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Raytheon has started flight tests of the persistent close air support (PCAS) system, the third phase of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) effort to provide ground troops with faster, more accurate close air support.
Raytheon plans to install the PCAS system on a Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt to test air performance and connectivity with ground-based joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) equipped with a PCAS ground unit.
"PCAS will help reduce close air support response times from as long as one hour to just six minutes," Tom Bussing, Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missile Systems, says in a prepared statement. "By delivering critical information to decision makers more quickly, PCAS will save lives."
Raytheon serves as systems integrator for the programme, and is working with partners Rockwell Collins, General Electric, BAE Systems and 5-D Systems. It won the $25 million, 18-month phase-3 contract in February. The entire three-year DARPA programme is funded at $82 million, according to DARPA.