The Launch Systems branch of the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Dahlgren division, sponsored Jointly by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has embarked on a technology-development effort that is expected to pave the way for fielding of new configurations of transportable missile launchers. The launchers could be installed on ships, on Marine Corps and Army land vehicles, or parachuted into combat zones for remote operations.
The effort, designated the joint warfighting counterfire system (JWCS), is being pursued as an element of DARPA's new Future Combat Systems initiative, a collaborative effort, mainly with the Army, to develop a highly integrated combat system for ground units. In early May, DARPA awarded 24-month concept-exploration contracts to industry teams led by Boeing, Raytheon, SAIC, and Lockheed Martin for development of fire control system design concepts. Nelson Mills, who will manage the system for Dahlgren, says that the lab will help develop an advanced, expeditionary missile launcher system for the Corps and the Army.