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US Army experiments the use of ALE Air Launched Effect for observation of battlefield

During Project Convergence 21, the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross-Functional Team of the U.S. Army experimented with using ALEs (Air Launched Effects) to help Soldiers see the battlefield and extend their reach. Using Soldiers in the field allowed the FVL CFT to get valuable Soldier feedback on an emerging capability.
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U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 82nd Airborne Division, prepare to launch an Air Launched Effect (ALE) on Oct. 14, 2021, during Project Convergence 21 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. (Picture source U.S. Army)

For the test, the team demonstrated a launch of an ALE (Air Launched Effect) configuration intended for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The ALE air vehicle was ground launched from the canister, spread its wings, and accomplished stable flight. All test objectives were achieved, including low-altitude launch, wing and flight surface deployment, and stable air vehicle flight control.

Project Convergence is the United States Army's campaign of learning designed to aggressively advance and integrate our Army's contributions, based on a continuous structured series of demonstrations and experiments throughout the year. It ensures that the Army is part of the joint fight and can rapidly and continuously integrate or converge effects across all domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace; to overmatch our adversaries in competition and conflict. Project Convergence ensures the Army has the right people with the right systems, properly enabled in the right places to support the joint fight.

The Air Launched Effects (ALE) are a Family of Systems (FoS) consisting of an air vehicle, payload(s), mission system applications, and associated support equipment designed to autonomously or semi-autonomously deliver effects as a single agent or as a member of a team.

ALE is a crucial piece of the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft Ecosystem advanced team concept synergistically enhancing survivability, threat identification, targeting, and lethality of Army aviation brigades and ground force commanders’ assets.

The ALE FoS extends the tactical and operational reach and lethality of manned assets, allowing them to remain outside of the range of enemy sensors and weapon systems while delivering kinetic and non-kinetic, lethal and non-lethal mission effects against multiple threats, as well as, providing battle damage assessment data. They will provide scalable effects to detect, locate, disrupt, decoy, and/or deliver lethal effects against threats.

As relatively low-cost systems, they are attritable or optionally recoverable. Using a Modular Open Systems Approach provides modularity and rapid integration of new technologies.

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