By speeding critical information to decision makers, PCAS could save lives in the battlespace. By speeding critical information to decision makers, PCAS could save lives in the battlespace."
The PCAS system is designed to be platform-, digital radio-, sensor-, and weapons-class agnostic, and to be portable from platform to platform, Raytheon Stated. The main parts of the system are PCAS-Air and PCAS-Ground, which are consists of smart launcher electronics as well as a pilot tablet, and the equipment used by the JTAC respectively. Launched by DARPA in July 2010, the four-and-a-half year program is being executed in three phases. During the current 12-month phase 2 effort, Raytheon is maturing the PCAS program from preliminary design to a critical design review, with an option for phase 3. The PCAS Phase 2 contract was awarded in Raytheon's fourth quarter of 2012 and modified in the third quarter of 2013. The phase 3 PCAS contract is expected to include an 18-month, $25 million effort culminating in a series of flight tests and live-fire demonstrations. In March, the program demonstrated end-to-end, fully digital weapons release of a Griffin missile from a modified MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. In another development, an A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft and a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) on the ground, both feature PCAS capabilities, successfully employed 10 GPS- and laser-guided weapons in a second series of flight tests in May this year. DARPA is focusing on transitioning PCAS technology demonstrated on both the A-10C Thunderbolt Fighter and the MV-22 to different military platforms, which were not released. Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.(Raytheon and USAF Tech contributed)