BAE Systems is planning a large-scale demonstration later in 2019 with the Air Force to demonstrate its autonomy-enabled air mission planning capability developed in a DARPA development program.
Officials said Wednesday the company received a $3.1 million deal in September to move its Distributed, Interactive, Command-and-Control Tool (DIRECT) into the final stage of DARPA’s Resilient Synchronized Planning and Assessment for the Contested Environment (RSPACE) program to mature the technology ahead of potential transition options with the Air Force.
“We’re bringing the technology into an Air Force facility and we’re going to be doing a demonstration. We’re doing some maturation of the technology, as well as preparations where we’re getting into the facility and setting up the hardware for that demonstration,” Michael Schneider, a chief scientist in BAE Systems’ FAST Labs Autonomy, Controls and Estimation group, told Defense Daily. “We’re exploring potential transition options with the Air Force and looking at how the technology could potentially fit with their current portfolio for technologies that fit their air operations centers.”
BAE Systems received a $5 million deal in 2015 to develop the technology under the first two phases of the program and work with users to gain feedback.
“It’s a tool that allows operators to assess a plan before, during and after execution. They can load an air operations plan and then review it. The tool projects out what’s going to happen under that plan,” Schneider said.
Phase 3 of the program is a year long and will culminate in a large-scale demonstration in either August or September where users at an Air Force air operations center (AOC) will test the system with operational data.
“The idea is to ultimately try create a tool that makes the job at the AOCs easier,” Schneider said.
Schneider said the final stage of the program is also focused on maturing the technology, and added BAE Systems has worked to prove out the tool’s post-mission assessment capabilities.