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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