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DARPA taps BAE for autonomous air mission planning software

March 21 (UPI) — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded BAE Systems a new contract for its work on an autonomous air mission planning system for the U.S. military.

The $ 3.1 million contract, announced Wednesday by BAE, is for development work on the Resilient Synchronized Planning and Assessment for the Contested Environment, or RSPACE, system.

RSPACE is meant to develop software to aid air operators in planning and making battlespace decisions during daily operations, including when communications are limited or unreliable.

BAE is focused on software called the Distributed, Interactive, Command-and-Control Tool, or DIRECT, which is meant to improve battlespace awareness. The system uses a visual interface to alert operators of areas of concern when planning missions, and automatically adjusts bandwidth based on available communications systems to make sure mission information is properly transmitted.

“We are well on our way to providing a software decision aid that will help planners adapt to plan changes, make real-time decisions faster, and more effectively execute their missions,” Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group at BAE Systems, said in a press release.

RSPACE is looking to design tools that help planners work with autonomous systems to gain insight and plan, while using software to track details, apply and compare concepts, and monitor developments, according to DARPA.

“If successful, RSPACE will ensure continuity of operations when communications are limited and enable small, distributed staffs to quickly generate effective responses to events in the battlespace as they unfold,” DARPA said of the program on its website.

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