DARPA funds dozens of new urban-warfare tools

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency late last week awarded 37 contracts for new urban-warfighting technologies.

The agency last June had solicited proposals for casualty-reduction technologies; intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance devices; beyond-line-of-sight weapons; urban command and control tools; and training and simulation systems.

The 37 awards, each worth from $130,000 to $2.7 million for six- to 12-month feasibility demonstrations, are intended to reduce casualties and collateral damage while improving effectiveness of smaller forces, DARPA said in a statement.

The awards went to:

  • AETC Inc. of San Diego for sound detection devices

  • Alphatech Inc. of Burlington, Mass., for 3-D situational perception devices

  • Analysis Group of Falls Church, Va., for automated urban decision support

  • Applied Research Associates Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., for aerial firefight sensors; optical navigation for operations not using the Global Positioning System; and detectors for concealed weapons and explosives

  • Aptima Inc. of Woburn, Mass., for a culture-based urban modeling environment

  • BAE Systems North America of Rockville, Md., for millimeter wave exposure to improve recognition; nonstop communications; an infrared situational awareness and threat warning system; and a rational observer system

  • BBN Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., for force multipliers and persistent target tracking by 3-D radar

  • BBNT Solutions LLC, also of Cambridge, for a cultural analysis and learning environment

  • DEKA R&D of Manchester, N.H., for a rapid vertical mobility concept

  • Draper Laboratory Inc., also of Cambridge, for radio frequency indoor geolocation and precision emplacement

  • General Atomics of San Diego for Raptor View high-resolution surveillance

  • Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., for an urban communications environment

  • ISX Corp. of Camarillo, Calif., for a culturally aware peacekeeping tool set

  • Lockheed Martin Corp. for force multiplication and stabilization analysis models

  • Metal Storm USA Ltd. of Arlington, Va., for urban weapons

  • NextGen Aeronautics Inc. of Torrance, Calif., for small gunships

  • Omnitech Robotics International of Englewood, Colo., for sensor emplacement methods

  • PPG Industries Inc. of Allison Park, Pa., for nanostructured light-weight armor

  • Raytheon Co. for active-protection and head-mounted alert systems

  • Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego for smart-dust sensors, RF predictive propagation models, focused situational awareness and renewed-conflict models

  • Sandia National Laboratories of Albuquerque, N.M., for air-dropped unmanned ground vehicles and multiplayer wargaming environments

  • Smart Information Flow Technologies LLC of Minneapolis for cross-cultural training simulations

  • SRI International of Menlo Park, Calif., for a wall-climbing robot

  • University of Texas at Austin for low-cost radar sensors for personnel detection and tracking

  • Wave Technologies of Chantilly, Va., for a rapid urban-warfare training environment.

DARPA this week also announced that its Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems AV-1 aircraft, built by Boeing Co., successfully obeyed ground-based pilots' commands via satellite. The first pilot, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., handed the UAV over to another in Seattle. The Seattle pilot executed four air maneuvers before returning control to Edwards.

Capt. Ralph Alderson, the J-UCAS program manager, said in a statement that the demonstration shows future UAVs could maintain 'a persistent, lethal presence anywhere, anytime' with operators located at air bases and carriers around the world.

DARPA said the aircraft's software could become one of the first candidates for the Defense Department's planned Common Operating System to enable interactive, worldwide operational control.


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