DARPA successfully tested the air and ground elements of its prototype Precision Close Air Support system for the first time during a Marine Corps training exercise in March, the agency announced. “The successful tests point the way to a new model in which … ground forces would have on-demand access” to CAS in real time, DARPA Program Manager Dan Patt said in an April 6 release. Joint terminal attack controllers directed an MV-22 Osprey via a tablet computer and datalinks to strike a ground target with an inert Griffin missile during the trial. The missile hit the target within four minutes of the fire request—two minutes ahead of DARPA’s time goal, according to the agency. Doing away with maps and air-to-ground voice communication shaved approximately 25 minutes off the average call-to-kill time. The Air Force, Raytheon, and DARPA flight tested the plug-and-play system on the A-10 last year, paving the way for trials on platforms such as the Osprey.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.