REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 26, 2021) – From demonstrating its Air Launched Effects and Advanced Teaming science and technology program to a multi-round live fire exhibition of an Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center remains the Army’s central point for aviation and missile research, development and engineering technology.
DEVCOM AvMC facilitates core science and technology competencies through its Technology Development Directorate, utilizing basic and applied research, advanced technology development and technology maturation initiatives. It is TDD’s mission that Warfighters be able to accomplish their objectives with safety, efficiency and lethality.
“It is rewarding to know that what you do matters – and that it is going to make a difference to give our Soldiers the best advantage,” said Christi Dolbeer, acting TDD director.
AvMC provides some measure of support to all six of the Army’s modernization priorities and leads the efforts for Future Vertical Lift and Air and Missile Defense, while playing a critical role in Long-Range Precision Fires. TDD has a key role in each of those initiatives, which advance new capabilities for the Army and its joint, interagency and international partners.
TDD is the AvMC science and technology lead for the FVL modernization priority. In this role, TDD executes critical technology discovery and development programs to enable the Future Vertical Lift ecosystem in coordination with key Army Future Command stakeholders at the Futures & Concepts Center and the FVL Cross-Functional Team, along with acquisition partners such as PEO Aviation.
“TDD is leading across aerospace technologies including basic research and experimentation, modeling and simulation, and systems integration,” Dolbeer said. “The top-notch TDD team of military, civilian and contract support personnel consistently deliver results that improve our Soldiers’ capabilities.”
TDD, in partnership with DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center, conducted a proof of concept demonstration for the Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher at Fort Sill in June. One of the key successes leading up to and during the execution of the demonstration was the involvement of Soldiers at every step. The lessons learned from this early user involvement were critical to understanding the technology gaps and requirements, which will focus the upcoming S&T program for the objective system.
AML will provide the Army with a launcher that will significantly increase firepower without increasing the force structure – a system that can launch current Long Range Fires Systems and the new Precision Strike Missile. In addition, AML will be designed to accommodate future missiles of greater range.
“I am extremely proud of the partnership of the AvMC, GVSC and LRPF CFT teams along with supporting contractors which executed this quick-turn demonstration that has provided valuable data for the path forward for AML,” said Susan Dunbar, acting principal deputy for technology development. “This system will be a game changer for the Army.”
TDD was a critical player at Project Convergence 20 and will be again at PC21, the Army’s campaign of learning to aggressively pursue an artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled battlefield management system.
“For Project Convergence 21, AvMC will showcase several TDD-led technologies developed as part of our Advanced Teaming and Air Launched Effects programs,” Dunbar said. “These autonomous unmanned teams will be used to extend the lethal reach of aviation assets against integrated air defense systems. By combining and integrating individual technical elements for propulsion, communication, payloads and behaviors, the total system reduces workload for Soldiers in the air and on the ground so that they can neutralize threats faster -- even in anti-access, area-denial environments. TDD will continue its technology development programs and showcase more aviation and missile capabilities at future Project Convergence events.”
TDD was created when the center reorganized in 2020, merging the Aviation Development Directorate and Weapons Development and Integration Directorate. Most capabilities fielded to aviation and missile forces over the last 70 years have been developed or heavily influenced by TDD and its predecessors. Its workforce is a diverse group encompassing engineers from all disciplines.
Even with its pedigree in Army history and its pivotal place in future technology, TDD is also an active player in the readiness of present-day forces. In concert with the other AvMC directorates, it supports the Airworthiness Release process for aviation and missile systems, the Aviation & Missile Corrosion Prevention and Control Program, and the Missile Stockpile Reliability Program.
For TDD personnel, who work together with the military members who will wield their technology, it is not just technology on a screen, it is Soldier-centered design - and it is personal.
“How does it matter to the Warfighter? How does it make them safer, their job easier, or what advantage does it give them? It is not about creating something shiny and new,” Dolbeer said. “The goal is to give the Soldier the best weapons that we can.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.