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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Lasers, water landings, crewless ops: Upgrades are coming for the C-130 family | Air Force Times

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The Special Operations Command of the United States evaluates high-energy lasers’ efficacy. 

KC130J Super Hercules and MC-130J Commando II are testing with high-energy lasers, amphibious landing, and takeoff. If successful, the effort of the U.S. Special Operations Command might lead to a pilotless, completely automated cockpit. He said that a less occupied crew might concentrate more on aircraft safety and military objectives. First constructed in the 1950s, aircraft have served generations of soldiers in war throughout the world. 

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kevin McClure, commander of the mobility division for PEO Fixed Wing, said that the C-130 types are being upgraded. The objective is to allow safer infiltration, exfiltration, resupply, and refueling for all variations by standardizing their systems. They want improved communication systems that can include data from different platforms to enhance situational awareness in real-time. The C-130 began as a tanker/transport aircraft. It can gather data, detect targets, and launch attacks as necessary. 

Currently, the MC-130Js are being integrated with a precision strike package. The “W” version that preceded the “J” variant will be retired in July. The Pentagon gave the PEO Fixed Wing an integrated deterrent mission. The Air Force seeks improved navigation and sensors that can function in settings without GPS. Additionally, they seek optical or automated target detection in modular, open-source systems. 

They want to accomplish it by adding capabilities to current forms instead of introducing a new, purpose-built round. And they want more distance and separation. Two small company grants and the testing of a miniaturized cruise missile with electrical propulsion are being used on this front. 

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/lasers-water-landings-crewless-ops-203617486.html 

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