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US Air Force A-10 getting mission computer upgrade

Raytheon Intelligence & Space has been awarded a $46.2 million firm-fixed-price prototype project award to replace the A-10C Thunderbolt II mission computer with its Common Open Secure Mission Computer, COSMC.

The project-level agreement under the SOSSEC Consortium’s AFLCMC Consortium Initiative is aimed at modernizing processing for combat systems control to enhance the aircraft’s air dominance and improve sustainability.

The A-10 central interface control system program will replace the current mission computer and weapons stores management system, fully modernizing the operational flight program software environment and establishing COSMC as the new central computer for the A-10.

RI&S has partnered with non-traditional defense contractors including Apogee Worx, CymSTAR, KIHOMAC and Vertex because of their extensive knowledge and experience of the A-10.

“Our COSMC system is a significant technological leap forward for the A-10,” said Denis Donohue, president, Communications and Airspace Management Systems, RI&S. “This platform-agnostic system delivers the generational refresh required for the Warthog to remain highly capable into the future. We look forward to transforming and reinvigorating our customers’ platforms so that they’re equipped to face any mission, any challenge.”

COSMC is a platform-agnostic mission computer, built upon COTS, that can be used on any aircraft, fixed wing, rotary, unmanned to enable multi-mission management, weapon stores and sensor processing, among other things.

This award is for Phase 1 of a multi-phase prototype project followed by a potential award for production and installation on A-10C aircraft.

The US Air Force is investing in the A-10 even as it constantly attempts to retire the airframe. The service proposed the retirement of the entire A-10 fleet in 2015, 2016 and 2017, in addition to proposing partial drawdowns of the fleet in the 2021 and 2022 budget proposals. However, lawmakers have consistently disagreed with the service, stating that the air force had no adequate replacement solution for close-air support role.

According to reports from earlier this week, the House Armed Services Committee appears to be ready to allow the service a number of A-10s. Politico reported that a defense policy bill by the committee would permit the retirement of 21 A-10s stationed at Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base in Indiana. Following the Politico report, the Senate Armed Services Committee said its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act would back the service’s plan to divest the Indiana-based A-10s.