Air Force turns to Kaiju for advanced anti-aircraft countermeasures

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In January, the Air Force will launch Project Kaiju, a giant new effort to secure the future of U.S. air domination with plans for nine sub-projects and tasks, all named after famous strange beasts.

As the Air Force grapples with peer and close-to-peer adversaries obtaining more advanced detection and anti-aircraft technologies, the service wants to use cognitive electronic warfare, artificial intelligence, and work through the integration of advanced systems “to generate and / or maintain a competitive advantage due to the volume of data, the speed of activity and the complexity of threat capabilities”, according to a contractual action notice published Thursday on SAM.gov.

The advisory – which announces an upcoming $ 150 million ad contract with a general agency slated to fall in January – notes that the U.S. military has exercised air dominance for many years.

However, “the opponents have closed the gap,” the documents say. “American planes are increasingly required to operate in hostile environments strongly defended by integrated air defense systems”, or IADS.

These capabilities are only growing, with Air Force officials expecting adversaries to begin deploying “multi-spectrum technology” designed to shoot down US planes and drones.

“That is to say that American planes will have to counter IADS equipped with missiles guided by sensors that operate with different levels of coordination between the [electro-optic/infrared] and [radio frequency] detection, navigation and / or monitoring regimes ”, indicates the opinion.

The Air Force countermeasures for many of these defense methods have been “developed for a single spectrum threat” and are not calibrated to address them all at the same time.

It is also increasingly becoming a problem for high-value airborne assets, or HVAA, which tend to fly high enough to stay out of the battlefield while supporting troops on the ground.

“As adversaries understand the importance of the HVAA to mission success, as well as their vulnerabilities, the HVAA may become a likely target for longer-term emerging advanced threats,” the advisory said.

To move forward and stay ahead, the Air Force seeks to develop a set of advanced applications and algorithms, and then tie them together into a monstrous interconnected system.

“The cognitive electronic warfare ecosystem encompasses all AI / ML used by systems and processes to enable different levels of autonomy in different electronic warfare missions, with [Air Force Research Lab] support combatant community missions and operations, including rapid reprogramming in the field for closed-loop self-protection jamming in combat, ”officials said in the advisory. “In the lab or in a squadron, AI / ML can help with data analysis or the generation of mission data to increase the volume of data processed and confidence in the data to be used in an operational manner. This will update the mission data on the next outing while generating reports for further analysis. “

The contract action notice includes a brief description of the main tasks, each associated with a different giant monster.

Officials have reserved the King of the Monsters for the King of Tasks: program management.

Under the Godzilla task, the contractors will manage the entire scope of the project, including schedule, cost and “risk for the entire contract and for each research project and development activity”.

Although program management is still an important task, it is even more critical for the Kaiju project, as a central mission of the contract will be to integrate all the different tools under development.

“No R&D conducted under this program will be carried out in isolation, but rather taking full account of how new technologies can progress towards full integration with large, complex systems ready to move into combatant support.” , indicates the document.

The other eight projects named by Kaiju will focus on specific technologies and battlefield outcomes:

GAME

Big Data for Cognitive Electronic Warfare Research: Conduct a study that examines which key tools developed by the community should be integrated into a common and modular framework to generate “Big Data”.

KING GHIDORA

Software Defined Radio Search: The SDR code library requires a thorough investigation of the target system hardware in order to understand how it works in order to create the best possible SDR emulation of the target system. Acquisition of target systems, development of data links to interface with SDRs and other equipment with command and control systems, disassembly (including destructive testing) of target systems, laboratory, field tests and in-flight, and purchase of candidate SDR hardware / software.

MECHA RODAN

Defeat the Multi-Spectrum Threat: Refine existing multispectral environments to add advanced functionality, including model accuracy, and cover electronic assistance and electronic attack.

KUMONGA

RAPTURE laboratory: Design, manufacture, test and document special purpose equipment to meet research and development testing requirements for the size, weight and power (SWAP) constrained program requirements. Perform lab and field tests of custom designed hardware, including soldering surface mount printed circuit boards, modifying printed circuit boards, custom cable assembly, computer aided design of custom enclosures, and assembly of the final product.

MOTHRA

Electronic attack demo: Build a reconfigurable EA processing framework for EA capability assessment – transmitter tracking, technique selection, technique generation.

KING KONG

Development of algorithms in real time: Use the government-provided hardware architecture description to determine the viability of government-provided machine learning algorithms for real-time applications.

BARAGON

Radio Frequency Electronic Warfare Demonstrator (REWD) for reprogramming mission data Next Output: Develop, refine and evaluate advanced algorithmic concepts of electronic warfare to detect, sort, identify, resolve ambiguity and track complex emitters in complex environments. This includes the use of algorithms developed in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Adaptive Radar Countermeasures, the AFRL’s Critical Electronic Support Experiment, and the Office of Naval Research’s Reactive Electronic Attack Measures. . This effort will also include the integration of multi-source processing chains, closed-loop software component control and tuning, component performance comparison, analysis and visualization products to facilitate team and confidence. man / machine.

COLOSSUS

Defeat the Advanced Threat: Develop new and cognitive electronic warfare capabilities to generate multi-layered EA techniques resulting in long-range destruction networks. Take advantage of distributed sensing, machine learning and AI and align with advanced combat management system concepts for autonomous vehicles to enable joint command and control of all areas, this which results in coordinated joint fire and a convergence of electronic warfare effects.

Air Force officials expect to award two prizes: a $ 135 million “main contract” covering all nine research areas and a smaller $ 15 million “niche contract” that will focus on Mothra, King Kong, Baragon and Colossus projects.

The final contract will run for five years, until fiscal 2026.

Contracts officials will be holding an industry day on a date to be determined, likely at the end of October.


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