The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s munitions directorate at Eglin AFB, Fla., is seeking ideas from industry on 12 research areas related to advanced air superiority weapons concepts, including intercommunicative weapons, novel damage mechanisms, lethal and novel destruct mechanisms, multiple targeting, and time critical delivery.
The dozen research areas include modeling, simulation, and analysis; innovative aircraft integration technologies; find-fix-target-track (F2D2) and data link technologies; engagement management systems; high-velocity fuzing; missile electronics; missile guidance and control; advanced warhead technologies and missile propulsion; control actuation systems; missile carriage and release; and missile test and evaluation technologies.
The F2D2 and data link technologies to detect threats to U.S. aircraft “should provide threat warning, threat characteristics, You Are The One (YATO) or You Are Not The One (YANTO) discrimination, highly accurate threat cueing, range and range rate, and other pertinent information required to analyze and coordinate a response to a threat,” per a March 21 AFRL Broad Agency Announcement. “Additional F2T2 technologies of interest include small data link terminals suitable for air-to-air missiles, conformal data link antennas, alternative waveforms, and applications of data links to support air-to-air missile swarming.”
Reports surfaced last year of Iran testing air-to-air missiles on the country’s Karrar jet-powered drones, a variant of the U.S. MQM-107 Streaker target drone.
The Pentagon’s directorate of defense research and engineering (DDR&E) has undertaken an effort to accelerate artificial intelligence for F2D2. Last summer, the directorate said it built and tested a Brilliant Effects Employment Shadow (BEES) developmental prototype for a long-range, high-performance, autonomous unmanned air system supporting strike and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions (Defense Daily, June 22, 2021).
DDR&E said that BEES tested a Tiger Shark drone for the F2D2 of mobile targets through synchronizing ISR and electronic warfare platforms.
The Maryland-based Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. (NASC) builds the U.S. Navy RQ-23A Tiger Shark drone, which has seen service over Iraq and Afghanistan.