DARPA last week introduced a concept called ArcLight, a high-speed, long-range conventional strike weapon launched from Mk 41 vertical launch system tubes on Navy ships. “DARPA believes this program will be a ground breaking way for the Navy and Air Force to engage deployed, time-critical targets,” reads the agency’s broad agency announcement, issued July 7. Utilizing the thousands of VLS in the fleet has advantages, such as the ability for worldwide coverage from just several ships, said the agency. Under a five-year, three-part program, the agency aims to demonstrate in flight a boost/glide vehicle system capable of carrying a 100 to 200-pound payload 2,000 nautical miles in approximately 30 minutes. DARPA anticipates awarding multiple phase 1 contracts to mature enabling technologies such as wing materials for the glide vehicle. Phase 1 proposals are due by August 23. (DARPA notice)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.