The Army's Rapid Capabilities Office has issued a solicitation for a variety of capabilities under its purview. The RCO, established in August 2016, was chartered with three main areas for finding disrupting technologies for which operational gaps existed; cyber, electronic warfare, and position, navigation and timing.
The RFI, released July 6 and titled "Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning approaches, algorithms, and systems in Support of Electronic Warfare; and Alternative Means of Positioning, Navigation and Timing," seeks a variety of systems.
The first seeks electronic warfare capabilities utilizing machine learning to cover both supervised and unsupervised systems to include deep-learning systems. Solutions should be capable of increasing accuracy and efficiency. Electronic attack and support solutions are included within this portion's scope, the notice said.
Among a series of questions these EW solutions should be able to answer, the Army is interested if a potential solution can use machine learning and artificial intelligence to assist in understanding local electromagnetic spectrum usage and the performance of command and control of available EW assets.
Next, the notice is looking for alternatives in position, navigation and timing. As the notice states, the Army — and military at large — is heavily reliant on GPS, and adversaries know this, reacting by upgrading their anti-GPS capabilities. While there are systems that exist today for operating in GPS-denied environments, "the Army is interested in understanding alternative means of providing trusted Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) information to operators for ground/air maneuver, precision location, and timing," the notice states.
Questions of note the Army seeks answers to regarding potential solutions include:
- Are there capabilities available to provide ground units, Army aviation or munitions with alternative means of establishing PNT information?
- Is the solution for full PNT or just a component?
- How mature is the solution?
In terms of actual delivered capabilities currently in the PNT space, Maj. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, director of operations at the RCO, told C4ISRNET the first project in PNT is underway. It will be an Army-wide focus, he said, with an initial focus on Europe.
The Army will be running operational assessments in 2018, after which the service will make improvements based on participant feedback before being brought to the secretary and chief for a decision.
The results of the July RFI, the notice states, will be used in the assessment of ongoing industry efforts within the identified focus areas.