What modular payloads can be swapped into and out of air vehicles to support ISR, EA, AEW, and communications relay missions?

The AgilePod, the first physical system to be trademarked by the Air Force, is a multi-intelligence, open-system architecture, flight-line reconfigurable pod designed for the intelligence community. A new effort to develop a suite of platform-agnostic AgilePods in various sizes is currently in progress, teaming AFRL with industry partners (credit:  USAF/David Dixon).

The AgilePod, the first physical system to be trademarked by the Air Force, is a multi-intelligence, open-system architecture, flight-line reconfigurable pod designed for the intelligence community. A new effort to develop a suite of platform-agnostic AgilePods in various sizes is currently in progress, teaming AFRL with industry partners (credit: USAF/David Dixon).

DSIAC is searching for information on physical prototypes or conceptual designs for airborne early warning (AEW); communications relay; electronic attack (EA); and intelligence, surveillance, and recognizance (ISR) payloads that are designed to plug and play into a modular, open-system architecture.  The form factor should be less than (or easily scalable to less than) 50 ft3 and 1,000 lbs, not counting any external antennae or power generation equipment.  

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) AgilePod concept is a good example of the technology we are seeking.  We are interested in both the individual modular payload components and the backbone that the modular payloads would plug into to communicate with the aircraft.  The modular payloads should allow mounting and be small enough and self-contained enough to install and remove them from an airframe without affecting the airframe’s basic ability to fly and navigate.

Information gathered through this will be used to characterize the state of the art in this type of technology and assess potential solutions through prize challenges or other competitive events.  The ultimate application of this technology is still being explored; however, an example of what these modular payloads might support could be a future Group 5 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that operates from ships at sea.

Any modular payloads that fit the requirements or other relevant information can be discussed on the DTIC DoDTechSpace forum or delivered to DSIAC via email.

Inquiry Cutoff Date: 
17 May 2019