Up until now, American Joint Terminal Attack Controllers have been faced with calling in airstrikes using radios and paper maps. During that time, they required to coordinate and monitor positions of inbound aircrews to avoid friendly fire, while also being in the middle of a firefight. Now, thanks to DARPA and their new Android tablet, it takes less time to do that.
DARPA’s Persistent Close Air Support works by having it run on the tablet named Kinetic Integrated Low-cost SoftWare Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld, or KILSWITCH for short. The tech was used before in tactical and navigational applications, but this is the first time the military integrated it into air support.
The PCAS is also integrated directly into a plane’s tactical system and acts as well as the older radio-map method did, but in only four minutes. It has been designed to give real-time situational awareness data sharing between ground forces and overhead aircraft.
The system relies on live satellite, intelligence, and surveillance feeds to ensure that both parties are aware of each other up until the bombing commences. This would also allow the military to use fewer smart munitions. DARPA has tested the new tech in TALON REACH, an US Marine Corps infantry/aviation training exercise held in New Mexico.
“I am very pleased with the successful PCAS demonstration that we had during TALON REACH,” Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation, said in a statement. “I have emphasized to my team that we will network every one of our aircraft.”
With more and more technological advancements, it seems that the modern battlefield is drastically changing its façade. It seems that the latest involves bombing in less time than it takes for a pizza to arrive at your doorstep.
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