General Dynamics (GD) has successfully conducted an operational test of the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) common aviation command and control system (CAC2S).

The test, which was conducted during a Marine Corps weapons and tactics instructor course in Yuma, Arizona, US, demonstrated how the GD-built CAC2S provides an integrated operational picture for the USMC commanders.

General Dynamics Mission Systems ground systems vice-president and general manager Bill Weiss said: “The weapons and tactics instructor course represents a live-fly operational environment that is as close to actual combat as it gets.

"The weapons and tactics instructor course represents a live-fly operational environment that is as close to actual combat as it gets."

“Commanders now have the ability to see an integrated air-ground picture in their task-organised command and control centres, adapting to operational situations as they develop.”

Used by the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), CAC2S is designed to visually combine sensor inputs from expeditionary radars; weapon systems; unmanned aerial vehicles; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance resources.

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The inputs are fused into a high-resolution, real-time display to form a common operational picture for the marines, thereby increasing situational awareness and enabling faster decision-making.

Retired Marine Corps colonel and former Marine Air Control Group commander Larry Grove said: "CAC2S represents a leap forward in the evolution of the modern Marine Air Command and Control System.

"It can be configured to support aviation operations of an entire Marine Aircraft Wing consisting of several hundred aircraft or right-sized to support integrated air and missile defence operations or manage fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters directing air support and assault operations."

Developed to consolidate the existing functionality of the Marine Air Command and Control Systems (MACCS) into one system, CAC2S can be scaled from small, expeditionary operations to large-scale operations conducted by air, sea or on land.

The system's open architecture approach allows easy implementation of technology insertion and capability enhancements, which can be used by the marines to plan and respond to operational changes in real-time.

GD has been collaborating with the USMC since 2012 to improve and incorporate new capabilities into the CAC2S based on the feedback from marines.

Image: CAC2S integrates information from sensors and radars. Photo: courtesy of US Marine Corps.