Raytheon contracts GE and Rockwell Collins for Persistent Close Air Support program

041301-F-7709A-008Raytheon selects Rockwell Collins and GE Aviation for designing and testing the DARPA Persistent Close Air Support program.

Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program is aimed at providing ground troops and combat air forces precision-guided weapons. The system was originally designed for the A-10 Thunderbolt but now the program is being integrated onto multiple platforms. The project seeks to fundamentally increase CAS effectiveness and increase ground force speed and effectiveness.

“Every minute on the ground counts for warfighters waiting for close air support,” said Tom Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Advanced Missile Systems product line. “PCAS could reduce the critical minutes it takes to get it to them. Raytheon is not just developing next-generation weapons, we are constantly finding ways to make them more effective in theater to protect our troops.”

110328-O-9999S-474Raytheon selects Rockwell Collins for advanced technologies integration

Raytheon has selected Rockwell Collins for the integration of a suite of advanced technologies for this PCAS project. Rockwell Collins is a long time business partner and a great fit for Raytheon in the design and development stage of the program. Rockwell Collins will streamline CAS workflows and Joint Terminal Attack Controller (CJAT) human-machine interfaces, provide high bandwidth QNT radios, integrate dismounted, next-generation, head up displays, helmet mounted cueing systems and advanced targeting and visualization tools.

“Through this JTAC-centric program, our intent is to reduce close air support timelines while advancing technology, software and communications that directly support joint terminal attack controllers and how they interoperate with manned and unmanned aircraft to perform missions,” said Tommy Dodson, vice president and general manager of Surface Solutions for Rockwell Collins.

GE Aviation awarded second phase contract for CPAS

Raytheon Missile Systems has awarded GE Aviation the second phase contract for the PCAS program to provide the stores management system for the PCAS-Air component. PCAS-Air would be a platform-agnostic, plug-and-play system that would consist of an internal navigation system, stores and engagement management systems and high-speed data transfer systems.

The contract includes the engineering and data development of GE’s Stores and Payload Controller (SPC), a lightweight stores management system designed for UAVs. In addition, GE has been contracted to host and integrate a US government high-value software application onto GE’s open system Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA).

“The stores and payload controller has a standards-based architecture for a variety of current and future stores, making it a comprehensive system for multiple platforms,” said Todd Caccamo, business director, Avionics Systems for GE Aviation. “This potentially provides the user with a common product that streamlines cost and can be used on manned or unmanned aircraft in the air, on land or at sea.”

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The second phase of the Persistent Close Air Support program will support the integration and test of GE’s SPC solution onto the PCAS platform, resulting in a planned series of flight tests and live-fire demonstrations at the end of phase three. GE also plans to demonstrate the ease of porting legacy 3rd party software applications into a militaryopen IMA computing system. The program is administered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

GE Aviation provides the stores management system for the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, the Shadow® Unmanned Aircraft System and has provided mission/stores management solutions to a wide variety of military aerial platforms for more than 40 years. GE has delivered more than 4,500 systems to numerous fixed- and rotary-wing military aircraft operators worldwide.

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