Photograph: U.S. Air Force

Air Force to spend $950 million on autonomous tech R&D

July 27, 2017 Katrice Eborn

This analysis was first available to Bloomberg Government subscribers.

The Air Force is looking to increase the use of autonomous technology and has released a Broad Agency Announcement for industry participation, according to a July 7 agency notice.

The Science and Technology for Autonomous Teammates (STAT) program is seeking to improve Air Force operations through machine learning that uses human-machine teaming, autonomous decision-making processes, and information analytics research, according to the BAA overview.

STAT’s objective is to demonstrate modular, transferable, open-system architectures, and deliver autonomous technologies to multidomain applications. The software algorithms must understand mission requirements, respond to human directions, and respond to unexpected threats and changing circumstances.

STAT will be handled through calls or open periods, and the agency intends to award multiple-award contracts on a cost-plus fixed-fee basis. The total estimated value is $950 million for the total period of performance, which is based on the following annual estimates: $118 million in FY 2018, $152 million in FY 2019, $159 million in FY 2020, $153 million in FY 2021, $149 million in FY 2022, and $219 million in FY 2023.

DOD has been seeking to advance initiatives that focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence since the “Third Offset” strategy was unveiled in September 2014. The continued efforts are intended to promote technologies and concepts that support the U.S. military’s technological advantage.

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