U.S. Air Force Colonel Duke Richardson leads the Program Executive Office for Fixed Wing (PEO-FW). The mission of PEO-FW is to deliver special operations-unique manned and unmanned fixed wing airpower capabilities to effectively enable special operations forces (SOF). To meet this mission, PEO-FW has partnered with the warfighter and various development and support organizations to synchronize acquisition activities to field an array of advanced technology sensors, defensive countermeasures, advanced avionics and mission training systems. This ensures that SOF fixed wing aircraft can accomplish their missions in expected threat environments and address supportability challenges of an aging legacy fleet.
U.S. Special Operations Command’s manned and unmanned fixed wing aircraft provide the backbone for SOF airborne mobility, aerial refueling support, airborne precision engagement and aerial surveillance capabilities. They provide critical infiltration and exfiltration capabilities for SOF into and out of hostile territory through weapon systems such as the MC-130H Combat Talon II and CV-22 Osprey aircraft. The AC-130H and AC-130U gunships provide critical precision engagement and close-air support. Realtime aerial surveillance of the battlefield is provided to meet the warfighters’ needs, from the individual soldier, sailor, airman and Marine to the task force commander. Mission systems programs, such as the Silent Knight Radar (SKR) and the Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) program, provide common approaches to capabilities needed across the entire fleet.
The low-density, high-demand nature of the SOF fixed wing fleet is a key driver in the acquisition approaches used to continue to improve and sustain the force. The high operational tempo of these aircraft requires innovative means to incorporate capability and sustainment improvements while ensuring adequate aircraft
availability. In addition, PEO-FW is executing a technology demonstration program to posture special operations fixed wing forces to evaluate future courses of action for ensuring effective operations well into the future.
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