WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense wants to see a prototype that can ensure spectrum is available whenever it’s needed for aerial combat training, according to an April 26 request from the National Spectrum Consortium.

The effort, focused specifically on the Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR) project, is part of a larger portfolio included in the DoD’s office of research and engineering’s Spectrum Access Research & Development Program. That program hope to develop near real time spectrum management technologies that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to more efficiently and dynamically allocate spectrum assignments based on operational planning or on operational outcomes, a release said.

“I think of this set of projects as a toolset that’s really the beginning of starting to move toward pushing those fundamental technologies into more direct operational application,” Maren Leed, executive director of the National Spectrum Consortium, told C4ISRNET. It’s “starting to bridge from just sharing with commercial into capabilities that are going to enable warfighting much more directly.”

The goal is to provide advanced spectrum management capabilities to systems within the Advanced Wireless Services-3 bands, a press release stated, thought the prototype will be applicable to all spectrum being managed on range. Specifically, OSCAR will provide the spectrum management tools, workflows, and sensor network necessary to increase spectrum utilization and improve range spectrum management, the release said.

“The OSCAR project is really the centralized orchestration engine for taking inputs on spectrum awareness for various systems operating in the area,” Leed said. The plan is to then use those inputs to understand the spectrum availability a future operation.

While the current project is focused on aerial combat training, the underlying technologies needed have larger implications.

“You can’t do Joint All-Domain Command and Control in the way the Defense Department says it wants to do; you can’t have electromagnetic spectrum superiority in the way that the Defense Department says it wants to have without these types of tools and capabilities,” Leed said.

The technologies, once matured, will work allow for better decision making. This could include being able to tell if there is potential interference during a flight, meaning a pilot might have to change their flight pattern or radio.

Leed said the intent is to have companies demonstrate their technologies at the end of the project in three years.

Proposals for OSCAR are due June 1.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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