Quick CAS

An A-10 aircraft, unofficially dubbed “Robohog,” recently started flight testing a weapons and battle space awareness-sharing package to speed aircraft-to-ground forces coordination, system integrator Raytheon announced. The flights are the third stage of a Defense Advanced Projects Agency program aimed at cutting the time from air support requests to weapons release from an hour, down to six minutes, according to DARPA. The Persistent Close Air Support system is made up of linked ground and airborne systems. DARPA distributed 500 tablet computers to deployed ground forces in Afghanistan to test the ground element’s ability to coordinate and plan strikes, ending in 2013. The current phase tests the PCAS-Air’s plug-and-play package that includes a weapons management and targeting system, navigation system, and high-speed datalink, according to DARPA. The 18-month, $25.5 million flight testing-phase will culminate in A-10 live-fire trials, after which the system will be “available for integration on other aircraft,” Raytheon stated.