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AFRL scientists, engineers to highlight technology advancements at DOD Lab Day – Air Force Research Laboratory

as reported by AFRL


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Scientists and engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory will highlight technology advancements in 13 different research areas in various stages of maturity during the third biennial Department of Defense Lab Day April 25, 2019, in the Pentagon center courtyard.

DOD Lab Day is a showcase event to highlight the innovative work performed by scientists and engineers within the Defense Laboratory Enterprise, which includes defense laboratories, warfare centers, and engineering centers across the world. The event presents an opportunity for the labs to display the groundbreaking work developed throughout the DOD to benefit the Warfighter.

The technology displays AFRL will have on display at the event include:

ARMR: The Affordable Responsive Modular Rocket (ARMR) engine architecture presents a paradigm shift in new liquid engine development. This architecture employs many small-scale modular components to replace traditional large-scale engine components, allowing faster development, reducing testing costs, and minimizing risk. By using Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology, small complex components can be rapidly fabricated and tested in low-cost test facilities to provide statistical reliability.

AgilePod®: The AgilePod® project is a family of U.S. Air Force-owned, non-proprietary pods designed to enable the rapid transition of advanced sensors and communications payloads to the warfighter. AgilePod®s have open-floor plans of differing sizes and use Open Adaptable Architecture to facilitate rapid sensor reconfiguration and adapt to varying mission requirements. Crews on the ground can quickly swap out equipment to support the mission at hand rather than having to prepare an entirely different aircraft or even install a completely different pod, reducing the total number of aircraft a unit might need to be able to perform different mission sets.

Air Force Cognitive Engine (Artificial Intelligence): AFRL’s Autonomy Capability Team 3 (ACT 3) is operationalizing AI at scale through the development and application of an AI software platform, the Air Force Cognitive Engine (ACE). The ACE platform’s architecture lowers the barriers to entry for AI application and provides capabilities that span a range of AI problem classes for end-user applications. In application, the ACE platform connects educated end-users and developers, algorithms implemented in software, mission data, and computational hardware in an AI solution co-creation process.

Digital Biobank and Rapid ID of Pathogens in Austere Environments: Digital Biobank will develop and deploy a precision medicine research technology platform that will host genomic data and interface with other health data repositories for integrative analysis. The platform brings together cloud, big data, population health and advanced analytics. Rapid ID of Pathogens in Austere Environments: The ability to detect pathogens in places where there are no cold-chain capabilities or electricity has been a pressing problem for deployed warfighters. Rapid ID of Pathogens uses the human body as a heating source to keep a sample at the ideal reaction temperature. The results are read out like a pregnancy test, two lines means positive for pathogens and one line means negative.

ESPA Augmented Geosynchronous Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE):EAGLE is a spacecraft flight experiment that aims to advance space access, improve spacecraft resiliency and increase space situational awareness. This AFRL technology increases the number of satellites that can be put into space on a single launch. EAGLE expands on ESPA’s capability with the addition of essential services such as power, communications, propulsion, positioning and navigation to the ESPA, providing the opportunity to share the cost of launch as well as provide for payload experiments unable to afford the full cost of a host space vehicle.

High Power Microwaves (HPM): High power microwave (HPM) systems area – a class of Directed Energy Weapons. In (HPM) systems, a very short, extremely high power burst of energy is transmitted to create one of a wide variety of effects on a target, often focused on its electronics. Exploiting directed energy technology allows us to fundamentally alter operational concepts and support requirements, especially as we face operating in increasingly contested environments.

Hypersonic Flight Research: Hypersonic flight research at AFRL provides the Air Force with an affordable and responsive hypersonic weapons system. The ability to conduct research at relevant flight conditions helps the Air Force reduce risk of failure prior to integrating into prototype and operational hypersonic systems. AFRL recently achieved a major milestone by completing the Critical Design Review of the X-60A liquid rocket and will now move to the fabrication phase.

Networked Weapons: A suite of new technologies will give new generation weapons the ability to penetrate, operate and prosecute targets in complex, area-denied environments. Low-cost subsystems will allow weapons to deploy in mass, with these groups of weapons networked to share information and dynamically react to observed changes in the environment. As these new technologies are proven effective, they will transition into new and current systems, giving the warfighter new ways to adapt and operate in complex environments.

Next Gen. Software Defined Radio SDRF++: The Department of Defense uses many different methods and technologies to communicate, of which most are not compatible out-of-the-box.  An integration process can take months or years to provide for cross-compatibility. The Next Generation Software Definite Radio SDRF++ imagines a change in the communications landscape, using an agile software development process to eventually enable all warfighters and machines to communicate with each other.

Quantum Information Science: Taking advantage of quantum mechanical properties introduces game changing advances for the areas of timing, sensing, communication, networking, and computing. AFRL is pioneering research and development to build a quantum network that can be used in a future operational environment. Recent advances in QIS show that future applications of quantum mechanics will lead to disruptive advances in warfighter capabilities, and AFRL is working to interface trapped-ion memories with integrated-circuit based photonic interconnects.

Secure LVC Advanced Technology Demonstration (SLATE): This Advanced Technology Demonstration was established in March 2015 as a 40-month effort with the specific direction to evaluate critical enabling technologies required to field a live, virtual, and constructive (LVC)- capable training system architecture and structure. When fielded, LVC is seen by many as potentially cost effective, realistic and secure approach to satisfying major documented training gaps for air, land, space, multiservice, and multi-national users. The goal of the SLATE ATD is to demonstrate, evaluate, analyze and report the current technology readiness levels of these ‘LVC critical enabling technologies,’ so that the USAF requirements and acquisition communities will be informed as LVC capabilities are processed for fielding to the warfighter.

Terahertz Thickness Measurement Capability: The terahertz coating thickness system provides unprecedented quality assurance for applying aircraft coatings. Terahertz technology provides real-time, in-process control for highly accurate and repeatable thickness measurement for robotically sprayed aircraft and spacecraft paint and primer materials. This capability improves mission confidence for tight tolerance coating thickness required for optimal performance with no need for costly and disruptive rework.

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