The development project, from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is called the Persistent Close Air Support program. PCAS, originally designed for the A-10 Thunderbolt, will feature software that improves coordination among joint terminal attack controllers, airborne sensors and weapons, and a platform- and sensor-agnostic electronics suite that can be integrated onto multiple aviation platforms.
"Every minute on the ground counts for war fighters waiting for close air support," said Tom Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Advanced Missile Systems product line. "PCAS could reduce the critical minutes it takes to get it to them.
"Raytheon is not just developing next-generation weapons, we are constantly finding ways to make them more effective in theater to protect our troops."
Raytheon received a Phase 2 development contract from DARPA late last year to mature a preliminary design.
An optional Phase 3 contract is expected and it would culminate in flight testing and live-fire demonstrations, Raytheon said.
Working with Raytheon on the project are Rockwell Collins, General Electric and BAE Systems.