AFRL opens BAA for SLAKE program
On June 20, the Air Force Research Laboratory posted a broad agency announcement for the Sensing, Learning, Autonomy and Knowledge Engineering (SLAKE) program (Solicitation Number: FA8650-18-S-1692). AFRL requests that potential offerors notify the agency of their intent to submit a proposal by 3:00 p.m. Eastern on July 16. Proposals are due by 3:00 p.m. Eastern on July 23.
The Air Force employs intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information as a strategic element during peacetime, as a tactical enabler during conflict, and as a life-saver during emergencies and natural disasters. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Sensors Directorate (AFRL/RY) includes within its mission the improvement of Air Force ISR capabilities, through both sensor device enhancements and novel processing of sensor data. Layered sensing is an ISR asset management approach emphasizing mission success through tailored application of platforms, sensors, infrastructure, and analysis capabilities. Of Air Force interest is the use of layered sensing principles to accommodate multi-domain information sources, to accelerate sensing and analysis, and to enable multiple forms of autonomous systems. Such development requires basic through advanced research in sensor data processing; expertise in modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A); and software engineering and integration experience.
Over many years the AFRL Advanced Recognition Capability (ARC) Laboratory has been involved in the assessment, demonstration, and integration of mature (Technology Readiness Level 5+) technologies supporting ISR capabilities. These ARC roles are being expanded to accommodate promising but less-mature (Technology Readiness Level 3-4) technology, focusing their development as appropriate on Air Force missions. The ARC includes technology that emulates certain operational ISR systems to a degree that enables advanced development and streamlined transition.
The goal of the Sensing, Learning, Autonomy, and Knowledge Engineering (SLAKE) program is to advance Air Force sensing capabilities by employing diverse sensor processing results at a representational or product level that is abstracted from the direct sensing output yet retains crucial information and corresponding uncertainties. Key research areas under SLAKE include development of sensor product representations suitable for efficient storage, efficient communication, and efficient resource allocation; robust conversion of sensor processing output to novel representation formats; accurate characterization of sensing uncertainties; rigorous incorporation of sensing uncertainties within novel algorithms for sensor resource management, task allocation, and information fusion; development and employment of virtual environments suitable for exercising specific algorithms and for analyzing specific system concepts; and sustained, efficient descriptions of mission context and mission operating environment. In support of technology maturation and transition, SLAKE also includes small unmanned aerial system (SUAS) integration and operation, advanced demonstration and validation.
SLAKE technology trajectories must be compatible with the constraints of future contested and highly contested operating environments, and with relevant missions and roles. However, SLAKE research and development must build upon and contribute to a broad technical foundation, and as such requires deliberate experimentation that relaxes and imposes operating constraints consistent with the maturity and specific objectives of each development thread. The majority of SLAKE efforts will require software development that incorporates modern best practices; furthermore, software development under SLAKE must be compatible with the constraints of Air Force network and computing environments. SLAKE is expected to employ modern computing architectures and Air Force fielded systems, both of which may require procurement of specialized software and hardware as part of system development and technology transition.
Full information is available here.