TAMPA, Florida – The most modern versions of of the military the longtime tanker, who has become a death dealer, is expected to receive even more toys under the leadership of the special operations community.

IN MC-130J Commando II and on KC130J Super Hercules the planes are experimenting with high-energy lasers, landing and taking off amphibians and potentially unmanned, fully automated cabins if the work of the US Special Operations Command is successful.

Program staff outlined the details of the C-130 family planes on Wednesday at the Industrial Conference of Special Operations Forces, organized in Templa, Florida, by the National Industrial Defense Association.

The plane, first built in the 1960s, has served generations of soldiers in battles around the world. But now he faces a contentious airspace he has never seen.

“Threats are growing, they’re getting worse,” said Rich Rodriguez, SOCOM’s technical director for its Fixed Wing program executive office.

Air Force Colonel Ken Kubler, head of the fixed-wing portfolio, told conference attendees he gave priority to autonomous technology to ease the burden on the flight crew. This was a leading topic in almost all panels focused on air, sea and data this week.

Beyond the load, the crew could see a possible pruning. “I need to be able to reduce the crew and reduce the workload of the crew,” said Kubler. “We have a lot of data coming to us all the time.”

The less busy crew, he said, could focus more on aircraft safety and combat missions.

Rodriguez said SOCOM had already seen experiments from the Air Force Special Operations Command on an unmanned cockpit integrated with a smaller aircraft platform. He did not specify on which platform.

If successful, these initiatives could reach a massive aircraft like the C-130 variants, he said.

Kuebler also wants to save space, but add options. “I need to be able to have a platform that is a truly multimodal, modular system,” he said. This means payloads that can easily get on and off the plane and do more than one thing.

Air Force Lt. Kevin McClure, head of PEO Fixed Wing’s mobility department, said the C-130 variants are being improved with a number of new facilities. The aim is for the numerous options to have common systems and to ensure safer penetration, exfiltration, refueling and refueling.

“But the big piece is in a contentious environment,” McCloir said. “And this is becoming a really difficult problem that we need [industry’s] help with. “

They want better communication systems capable of receiving data from other platforms to raise real-time situational awareness. “Not only can we react and recover, but we can also share that back in the community,” McCloir said.

This also applies to training. Program managers want augmented reality and virtual reality for immersive learning of the C-130 variants and as many other aircraft as possible.

What about the MC-130J?

In terms of recapitalization, the United States is modifying the MC-130J with special operations force mission systems to improve low-level infiltration / exfiltration, air release, refueling, and refueling in contested environments.

Ongoing efforts include radar integration, on-board mission networking, RF countermeasures, integration of open mission systems, technical upgrades to the special mission processor, tactical flight management system, and cloud-based mission integration.

The planned efforts include the functionality of automated mission systems for joint operations in all domains, palletized ammunition, active electronically scanned radar and augmented reality and virtual reality training.

The C-130 began its life as a tanker / transport aircraft. He continues to be a truck in the sky, but one that can collect data, sense targets, and strike when needed.

Lt. Col. Matt Fjorch, head of the PEO Fixed Wing strike unit, said the current work includes integrating the MC-130J with a precision strike package and next-generation sensor guidance systems. His work also includes the withdrawal of option “W”, which precedes option “J”, which should be completed by July, he said.

The latest work on the battleship AC-130

Ongoing efforts include shutting down the AC-130W fleet, completing production of the AC-130J Block 30, upgrading the Block 20+ AC-130Js to Block 30, providing infrared suppression systems, and introducing security system upgrades.

Planned efforts include initiatives to reduce crew, take a modular approach with open systems and adopt augmented reality and virtual reality training.

In other words, the warship must maintain its short-range capabilities, but also take on the integrated deterrent impetus given by the Pentagon to command.

To make this work work, Fjorch said staff were looking for ammunition delivered by air, mostly for “the best lethality.” An example of this approach, he explained, is the integrated weapons data link added to the 50-pound warheads last year.

Förch called the data link an “incredible ability” that allows the crew to fire and then communicate with the cartridge in flight by issuing instructions.

The connection gives the user the option of a “dud” command, which can make the weapon inert in flight if the strike is to be canceled.

But that still needs improvement, he said. To do this, they are working with the industry to provide next-generation guidance and sensors that can operate in GPS-disabled environments.

“We are largely doing laser targeting now,” he explained, but even that is not enough. They are also looking for optical or automated target recognition in modular, open systems.

But they want to do this by reducing the possibilities to their existing forms, instead of adding another, specially created circle. And they want more scope and opposition.

Work on this front is being done with two subsidies for small business research, he said. These include testing a miniature electric cruise missile that fires more than 100 nautical miles, and another small cruise missile that can cover twice the distance.

As if that wasn’t enough, they would also like to get this 82-ton plane to land and take off again.

This is important for Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders and other operators who need to get wet in remote locations.

Rodriguez said the Air Force’s special operations are doing digital planning and working to place floating modules on the platform for just that task.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, the government and the military in numerous publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a joint witness intimidation project. Todd is a veteran of the Marines in the Iraq war.


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