The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is proposing development of an air-launched missile coupled with a gun to address counter insurgency (COIN) operations, close air support (CAS) and air-to-air engagement mission sets.
Disclosed in the US Department of Defense FY 2021 Budget Estimates document, the Agency has requested USD13.7 million to develop the concept as part of its Defense-Wide Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) budget request.
“The Gunslinger programme will develop and demonstrate technologies to enable an air-launched tactical range missile system capable of multi-mission support. This system will utilise the high maneuverability of a missile system coupled with a gun system capable of scalable effects and engagement of multiple targets,” according to RDT&E budget item justification.
The United States Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is expected to award a sole-source contract to Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) in the third quarter of 2020 for concept refinement and evaluation of an extended-range variant of the baseline AGM-154C-1 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) air-to-surface glide munition.
The US Navy (USN) has proposed funding in excess of USD700 million up to fiscal year (FY) 2025 for the development and fielding of JSOW ER, with production commencing in fourth-quarter 2022. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has already conducted a number of successful technical demonstrations/test flights of this next-generation weapon system.
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