Close Air Support Technology for Loitering Engagement (CASTLE)
The Close Air Support Technology for Loitering Engagement (CASTLE) program will develop alternatives to current, manned systems and explore approaches to provide persistent on-demand overhead fire support with gun-ship like precision, tailored lethal effectiveness and unit directed responsive command and control. Key technologies to be analyzed, developed and integrated under CASTLE include 1) affordable, survivable, and persistent unmanned aircraft, 2) weapons consistent with man-in-the loop close air support application, such as auto-loading Electro Magnetic (EM) guns, directed energy weapons, vertical launch missiles, or deep magazine traditional guns and precision bombs, 3) sensors for targeting and designation, and 4) an adaptive command and control system to permit small unit request, coordination, and direction of supporting fires. Potential customers include the Army, SOCOM, Marines, and AFSOC.
- Evaluate candidate technologies for CASTLE.
- Conduct initial concept trade-off for preliminary CASTLE system designs.
- Perform modeling and simulation of alternative candidate air system architectures to assess effectiveness of alternative CASTLE approaches.
- Complete preliminary design of air vehicle design concept and development.
- Perform CASTLE technology risk reduction experiments and demonstrations.
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