When considering every different element of a defense strategy, survivability and warfighter safety are often among the top priorities. This is especially true when considering how to invest and acquire new technologies. Decision makers are asking, “Which solutions are going to be cost-effective, contribute to lethality, and champion the safety of troops on the ground?” An emerging answer to this question is Air Launched Effects, or ALE.
As a form of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), ALE offers increased visibility and situational awareness with a set mission to detect, identify, locate, and report (DILR) while minimizing the number of warfighters being put in harm’s way. According to the U.S. Army, “ALE is a crucial piece of the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft Ecosystem advanced team concept synergistically enhancing survivability, threat identification, targeting, and lethality of Army aviation brigades and ground force commanders’ assets.” That value can easily be applied to other military branches, aligning nicely with CJADC2 efforts being touted throughout the defense community.
However, in order to make ALE truly impactful and cost-effective to intel and reconnaissance teams in-theater, the mission systems powering the devices need to utilize an open systems approach and offer high adaptability by doing so.
“Part of the future-proofing process and maintaining relevance for valuable hardware on the battlefield is ensuring that the mission systems software is easily adaptable,” explained Gregory Lundy, Senior Manager, Unmanned Systems and Advanced Programs, Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace. Prior to joining the Collins Aerospace team, Lundy was the Sensors Program Manager at the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) with the U.S. Navy and has seen first-hand the value of an open systems architecture as an end user.
Building on the sentiment behind an open systems approach, Lundy noted the significance of collaboration between government and industry leaders in the overarching success of ALE. “With industry players, you get relevant access to information that is only going to make systems stronger when you can tie them together appropriately,” he explained. “To the government, the industry is delivering the best possible options available today and designing the next iteration of those solutions for the future battlespace. When we are in talks with those defense leaders and decision makers, we really see ourselves as being the trusted agent for delivering to them what the future should look like and how they should be crafting their requirements in order to get there. At AUSA, we’re unveiling our RapidEdgeTM Autonomy Architecture in conjunction with ALE. It’s open, flexible, highly reliable, and already proven to integrate third party best-in-class functions – this is the future!”
Interested in learning more about Air Launched Effects and how to maximize their value in-theater? Watch the video from Collins Aerospace here: