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DARPA Tests Air-Ground Coordination Function of PCAS System on A-10

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A-10 PCAS testThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has conducted tests on a prototype of its Persistent Close Air Support system onboard an A-10 Thunderbolt II to demonstrate air-ground coordination during close air support operations.

DARPA said Thursday the demonstration flights focused on the communication and synchronization between a ground-based joint terminal attack controller and a pilot in flight to coordinate an airstrike in support of ground forces.

“Close air support and similar operations rely on teamwork, and we have shown that a flexible architecture and extensible technology toolsets are key to making groundbreaking improvements in air-ground coordination,” said Daniel Patt, a program manager at DARPA.

PCAS works to facilitate the exchange of real-time weapons-systems and situational-awareness data between the ground and air components using tactical data links to command live-fire weapons engagements and other missions.

DARPA noted that the tests used the laptop-based Android Tactical Assault Kit version of the PCAS ground software, which the Air Force Research Laboratory developed with U.S. Special Operations Command.

The PCAS air component features an automated targeting system, the agency said.

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