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Dynetics wins $2.6 million phase 2 DARPA ACE program contract

Huntsville-based Dynetics just won a 16-month Phase 2 contract valued at $2.6 million to continue work on the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program, Technical Area 3 (TA3), by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO).

ACE TA3 (known as AlphaMosaic), seeks to develop and demonstrate a matured battle management capability driven by artificial intelligence (AI). It involves a single pilot acting as a commander for large-scale, collaborative air warfare.

The ACE program uses the air combat domain as an initial challenge for implementing AI to demonstrate methods for increasing warfighter trust in combat autonomy.

Phase 1 focused on AI architecture design for large force battle management in a Mosaic Warfare construct, where the team effectively demonstrated the ability of AI to select air combat forces, plan strategy and execute tactics.

“As we move into Phase 2, learning how to create symbiosis between air battle managers and our AI-based battle management system, AlphaMosaic, will be our key focus,” said Kevin Albarado, chief engineer for ACE at Dynetics. “The potential to quickly transition all or parts of this technology to the warfighter is tremendous, as it fuses human ingenuity and decision making with the speed and scale of artificial intelligence.

“Our team is excited to focus on interactions between the human battle manager and AI. What we learn together with DARPA should be foundational and beneficial for many other applications in the Department of Defense.”

The team has already begun transition efforts to flight test portions of AlphaMosaic in fighter jets. The applications being tested aim to better inform pilots with group-level situational awareness and coordinated targeting responsibility.

Following a successful Phase 2, Phase 3 will include a realistic, manned-flight environment involving complex human-machine collaboration

Dynetics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos, is based in Huntsville and employs more than 3,000 employees.

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