C4ISR

Air Force awards $40 million for electromagnetic research

The Air Force is looking to a non-profit research institute for the development of advanced antenna and electromagnetic technology to help it improve how it makes use of the spectrum, according to a recent contract award.

Riverside Research Institute, an independent, not-for-profit research organization, was awarded a $40 million cost-plus fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, according to a Defense Department release. Work will be performed in Dayton, Ohio, and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Looking for electromagnetic technologies to improve command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs, the Air Force Research Lab created the Research and Development in Antenna and Electromagnetic Technology program, or RaDiAEM. The program seeks a variety of basic, applied and advanced research.

Riverside Research Institute will work under the program to make technological advances in phenomenology, modeling and simulation, signal processing, system design, system development and test and evaluation of electromagnetic, or EM, systems, according to the original solicitation.

More specifically, the program will focus on a variety of EM technologies to improve the detection, tracking and fusion of data for hard-to-find targets. This includes improving radio frequency sensing, antennas, Laser Detection and Ranging technology, and electro-optical sensor technology. The institute will be responsible for sensor test and evaluation and the demonstration of distributed and multi-sensor architectures.

The program also will focus on research on theoretical and computational EM, sensor resource management, and advanced waveforms.

While many weapons systems are vulnerable to electronic warfare, unmanned aerial systems are especially dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum for guidance and navigation. Air Force officials have been developing techniques to conduct electromagnetic spectrum operations against enemy UAVs.

Meanwhile, other defense officials are more worried about the loss of available frequencies to the commercial sector, and are looking for ways to “regain some dominance in the electromagnetic spectrum.”

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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