May 06, 2013

Unmanned A10 will be the UAV under complete control of spotter soldiers starting in about 2016

The goal of the DARPA Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program is to demonstrate the capability for a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) [soldier with radio and camera system designated to direct attack] on the ground “to visualize, select and employ weapons at the time of his choosing from an optionally manned/unmanned A-10 platform. An aircraft that is within 30 nautical miles of a target is expected to deliver a weapon on that target within six minutes of a JTAC request. A live-fire demonstration is planned for 2015.

While the 1970s-vintage Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog is the designated PCAS demonstration platform, Darpa said the intention is to develop a standard interface that can be used for a variety of manned and unmanned aircraft.

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