A Lockheed Martin led team has received a $48m award from the US Air Force to produce 107 Precision Engagement (PE) modification kits for the A-10 close air support fighter.
Comprising hardware and software upgrades, each installed kit will transform the legacy A-10A aircraft from an analogue aircraft to its new digital A-10C designation with precision weapons capability.
The award represents the second production lot of PE kits following an initial award for 72 kits in March 2005. The 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base began installing the first award production kits in March 2006. Lockheed Martin is expected to deliver a total of 356 kits over five years for an estimated $168m.
‘Precision Engagement capability will change the A-10 from a clear weather, visual only attack aircraft into an all-weather, multi-mission precision weapons delivery platform,’ said Roger Il Grande, A-10 program director at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego. ‘Specifically, precision-guided weapons will enable the A-10 pilot to engage ground targets more swiftly, accurately and from safer distances than ever before.’
Each PE kit consists of a new cockpit instrument panel with two 5×5 inch multi-function colour displays, a new stick grip and right throttle to provide true hands-on-throttle and-stick fingertip control of aircraft systems and targeting pod functionality, and six pylons upgraded to ‘smart’ weapons capability. A new computer called the Central Interface Control Unit manages the avionics and the integrated Digital Stores Management System (DSMS), which controls weapons functionality.
Flight-testing of the A-10C aircraft’s DSMS and digital map is taking place at Eglin Air Force Base and at Nellis Air Force Base.