SOFWERX – Air-Launched Loiter Munition Collaboration Event

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM Program Executive Office – Fixed Wing (PEO-FW), Stand-Off Precision Guided Munitions (SOPGM) Program, will host a Collaboration Event (CE) on 2 November 2023 to demonstrate and integrate Air-launched Loiter Munition (ALM) capabilities.

The SOPGM Program Office currently supports Special Operations Forces (SOF) aircrews with short range munitions that are employed directly to known targets, visually identified by the shooter aircraft before launch, and utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) or Semi-Active Laser (SAL) for terminal guidance. The dependencies for this employment method will place SOF Operators at an unacceptable risk during engagements in highly contested areas. New solutions are required to provide identification, tracking, and engagement of moving or mobile targets in a time compressed environment. SOF aircraft must be prepared to efficiently engage moving targets on the time scale it would face during any potential conflict with a well-resourced peer or near-peer adversary attempting an act of aggression. Traditional airborne moving target intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors currently employed by SOF will be inadequate for such a scenario due to deficiencies in survivability, speed, range, or sensor performance. Considering these capability gaps, USSOCOM is looking for ALMs to decrease the engagement time from minutes to seconds, improve targeting solutions, and increase the survivability of SOF.

Event Objectives
1) Explore potential ALM solutions with Industry, Academia, and Labs based upon an understanding of current SOCOM use cases and operational landscapes for future conflicts. Recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere have demonstrated mature ground-launched loiter munition capabilities. This, combined with the emergence of Air Launched Effects (ALE), should provide a shorter path to viable and mature ALMs.

2) Investigate the trade-space, to include:

a) Endurance, Range, Cruise and Max Airspeeds
b) Payload Capacity
c) Sensors/Seekers, Semi-Active Laser (SAL), Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Radio Frequency (RF), Automatic Target Recognition (ATR), Automatic Target Detection (ATD)
d) Command and Control (C2) Data-Link, Telemetry, Transponder, Flight Termination System
e) Counter Detection
f) Warhead and Fusing
g) Employment from various SOCOM aircraft (ex: AC-130J, MQ-9, MQ-1, MH-60, and others)
h) Aircraft Integration standards such as MIL-STD-1760/1553, Universal Armament Interface (UAI), Battle Management System (BMS), Common Launch Tube (CLT), and 14-inch lug racks.

3) Future proof the system for technology upgrades, with considerations for Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), Weapons Open Systems Architecture (WOSA), and Weapons Government Reference Architecture (GRA), as well as producibility concerns.

4) Identify Risks, Issues, and Opportunities.

Request to Attend NLT 12 October 2023 11:59 PM ET.


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