The A-10 Prime Team led by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has received a $48 million award from the U.S. Air Force to produce 107 Precision Engagement (PE) modification kits for the Under the Precision Engagement (PE) upgrading program, the A-10 close air support fighter is modified into the A-10C.
From a clear weather, visual only attack aircraft the A-10C is transformed into an all-weather, multi-mission precision weapons delivery platform, capable of employing the Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser. The program is integrating advanced sensors, a datalink and the LITENING AT and Sniper XR targeting pods onto the aircraft, which will boost pilot situational awareness, targeting capabilities, survivability and communication with other coalition ground and air elements.
Comprising hardware and software upgrades, each installed kit transforms the legacy A-10A aircraft enabling precision weapons capability. Each PE kit consists of a new cockpit instrument panel with two 5×5 inch multi-function color 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.
Lockheed Martin is expected to deliver a total of 356 kits over five years for an estimated $168 million. Kit production will run to 2008 with kit installation scheduled to go to 2009. To date, 21 aircraft have been modified at Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; 356 total aircraft are to receive the upgrades, constituting the entire fleet, including active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard. Flight testing of the A-10C aircraft’s DSMS and digital map is taking place at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, and at Nellis Air Force Base, NV. Maryland Air National Guard 175th Wing at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Baltimore will be the first unit to convert to the modified aircraft.
As A-10 prime contractor and systems integrator under the direction of the Air Force A-10 program office (508th Aircraft Sustainment Squadron), Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego leads a team composed of BAE Systems, Johnson City, NY; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio TX; and Northrop Grumman, St. Augustine, FL.