The Program Executive Office, Aviation demonstrated several new and emerging technologies at the Experimentation Demonstration Gateway Event 2021 (EDGE 21) at Dugway Proving Ground, UT.
EDGE 21 took place from May 3-14. It was based on an Indo-Pacific scenario with a joint-force, island-hopping campaign against a notional foe with significant Anti Access/Area Denial capabilities. The exercise was a key risk reduction event that builds on exercise Project Convergence 2020 and helps prepare for Project Convergence 2021.
Five of Army Futures Command’s Cross Functional Teams participated in the event with PEO Aviation supporting the Future Vertical Lift CFT. The other participating CFTs were the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing CFT, the Network CFT, the Synthetic Training Environment CFT and the Soldier Lethality CFT.
One of the new technologies that PEO Aviation demonstrated was the PEO Aviation, Fixed Wing Project Office’s (FWPO) Airborne Reconnaissance Targeting & Exploitation Multi-Mission Intelligence System (ARTEMIS) aircraft. It provides high-altitude sensing capabilities against near peer adversaries and helps bridge intelligence gaps in the Multi-Domain Operations mission.
At EDGE 21, ARTEMIS successfully flew six scenario based targeting and collection flights. During one flight, ARTEMIS identified targets and transmitted real-time data from the aircraft to the intelligence processing, exploitation and dissemination center in Fort Gordon, GA. The data was then used to task other assets to attack and destroy the targets.
The FWPO was also responsible for the successful launch of an Air Launched Effect from a C-12. The fixed wing aircraft successfully deployed a live ALE from an inboard launcher at more than 25,000 feet as part of the FVL demonstration. After the safe launch, the ALE vehicle performed its mission and successfully landed under the control of a nearby ground station.
In support of the event, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office, Rapid Integration and Acceptance Center hosted many of the EDGE-21 participants at Dugway. Throughout event planning and execution, the RIAC provided administrative and facility support, test planning and control, and range and airspace coordination including Ground Based Sense and Avoid radar support.
EDGE 21 was an important opportunity for the participating PEO Aviation project offices to test their programs in a realistic environment. The lessons learned will be used to improve program effectiveness and to set the conditions for participation in Project Convergence 2021.