As the US Air Force wraps up its OA-X light attack demonstration this week, US Special Operations Command released its own solicitation for a separate special operations light attack aircraft.
Late last month, the USAF unveiled plans to pursue an open-ended technology hunt called light attack support for special operations (LASSO).
On 11 August, the service released the first LASSO solicitation detailing technologies of interest, including next-generation cockpit cueing systems, data-linked munitions and Stand-Off Precision Guided Munitions. The broad agency announcement emphasizes the effort is separate from the USAF’s ongoing OA-X experiment and any other light attack projects.
“This effort should not conflict with or be confused with any other light attack aircraft program or effort,” the BAA states.
The service wants a cockpit cueing system able to designate time-sensitive targets and provide target data in real time through video and imagery. In addition to employing stand-off precision guided munitions, the aircraft should integrate encrypted data link systems into existing SOPGM, the BAA states.
The LASSO solicitation also calls for improved sensor capabilities, such as a pod-mounted sensor with the ability to track moving targets and beyond line of sight capability. The 20- or 15-inch aperture system should also be able to operate through fog, smoke, clouds, precipitation and dust. Ideally, USSOCOM would fuse a suite of sensors onboard the platform, providing nearly real-time multi-INT situational awareness.