The U.S. Air Force has instituted a broad competition on maturing Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), as the service has brought in 81 companies to compete for JADC2 contracts since May last year.

On July 8, the Air Force announced its third JADC2 tranche of 29 companies competing for up to $950 million in indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for JADC2, an effort to use artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing to build a cross-service digital architecture for multi-domain operations that are to rely on the fast provision of information from sensors to shooters.

The companies announced July 8 are Black Sage Technologies Inc., Clarity Innovations LLC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Frontier Technology Inc., Global Infotek Inc., Greystones Consulting Group LLCGovernment Research Specialists, Hughes Network Systems LLC, Hypergiant Galactic Systems Inc., Kymeta Corp., Mission Solutions LLC, Net Vision Consultants Inc., NXM Labs Inc., Oracle America, Inc. [ORCL], PARASANTI Inc., PLEXSYS Interface Products Inc., Polysentry Inc., Rackner Inc., Research Innovations Inc., Rolls-Royce North American Technologies Inc., SAAB Sensis Corp.; Scientific Systems Co. Inc., SLICEUP Inc., Software AG Government Solutions Inc., Spectral Sensor Solutions LLC, Systems & Technology Research LLC, UMBRA LAB Inc., XL Scientific LLC, and Yakabod Federal Solutions Inc.

Last year, one of the companies above, Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta, a developer of flat-panel satellite antenna and mobile connectivity services, announced that it had raised $85.2 million, including $78 million from Microsoft [MSFT] founder Bill Gates.

In May last year, the Air Force announced the first tranche of 28 JADC2 competitors, while the service announced the second tranche of 24 competitors, including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard [HPE]; Infinity Labs LLC and Sierra Nevada Corp. last November (Defense Daily, Nov. 4).

The JADC2 contracts are to allow the companies “to compete for future efforts associated with the maturation, demonstration and proliferation of capability across platforms and domains, leveraging open systems design, modern software and algorithm development in order to enable” JADC2, per the Air Force.

“These contracts provide for the development and operation of systems as a unified force across all domains (air, land, sea, space, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum) in an open architecture family of systems that enables capabilities via multiple integrated platforms,” the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has said in the Pentagon’s contract announcements on JADC2. “The locations of performance are to be determined at the contract direct order level and are expected to be complete by May 28, 2025.”

Last month, the Pentagon said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had approved the DoD JADC2 strategy on May 13 (Defense Daily, June 4).

Section 157 of the Fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act stipulated that the Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) was to validate JADC2 requirements by April. DoD did not respond to a July 9 email asking whether the JROC has done that.

Issues on the horizon for congressional oversight of JADC2 include whether to approve JADC2 activities without validated requirements or cost estimates, the role of AI in future command and control systems under JADC2, and potential force structure changes needed to meet JADC2 requirements.