This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
As part of the impressive new developments revealed by the US military, a new project by DARPA offers an app that is designed to improve coordination between air and ground forces using a digital system that is seven times faster compared to conventional paper maps and voice commands on radio. The app will be operated with tablets using Android operating system and is to become operational in the near future.
The app, called PCAS (Persistent Close Air Support) allows both sides to receive a digital real-time situational picture, thus improving the cooperation and coordination between ground forces and almost every aircraft in the US military arsenal. The app makes soldiers in the field have a range of optional actions – launching and directing aerial assistance, marking targets, mapping friendly units, recommending navigation routes in the field and places to deploy weapons and so on.
According to DARPA, the application has two components working in coordination – the air interface and the ground interface. Furthermore, the app is precise, easy to use in battle and decreases the risks of friendly fire and collateral damage. It can also be fairly easily applied to a wide range of aerial vehicles and platforms, as it uses, in part, commercial IT parts.
The app was tested back in 2013 by the US marine corps in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then, the corps has deployed thousands of these devices to test their function in the field and noticed a considerable improvement in navigation, situational awareness, fire coordination and communication. About six months ago, another test was conducted as part of a marine corps air and ground forces drill and presently, DARPA is working on applying the app in unmanned aerial vehicles.