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Friday, October 30, 2015

Countering the Enemy Faster

Draper’s new contract vehicle enables rapid technical solutions for government customers

CAMBRIDGE, MA – As the U.S. government battles the Islamic State and monitors emerging threats in North and West Africa, it faces highly adaptable opponents. These types of enemies study U.S. tactics, techniques and procedures and take advantage of new commercial capabilities quickly to strike against the vulnerabilities they find. In contrast, U.S. forces and intelligence agencies are often hamstrung by the conventional requirements and budget cycle as they seek to keep pace.

To ensure technological overmatch continues in the nation’s favor, the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) awarded Draper and 15 other companies an $800M multiple award task order to acquire new capabilities to counter asymmetric threats. Any Department of Defense service or agency can use the contract, which provides for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services, as it responds to urgent needs.

Under the Advanced Expeditionary Warfare Development (AEWD) contract, Draper may develop technology in areas including advanced communication devices; information technologies; electronic, mechanical, and electromechanical systems; field power generation technologies; and advanced materials.

“Staying ahead of an adaptable enemy requires a flexible, multidisciplinary engineering approach,” said Bill Ostrowski, Draper’s associate director for special operations forces programs. “Draper will draw on expertise in areas including materials engineering and microfabrication; position, navigation, and timing; autonomous systems; and modeling and simulation.”

The company has previously applied its multidisciplinary engineering capabilities to a variety of related programs including the tiny, robust communications and navigation devices; persistent surveillance systems; and sensors and navigation systems for drones.

Special operations forces patrol in Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo)
Capabilities Used
Autonomous Systems

Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements.  Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.

Microsystems

Draper has designed and developed microelectronic components and systems going back to the mid-1980s. Our integrated, ultra-high density (iUHD) modules of heterogeneous components feature system functionality in the smallest form factor possible through integration of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with Draper-developed custom packaging and interconnect technology. Draper continues to pioneer custom Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and custom radio frequency components for both commercial (microfluidic platforms organ assist, drug development, etc.) and government (miniaturized data collection, new sensors, Micro-sats, etc.) applications.  Draper features a complete in-house iUHD and MEMS fabrication capability and has existing relationships with many other MEMS and microelectronics fabrication facilities. 

Secure & Assured Systems

Over the past 10 years, Draper has extracted miniature systems and real-time embedded systems design knowledge to develop cyber capabilities to assess software vulnerabilities and capabilities to secure electronics systems. Additionally, Draper has demonstrated secure networks featuring over-the-air keying to realize cryptographically encoded, high-bandwidth communications for UAVs and other applications. These complementary capabilities and technologies provide robust security solutions to guard critical embedded systems against cyber, reverse engineering, and other attacks and ensure that critical information can be protected and delivered in a timely and accurate manner.

Materials Engineering & Microfabrication

Draper continues to develop its expertise in designing, characterizing and processing materials at the macro-, micro- and nanoscales. Understanding the physical properties and behaviors of materials at these various scales is vital to exploit them successfully in designing components or systems. This enables the development and integration of biomaterials, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, wafer fabrication, chemical and electrochemical materials and structural materials for application to system-level solutions required of government and commercial sponsors.

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