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ALIAS Seeks to Provide Portable, Flexible Advanced Autopilot Capabilities

ALIAS envisions a tailorable, drop‐in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew. The program intends to leverage the considerable advances in aircraft automation systems over the past 50 years, as well as the advances made in remotely piloted aircraft automation, to help reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance and improve aircraft safety.
Military aircraft today have evolved over a period of decades to have ever more automated capabilities, improving mission success and safety. At the same time, these aircraft still present challenging and complex interfaces to operators, and despite demanding training regimens, operators can experience extreme workload during emergencies and other unexpected situations. Avionics and software upgrades can help, but can cost tens of millions of dollars per aircraft, which limits the rate of developing, testing and fielding new automation capabilities for those aircraft.    Article   
ALIAS envisions a tailorable, drop‐in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew. The program intends to leverage the considerable advances in aircraft automation systems over the past 50 years, as well as the advances made in remotely piloted aircraft automation, to help reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance and improve aircraft safety.
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DARPA Tactical Technology Office (TTO) Invites Innovative Risk-Takers to Attend 2014 Office-Wide Proposers’ Day

DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) plans to release a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) calling for executive summaries, white papers and proposals for advanced research, development and demonstration of innovative systems. To support the BAA and familiarize potential participants with TTO’s technical objectives, DARPA has scheduled a TTO Office-Wide Proposers’ Day on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, and Thursday, May 8, 2014. 

DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) invests in innovative platforms, weapons, integrated systems and critical systems components that often incorporate emerging advanced technologies, all designed to preserve and extend decisive advantages for the U.S. military. Constantly evolving technologies, shifting warfighter mission requirements and limited budgets, however, mean TTO must always seek new ways to leverage innovation while fulfilling its duties.
Article    Program Page 

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Remote Troops Closer to Having High-Speed Wireless Networks Mounted on UAVs

Mobile Hotspots 

Missions in remote, forward operating locations often suffer from a lack of connectivity to tactical operation centers and access to valuable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data. The assets needed for long-range, high-bandwidth communications capabilities are often unavailable to lower echelons due to theater-wide mission priorities. DARPA’s Mobile Hotspots program aims to help overcome this challenge by developing a reliable, on-demand capability for establishing long-range, high-capacity reachback that is organic to tactical units. The program is building and demonstrating a scalable, mobile millimeter-wave communications backhaul network mounted on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and providing a 1 Gb/s capacity. DARPA performers recently completed the first of three phases in which they developed and tested key technologies to be integrated into a complete system and flight tested in subsequent phases. Article   Program Page

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Phoenix Makes Strides in Orbital Robotics and Satellite Architecture Research

PHOENIX infographic 

The process of designing, developing, building and deploying satellites is long and expensive. Satellites today cannot follow the terrestrial paradigm of “assemble, repair, upgrade, reuse,” and must be designed to operate without any upgrades or repairs for their entire lifespan—a methodology that drives size, complexity and ultimately cost. These challenges apply especially to the increasing number of satellites sent every year into geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. Unlike objects in low Earth orbit (LEO), such as the Hubble Space Telescope, satellites in GEO are essentially unreachable with current technology.  Article  Program Page 

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Spectrum Challenge Final Event Helps Pave the Way for More Robust, Resilient and Reliable Radio Communications

Spectrum Challenge 

Reliable wireless communications today requires careful allocation of specific portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to individual radio networks. While pre-allocating spectrum is effective in benign environments, radios remain vulnerable to inadvertent interference from other emitters and intentional jamming by adversaries. News Release

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DARPA Launches Biological Technologies Office

BTO Office 

Technology, like biology, constantly evolves. It is DARPA’s mission to stay ahead of the shifting technology curve by making critical, early investments in areas that cut across fields of research and enable revolutionary new capabilities for U.S. national security. Now DARPA is poised to give unprecedented prominence to a field of research that can no longer be considered peripheral to technology’s evolving nature. Starting today, biology takes its place among the core sciences that represent the future of defense technology. News Release   Program Page 

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