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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Accelerator for Innovative Minds (AIM) Genomic Non-Specific Operational Matchmaking Enabled Systems (GNOMES)

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

SOFWERX, in collaboration with the USSOCOM, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Accelerator for Innovative Minds (AIM) Genomic Non-Specific Operational Matchmaking Enabled Systems (GNOMES) Team, will host an Assessment Event (AE) 09-10 July 2024 to provide awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment.

AIM is a collaborative initiative led by DoD in the CWMD and CBRNE space. The goal of AIM is to demonstrate an enduring Hybrid Accelerator model in coordination with Industry, non-traditional partners, and SMEs to develop technology, build networks/relationships, and develop processes targeting specific Warfighter problem spaces as identified by AIM government collaborators. AIM requests information from Industry, Academia, Laboratories, and non-traditional partners on approaches, products, and/or services to support CWMD technology requirements. Once these are reviewed, the collaborative DoD group intends to align transition pathways across the full technology maturation spectrum.

The Chemical and Biological Defense Program’s vision through AIM is to identify capabilities which provide insight of chemical and biological (CB) contested environments. The objective is to develop a system with maximum utility for the warfighter to overcome current limiting factors in providing awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment.

Submit NLT 09 June 2024 11:59 PM ET.

Details here.

MATBOCK Monday: It’s Alive!

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

In March of 2022, MATBOCK secured a contract to develop and deliver this revolutionary Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or “JLTV HEV”. The JLTV HEV not only elevates our military’s silent watch capability but produces massive amounts of power on the battlefield. Above, you will find a video of it driving out of the garage for the first time. Please stay connected with us for future updates and releases as we make monumental paradigm shifts in this technology space.

Learn more about our R&D Programs here: www.matbock.com/pages/hybrid-electric-vehicle-programs

R&D Project Award from Five-Eyes Government for DroneShield

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

DroneShield has been awarded an approximately $900k R&D contract from a Five-Eyes Government. The contract is notable in that it specifically aims to leverage the potential of the DroneSentry-X Mk2 and aims to provide an initial set of software tools to enhance end-user capabilities in the Counter-UAS Electronic Attack domain.


Anechoic chamber of the type to be installed in the DroneShield Sydney facility in mid 2024

This contract aligns closely with DroneShield’s current technology roadmap. Software controlled multi-channel wide band disruption allows for not only optimised channel management, frequency management, power usage and optimisation but also the addition of custom waveforms targeted at various threats.

Advancements in drone protocols designed to move away from RF interference as well as work in high noise, high clutter environments means that traditional methods of disruption may become less effective over time. With a software approach to disruption the ability to adapt the disruption to stay one step ahead of the technology has become paramount of successful disruption systems.

Angus Bean, DroneShield CTO, commented: “DroneShield’s radio frequency jamming capability has been recognised globally as highly effective in defeating nefarious drones. This new contract highlights that the DroneSentry-X Mk2 is a step-function in smart-jamming capabilities. We are looking forward to delivering on the capabilities the Defense users are looking for.”

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield CEO, added: “DroneShield products are considered to be market leading by many governments around the world. We pride ourselves on setting the global benchmark. This new contract represents the start of an entirely new generation of disruption capabilities.”

AFRL’s XQ-67A Makes 1st Successful Flight

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) —  

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate successfully flew the XQ-67A, an Off-Board Sensing Station, uncrewed air vehicle Feb. 28, at the General Atomics Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, California.

The XQ-67A is the first of a second generation of autonomous collaborative platforms. Following the success of the XQ-58A Valkyrie, the first low-cost uncrewed air vehicle intended to provide the warfighter with credible and affordable mass, the XQ-67A proves the common chassis or “genus” approach to aircraft design, build and test, according to Doug Meador, autonomous collaborative platform capability lead with AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate. This approach paves the way for other aircraft “species” to be rapidly replicated on a standard genus chassis.

This new approach also responds to the challenge of Great Power Competition by speeding delivery of affordable, advanced capability to the warfighter.

“This approach will help save time and money by leveraging standard substructures and subsystems, similar to how the automotive industry builds a product line,” Meador said. “From there, the genus can be built upon for other aircraft — similar to that of a vehicle frame — with the possibility of adding different aircraft kits to the frame, such as an Off-Board Sensing Station or Off-Board Weapon Station.”

So, what is an autonomous collaborative platform?

“We broke it down according to how the warfighter sees these put together: autonomy, human systems integration, sensor and weapons payloads, networks and communications and the air vehicle,” Meador said.

“We’ve been evolving this class of systems since the start of the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technologies initiative,” he added.

The major effort that initially explored the genus/species concept was the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing, program, which fed technology and knowledge forward into the OBSS program that culminated with building and flying the XQ-67A, Meador said.

“The intention behind LCAAPS early on was these systems were to augment, not replace, manned aircraft,” said Trenton White, LCAAPS and OBSS program manager from AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate.

In late 2014 and early 2015, the initial years of the LCAAT initiative, the team began with some in-house designs, for which Meador credits White, who led the studies early on that evolved into the requirements definition for the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator, or LCASD, Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. The LCASD team defined, designed, built and tested the XQ-58 for the first time in 2019.

“The first generation was XQ-58, and that was really about proving the concept that you could build relevant combat capability quickly and cheaply,” White said.

The OBSS program built upon the low-cost capability that LCASD proved by leveraging design and manufacturing technology research that had taken place since the first generation and was directed to reduce risk in the development of future generations, White added.

“We had always intended from the start of LCAAT to have multiple vehicle development spirals or threads of vehicle development,” White said. “Then once the vehicle is proven ready, you can start integrating stuff with it, such as sensors, autonomy, weapons, payloads and electronics.”

With the XQ-67A, the team is using the platform-sharing approach or drawing leverage from automotive industry practices.

“We are looking to leverage technology development that’s been done since XQ-58, since that first generation,” White added.

With advancements in manufacturing technology since the XQ-58, the team aimed to use that system and the technology advancements to create a system design with lower cost and faster build in mind.

“It’s all about low cost and responsiveness here,” White said.

The team began discussing LCAAPS in 2018, focusing on the notion of “can we provide the acquirer with a new way of buying aircraft that is different and better and quicker than the old traditional way of how we build manned aircraft,” Meador said. “Which means we pretty much start over from scratch every time.”

Instead, the team considered the same approach that a car manufacturer applies to building a line of vehicles, where the continuous development over time would work for aircraft, as well. 

“It’s really about leveraging this best practice that we’ve seen in the automotive and other industries where time to market has decreased, while the time to initial operating capability for military aircraft has increased at an alarming rate,” White said.

With this genus platform, White said a usable aircraft can be created faster at a lower cost with more opportunities for technology refresh and insertion if new models are being developed and rolled out every few years.

AFRL harnesses science and technology innovation for specific operational requirements to ensure meaningful military capabilities reach the hands of warfighters. The XQ-67 is the first variant to be designed and built from this shared platform, White said.

“The main objectives here are to validate an open aircraft system concept for hardware and software and to demonstrate rapid time-to-market and low development cost,” he added.

This project looked at incorporating aspects of the OBSS and the OBWS to different capability concepts. The OBSS was viewed as slower while carrying sensors but have longer endurance, while the OBWS was considered faster and more maneuverable, with less endurance but better range.

“We wanted to design both of those but figure out how much of the two you can make common so we could follow this chassis genus species type of approach,” Meador said.

XQ-67A has been just over two years in the making, moving quickly through the design, build and fly process. While the team initially worked with five industry vendors, AFRL decided at the end of 2021 to exercise the opportunity to build the General Atomics design.

This successful flight is initial proof that the genus approach works, and aircraft can be built from a chassis.

“This is all part of a bigger plan and it’s all about this affordable mass,” Meador added. “This has to be done affordably and this program — even though there’s an aircraft at the end that we’re going to get a lot of use out of — the purpose of this program was the journey of rapid, low-cost production as much as it was the destination of a relevant combat aircraft.”

This signals to other companies that there is a new approach to constructing an aircraft, moving away from the conventional method of starting from scratch, Meador said.

“We don’t have the time and resources to do that,” Meador said. “We have to move quicker now.”

By Aleah M. Castrejon, Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

SOFWERX STEM Showcase 2024

Monday, March 4th, 2024

The SOFWERX STEM Showcase 2024 is an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors and college-age students to see a variety of technology demonstrations and discover career pathways and internship/employment opportunities. SOFWERX, in collaboration with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Industry Partners, and local Universities, Colleges, and Trade Schools will host?a 1-day STEM Showcase for students on 10 May from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM ET at the SOFWERX facility in Tampa, FL (Ybor City).

Request to Exhibit NLT 22 March 2024 11:59 PM ET

Students RSVP NLT 03 May 2024 11:59 PM ET

SOFWERX – AIM G-NOMES Collaboration Event

Monday, February 26th, 2024

SOFWERX, in collaboration with the USSOCOM, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Accelerator for Innovative Minds (AIM) Genomic Non-Specific Operational Matchmaking Enabled Systems (GNOMES) Team, will host a collaboration event on 23 April 2024, leveraging their hybrid accelerator model to provide awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment. This event will provide opportunities for direct dialogue with Industry, Academia, Warfighters, and Government Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to lower the barrier to working with the DoD and accelerate disruptive technologies and processing to the field.

The Chemical and Biological Defense Program’s vision through AIM is to identify capabilities which provide insight of chemical and biological (CB) contested environments. The objective is to develop a system with maximum utility for the warfighter to overcome current limiting factors in providing awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment.

For full details, visit events.sofwerx.org/aim-gnomes

Please request to Attend NLT 19 March 2024 11:59 PM ET.

Bush School Team Awarded Project to Study Effectiveness of Lie-Detection System That Tracks Eye Behavior

Saturday, February 17th, 2024

Department of Defense Research Project Awarded to Joint International Affairs and Public Service and Administration Research Team – Ocular Methods in Credibility Assessment (IP# 75648)

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 13, 2024 — A team of researchers from Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service has been selected to study the effectiveness of an ocular deception detection device.

The study, led by Associate Professor Michael Howell will assess Converus Inc.’s EyeDetect system’s ability to assess the credibility of deceptive and non-deceptive individuals.  A companion study just concluded at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Both studies evaluate EyeDetect’s performance in potential federal government contexts, such as law enforcement, immigration, and intelligence. 

Howell was selected for the role based on his prior work with the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG). The two-year study, which started in July, will be conducted along the Texas-Mexico border.

Co-principal investigators for the project are Dr. Danny Davis, Dan Debree, Dr. Trey Marchbanks, and Dr. Jim Nelson.

The contract for the study is through the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). Texas A&M University is a partner of the ARLIS consortium of universities in the Intelligence and Security University Research Enterprise (INSURE) Academic Consortium, which connects member institutions to government missions in need of applied research resources. ARLIS is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense of Intelligence and Security and is the only university-affiliated research center focused on the intersection of human behavior and technology. 

Texas A&M University, a partner of the ARLIS consortium of universities in the Intelligence and Security University Research Enterprise (INSURE) Academic Consortium, has been awarded a contract by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) for the study of an ocular deception detection device produced by Converus Inc.

 INSURE is a consortium connecting member institutions to government missions in need of applied research resources. ARLIS is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense of Intelligence and Security and the only university-affiliated research center focused on the intersection of human behavior and technology. 

This study will be led by Associate Professor of the Practice Michael Howell.  Professor Howell, who was first contacted by DCSA regarding this proposed study that will be conducted along the Texas-Mexican border, was selected to fulfill this role based on his prior work with the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG).

Co-principal investigators for the project include Dr. Danny Davis, Professor Dan Debree, Dr. Trey Marchbanks, and Dr. Jim Nelson. The Texas A&M University team will conduct a thorough investigation of the Converus EyeDetect system’s ability to assess the credibility of deceptive and non-deceptive individuals.  A companion study just concluded at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Both studies evaluate EyeDetect’s performance in potential federal government contexts, such as law enforcement, immigration, and intelligence.  The project start date was July 31, 2023.  The initial project will run for two years.

Glow Sticks – Not Just for Parties Anymore

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

UH Researcher Using Popular Party Favor to Detect Biothreats for U.S. Navy
Houston, Jan. 9 — Remember that party where you were swinging glow sticks above your head or wearing them as necklaces? Fun times, right? Science times, too. Turns out those fun party favors are now being used by a University of Houston researcher to identify emerging biothreats for the United States Navy.

It’s not the odd combination it may seem at first glance. Largely due to climate change, the environmental niches that can be occupied by threat-producing species are expanding. As environmental biothreats increase, so does their accessibility and potential concern from a biodefense perspective. Currently, there is a need to detect and diagnose certain emerging biothreats, especially in far-forward settings.

“We are for the first time applying the shelf-stable, low-toxicity, low-cost chemistry of common glow sticks to develop bright and rapid diagnostic tests called lateral flow immunoassays (LFIs) like fluorescent-dyed nanoparticles that, when exposed to glow stick activation chemicals, emit bright visible light that can be readily imaged using a smartphone or simple camera,” said Richard Willson, Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Houston. “We will adapt the technology of glow sticks widely used in military signaling applications to excite fluorescent LFI particles to increase their detectability.”

The humble glow stick

Here’s how they work: When you bend a common glow stick, it breaks a small glass container inside holding a mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and another substance. This mix reacts with a chemical stored outside the glass, creating a new substance that is quite reactive. When it collides with special colorful dyes, it gives them energy and makes them light up.


Richard Willson, Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is adapting technology of glow sticks to excite fluorescent particles to increase their detectability for the U.S. Navy.

That’s usually the time you lose interest in them and toss them away – but not so for Willson, who has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy, with the future potential to receive task orders of $1.3 million, to develop improved rapid detection technology for emerging biothreats to support forward deployable testing efforts and develop high affinity reagents for the new technology. High affinity reagents are substances or molecules that exhibit a strong and specific attraction or binding to a particular target.

Accessibility of technology

The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for rapid, inexpensive and ultrasensitive immunoassays for point-of-care diagnostic applications. Lateral flow immunoassays such as the home pregnancy test and COVID-19 rapid antigen test are successfully used by untrained persons to detect medically important chemicals but have limited analytical sensitivity and typically detect only a single chemical.

“Our novel Glow LFIs are very sensitive; preliminary results for Glow LFI detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein spiked in nasal swab extract show an unoptimized limit of detection of 100 picograms per milliliter, already better than typical LFIs,” said Willson, whose research with the glow stick method also shows detection of other known biothreats.

As part of the ongoing research Willson will also develop a pipeline to produce new high-affinity reagents to be employed in these new detection assays.

University of Houston