DARPA

October 11, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
DARPA’s Blackjack program wilDARPA’s Blackjack program will leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Concept graphic courtesy of DARPAl leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Credit: Concept graphic courtesy of DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeing initial success from its Blackjack program, according to Paul “Rusty” Thomas, program manager. The research agency is developing a subset of a constellation, 20 low Earth orbit (LEO) globe-to-globe satellites, to demonstrate a new way of building out space systems.

“We are looking at how we might do space architecture differently,” said Thomas. “We want to limit the integration time, so we can actually get to the point where a payload might not even know what bus it is going to go on, and you can actually think of the payload as the mission.”

September 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program is developing technology that improves the ability to control machines using only the brain—without surgical implants. Credit: Fer Gregory, Shutterstock

In four years, researchers funded by the U.S. military may develop a working prototype of a system that allows for a nonsurgical interface between the human brain and technology. Such a system could improve brain control of unmanned vehicles, robots, cybersecurity systems and mechanical prosthetics while also improving the interface between humans and artificial intelligence (AI) agents.

August 28, 2019
 

Packet Forensics LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia, was awarded a $10,000,000 modification (P00004) to previously awarded HR0011-18-C-0056 for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Harnessing Autonomy for Countering Cyberadversary Systems (HACCS) research project. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $21,200,000 from $11,200,000. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach, Virginia, with an expected completion date of August 2020. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $10,000,000 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

 

August 26, 2019
 

The University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, California, was awarded a $19,843,137 cost-no-fee contract for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency research project. Work will be performed in Marina del Rey, California; Arlington, Virginia; and Columbia, Maryland, with an expected completion date of August 2023. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $2,905,000 are being obligated at time of award. The contract was a competitive acquisition under a broad agency announcement and nine offers were received. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HR0011-19-C-0084).

August 23, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), briefs SIGNAL Magazine and other reporters on August 20 during DARPA's Subterranean Challenge at a coal mine research facility in Pittsburgh.

In a dark, wet and rocky research coal mine in western Pennsylvania, teams from around the globe put their robotic systems to the test in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s, or DARPA’s, latest contest. The agency designed the Subterranean Challenge, also known as the SubT Challenge, to spur the advancement of technologies that work well underground, including autonomous and other robotic systems, which could benefit first responders and the military, explained Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA, to the media in attendance at the event.

August 6, 2019
 

Raytheon Co., Goleta, California, was awarded a modification to exercise an option totaling $8,263,421 to previously awarded contract HR0011-19-C-0010 for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency research project. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract from $4,334,736 to $12,598,157. Work will be performed in Goleta, California; Waltham, Massachusetts; Irvine, California; Oxnard, California; and Joplin, Missouri, with an expected completion date of November 4, 2020. Fiscal year 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $6,723,915 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity

July 23, 2019
 

Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a $9,107,025 cost-no-fee contract for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency-based proposal titled "Diagnostic Epigenetics of Infectious agents and Chemical Toxicity." Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Tempe, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of July 21, 2021. Fiscal year 2018 and 2019 Defense Advanced Research Project Agency funds in the amount of $5,222,714 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911NF-19-C-0039).

July 12, 2019
 

Paradromics Inc.,* Austin, Texas, is being awarded a contract option in the amount of $8,275,758 from a previously awarded cost type of contract. Support includes development of a neural interface system capable of performing continuous, simultaneous full-duplex (read and write) interaction with at least one thousand neurons in regions of the human sensory cortex. The option builds on the designs and prototypes developed from the base award, and provides in vivo animal testing and human studies. The option has a one-year period of performance from July 12, 2019, through July 11, 2020. Work will be performed at the contractor's facilities in Austin, Texas.

July 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Some of DARPA’s research into microelectronics is creating automatic security mechanisms integrated into the design of microchips, which are smaller than a grain of sand.  Connect world/Shutterstock

The colossal reliance on semiconductor chips by the military and commercial industry reaches across weapons, machines and systems that perform key defense and national security functions. And while the Defense Department and the industry use secure chips, they are expensive and hard to design. To remedy that, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, is looking to automatically include defense mechanisms into the design of microchips. The agency is creating tools to manage the supply chain custody throughout the life cycle of a microchip and increase the availability and economics of secure microelectronics.

June 10, 2019
 

Systems & Technology Research, LLC*, Woburn, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $7,043,368 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00007) to previously awarded contract HR001118C0004 for a research project for undersea sensing systems. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $19,273,602 from $12,230,234. Work will be performed in Woburn, Massachusetts (8%); Arlington, Virginia (8%); Groton, Connecticut (81%), Middletown, Rhode Island (1%); and Seattle, Washington (2%) with an estimated completion date of March 2020. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $7,043,368 are being obligated at time of award.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s distributed planning software tool, known as RSPACE, offers some automation to Air Force planners developing air missions. Credit: BAE Systems

Air Force officers in charge of creating air tasking orders have long developed mission plans at air operations centers, known as AOCs, or centralized hubs in a specific command. The Air Force is looking at diversifying and decentralizing how and where those plans are created to add depth and resiliency to the process. This may be needed as designing air battle plans against potential peer threats will only grow in complexity in the future, experts say.

June 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Currently in development, the X-60A will serve the hypersonic flight test and suborbital research communities with an air-launched single-stage liquid booster.  Original image by Generational Orbit. Edited by Chris D’Elia.

Achieving and maintaining hypersonic flight—Mach 5 and above—remains a major challenge, but officials at U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory envision a day when hypersonic technologies are developed and deployed much more quickly and affordably than is currently possible.

The X-60A hypersonic flight test vehicle is central to that goal. The Generation Orbit system will be used to test technologies at hypersonic speeds. The idea is to increase the frequency of flight testing while lowering the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies in relevant flight conditions.

May 23, 2019
 

Galois Inc., Portland, Oregon, was awarded a $16,479,920 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a research project under the Safe Documents (SafeDocs) program. The SafeDocs program aims to develop novel verified programming methodologies for building high assurance parsers for extant electronic data formats, and novel methodologies for comprehending, simplifying, and reducing these formats to their safe, unambiguous, verification-friendly subsets (safe sub-setting). SafeDocs will address the ambiguity and complexity obstacles to the application of verified programming posed by extant electronic data formats. Work will be performed in Portland, Oregon, with an expected completion date of May 2023.

April 29, 2019
 

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory LLC, a not-for-profit University Affiliated Research Center, Laurel, Maryland, has been awarded a ceiling $100,000,000 modification (P00003) to previously awarded indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract HR0011-17-D-0001 for engineering, development and research capabilities. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $198,000,000 from $98,000,000. Work will primarily be performed in Laurel, Maryland, with an expected completion date of November 2021. IDIQ task orders can extend an additional six months until May 2022. No funds are being obligated at time of award.

April 18, 2019
 

Agile Defense Inc.,* Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a $33,095,787 modification (P00043) to previously awarded task order HR0011-15-F-0002 for unclassified information technology services. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the task order to $172,149,790 from $139,054,004. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an expected completion date of June 2020. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $20,741,665 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

 *Small Business

March 18, 2019
 

Agile Defense Inc.,* Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a $7,157,890 modification (P00042) to previously awarded task order HR0011-15-F-0002 for unclassified information technology services. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the task order to $139,054,004 from $131,896,114. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an expected completion date of June 2019. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $7,157,890 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity. *Small Business

March 8, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Artificial intelligence-enabled radio technology developed with DARPA funding, could help manage scarce spectrum resources. Credit: Photo illustration created with images by geralt/Pixabay

A U.S. military-funded artificial intelligence (AI) contest that wraps up later this year may result in radio devices capable of autonomously and collaboratively sharing radio frequency spectrum for the next generation of mobile devices.

Fifth-generation (5G) cellular services are widely expected to hail a new era of greater speed, reduced latency and the ability to connect many more devices—think smart cities and the Internet of Things—and move vastly more data. The wireless revolution is fueling a voracious global demand for access to the radio frequency spectrum, but managing that increasing demand in a way that avoids interference is a challenge.

March 11, 2019
 

Galois Inc., Portland, Oregon, was awarded a $9,925,508 modification to previously awarded contract HR0011-18-C-0013 for the System Security Integrated Through Hardware and firmware (SSITH) program. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $16,553,298 from $6,627,790. Work will be performed in Portland, Oregon (88 percent); Menlo Park, California (7 percent); Framingham, Massachusetts (4 percent); and San Francisco, California (1 percent), with an expected completion date of March 2020. Fiscal year 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,949,500 are being obligated at time of award.

March 7, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Disease caused by the Ebola virus is severe and often-fatal. Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency envision artificial intelligence systems that will accelerate the rate of research in chemistry, which could offer a wide range of benefits including the rapid discovery of cures for a range of diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention photo by microbiologist Frederick A. Murphy, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Special Pathogens Branch

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the midst of reviewing proposals for the Make-It program, which aims to automate the discovery and synthesis of small molecules, offering a range of potential benefits, including dramatically accelerating the rate at which scientists cure diseases.

March 4, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Advanced Research Agency’s Artificial Intelligence Colloquium being held this week in Alexandria, Virginia, will include a panel discussion on the ethics issues surrounding the use of artificial intelligence. Credit: Shutterstock

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials will include a panel discussion on ethics and legal issues at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Colloquium being held March 6-7 in Alexandria, Virginia.

“We’re looking at the ethical, legal and social implications of our technologies, particularly as they become powerful and democratized in a way,” reveals John Everett, deputy director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office.

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