DARPA

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.

March 5, 2019
 

DARPA awarded Raytheon Company, in Tucson, Arizona, a $63.3 million contract to help continue the advancement of the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program, which includes a design review, the company noted. The effort is a joint DARPA and U.S. Air Force program.

"This latest contract adds to Raytheon's growing number of hypersonic weapons programs," said Thomas Bussing, vice president, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems. "Raytheon is working closely with our customers to quickly field these advanced weapon systems and provide our nation's military with the tools they need to stay ahead of the escalating threat."

March 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Many tasks that are simple for humans to learn are much more complicated for robots. Illustration from Shutterstock images

Amidst a great deal of hype, hope and even apprehension regarding artificial intelligence (AI), experts at the U.S. Defense Department’s premier research and development organization intend to help smart machines reach their full potential.

March 1, 2019
By Henry S. Kenyon
A U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) proof-of-concept project is using blockchain technology to manage the life cycle for new and spare parts supporting the service’s F-18 fighter jets.  Photo courtesy of Boeing

A prototype U.S. Navy program is turning to blockchain technology to help track aviation parts throughout their life cycles. The approach automates what is now a mostly manual process and provides aircraft maintenance personnel with accurate, detailed information about each part’s origins and order/reorder status.

February 26, 2019
By George I. Seffers
DARPA looks to the future of artificial intelligence with its Artificial Intelligence Colloquium to be held next week. Credit: kalhh/Pixabay

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years, but the technology still has hurdles to overcome if machines are to become true partners and collaborators with humans. To help push the systems to that next level, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hosting a two-day conference aimed at spurring the next wave of AI advances.

February 15, 2019
 

System High Corp., Chantilly, Virginia, has been awarded a $24,200,840 modification (P00019) to previously awarded task order HR0011-17-F-0001 for program security services. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the task order to $69,223,019 from $45,022,179. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an expected completion date of March 2020. Fiscal year 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $21,769,143 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity

January 24, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
In late February, DARPA is planning to launch a new type of antenna that could enable missions that usually require large satellites, the agency reports. Credit: DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA’s) development of a new type of membrane reflect-array antenna as part of its Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) program is ready to be space qualified, the agency reports, and anticipates that R3D2 will be launched in late February.

The agency stated that the antenna could enable multiple missions that usually depend on large satellites. R3D2 was produced with a “tissue-thin Kapton membrane” or a polyamide film, which allows the antenna to compact during launch and then deploy to a full size of 2.25 meters in diameter once it reaches low-Earth orbit, according to DARPA.

December 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
A smart skin technology for robots or prosthetics developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is undergoing testing with three companies and could soon be ready for fielding.  Courtesy University of Texas at Arlington

A research team at the University of Texas at Arlington may one day cover robots and prosthetic devices with nanotechnology skin to provide them with a sense of touch far superior to humans.

A sense of touch could allow for greater precision and control. A robot needs to know, for example, how much pressure to apply when picking up an elderly patient from a bed, an airplane engine from a factory floor, or a glass of champagne from a tabletop.

December 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Atoms are the building blocks for molecules. Scientists theorize that someday robots made of atoms may build a wide range of products at the molecular level.  Anusom Nakdee/Shutterstock

In the decades to come, the U.S. military may manufacture combat parts and supplies on the battlefield using robots made of molecules all working together as part of a molecular factory. The nanoscale factories could revolutionize military logistics by eliminating the need to transport or store parts and supplies for every possible contingency. The same technology may prove useful for tying together strands of molecules for superstrong, lightweight armor.

November 7, 2018
 

HRL Laboratories LLC, Malibu, California, was awarded a $9,155,987 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) millimeter-wave GaN maturation project. Work will be performed in Malibu, California (97 percent); and Huntington Beach, California (3 percent), with an expected completion date of April 2020. Fiscal year 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,208,000 are being obligated at time of award. This contract was a competitive acquisition off the Microsystems Technology Office office-wide broad agency announcement HR001116S0001, with 138 offers received.

November 6, 2018
 

Raytheon Co., El Segundo, California, has been awarded an $11,532,469, competitive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research and development of Millimeter-Wave Digital Arrays (MIDAS) Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity program. The contractor will address the MIDAS program goals through innovations in digital tile architecture and integrated, scalable apertures with groundbreaking transmit and receive components. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California, and is expected to be completed by November 4, 2020. Fiscal year 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $2,928,098 are being obligated at the time of award.

October 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
DARPA officials envision a future battlefield made up of a collection of smaller systems in all warfighting domains communicating with one another and tailored to each mission.

The director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Steven Walker, pictures the future battlefield as a mosaic of lower-cost, less complex systems linked together in a vast number of ways to create desired, interwoven effects tailored to any scenario. The agency, known as DARPA, is standing up a new program office and investing in an array of technologies, from artificial intelligence to robotics to systems for hypersonic flight and space, to make that picture a reality.

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