The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has extended the Persistent Close Air Support program to Phase Three.
PCAS links joint terminal attack controllers, sensors and weapons. The goal is to reduce the delay between calling in an air strike and weapons on target to just six minutes instead of 60, according to the DARPA program description. The system uses automation by inserting autonomous algorithms in the decision chain, and by digitally sharing situational awareness messages. This third and final phase will involve a series of flight tests and live-fire demonstrations.
Originally designed for the A-10, PCAS was expanded in 2013 to include a platform- and sensor-agnostic electronics suite that could be easily integrated onto multiple and legacy platforms, Raytheon said. "Raytheon's PCAS solution is designed to reduce the minutes it takes to deliver that critical support, and give warfighters the most effective protection possible," said Thomas Bussing, vice president of advanced missile systems for Raytheon Missile Systems.