The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
is an agency of theUnited States Department of Defense responsible for the development of newtechnologies for use by the military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertextsystem, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.
DARPA began as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) created in 1958 by president Dwight D. Eisenhower for the purpose of forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science and able to reach far beyond immediate military requirements. The administration was responding to the Soviet launching of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and ARPA's mission was to ensure U.S. military technology be more sophisticated than that of the nation's potential enemies. From DARPA's own introduction,
DARPA’s original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.
ARPA, was renamed to "DARPA" (for Defense) in March 1972, then renamed "ARPA" again in February 1993, and then renamed "DARPA" again in March 1996.
DARPA is independent from other more conventional military research and development and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has around 240 personnel (about 140 technical) directly managing a $2.8 billion budget. These figures are "on average" since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four-year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams. READ MORE : HERE
DARPA About 9,120,000 results (0.48 seconds) HERE
DARPA: A Glimpse of All Tomorrow’s WeaponsZak Rose - Dec 03, 12
Tactical and Weapons Projects
CROSSHAIRS (Counter Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Response) - This program aims to develop an all-in-one, vehicle-mounted , detection and weapons unit that will be able to locate enemy ambushers and snipers while moving or while stopped. It will also be designed with the capability to destroy incoming threats, such as rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, by firing directly on them using automated, radar guided weapons.Given combat theatres such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where small, hit and run tactics such as roadside RPG attacks are common, this technology could potentiallyengender a substantial reduction in casualties and lost equipment.
ChemBots (Chemical Robots) -This program, the product of cooperation between DARPA and technical research institutions such as MIT and Harvard, is developing surveillance robots that are small, flexible, and that use material-chemistry technologies such as gel-solid transitions to physically alter their shape in order to manoeuvre through small, irregularly shaped openings in enemy perimeters.Chembots would broaden the military's ability to conduct surveillance in hostile spaces, assisting in covert operations and providing a boon to national intelligence, which would better inform policy decisions regarding suspected nuclear or WMD programs, for example.EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance) - This project seeks to revolutionize the practice of military sniping. It will create the first-ever guided 50-calibre round, which will be capable of adjusting its own course mid-air using information from an optic sensor system. The value of a successful, self-correcting sniper round is substantial. Failed sniper shots notify enemies of an imminent attack, leading to unnecessary engagements that risk personnel and equipment.
EXCALIBUR – This project seeks to deploy directed weapons lasers that are many times smaller and lighter than current technology allows. These lasers generate irradiance levels strong enough to be lethal, but are far more accurate, precise, and damage-limiting than conventional weapons. In particular, compact EXCALIBUR laser systems could be mounted on aircraft, enabling aerial strikes with pinpoint accuracy, limiting collateral damage. This level of precision would ease the political and ethical consequences with which defence forces struggle when they are forced to engage military targets in civilian areas.
HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System) – A system that compliments the EXCALIBUR project, HELLADS seeks to use a similar technology in order to mount defensive lasers on aircraft, capable of intercepting and destroying enemy surface-to-air weapons. The increasing sophistication of anti-air weaponry has been identified as a severe threat, and the development of the HELLADS project would substantially counter this danger, saving lives and equipment in future sorties.
Disc-Rotor Compound Helicopter – This technology essentially combines the capabilities of traditional, high speed aircraft and a helicopter. Its current design is a fixed-wing, airplane-like vehicle with retractable helicopter blades mounted on a disc above the fuselage. The Compound Helicopter, therefore, will have the survivability and speed of an airplane but will be able to transition fully into a helicopter with vertical liftoff, landing, and hover modes for troop and cargo insertion.
Nano Air Vehicle - This program seeks to develop very small and very light vehicles to perform surveillance and potentially other kinds of military missions in all environments. These vehicles could be disguised, for example, as a hummingbird, using technology modelled after flapping wings and other aerodynamic techniques. The covert nature and lightweight design of NAVs would be extremely useful in urban combat settings, where bulky equipment is a hindrance and where ambushes and surprise attacks are a constant danger. By using NAV technology to perform missions discretely, service-members reduce the risks associated with revealing their position and operating heavy equipment in a hostile urban environment where the layout may be largely unknown.
Assured Arctic Awareness – This program seeks to develop an automated, unmanned sensor net capable of being deployed for long periods of time in arctic conditions, all with little need for maintenance. Still in the research phase, DARPA aims to create a long-term monitoring system above and below the ice. This would drastically reduce the cost and resources necessary for the United States to project its presence in the disputed arctic region – sovereignty over which will become increasingly important as the resources therein are developed – as they currently conduct monitoring and surveillance using ships and submarines or expensive unmanned equipment such as satellites.
Lightweight Ceramic Armor (LCA) – This technology envisions a considerable advantage for soldiers deployed in the field, as present armour technologies are extremely heavy, fatiguing, and bulky, which means an overall reduction in mobility. Body armour made from ceramic materials would be equally effective but far lighter and thinner, offering the same protection without compromising mobility or causing fatigue. It is estimated that physical fatigue is among the leading causes of compromised combat-readiness among US armed forces, so LCA would present a significant improvement in military performance.Medical ProjectsFracture Putty – This malleable material would be used to treat compound bone fractures suffered by friendly personnel. When packed around the fractured bone, it would harden, similar to a kind of internal cast, providing fast load-bearing support to the bone while it healed normally. Eventually the putty would be reabsorbed harmlessly by the body. This project would increase overall combat readiness by reducing the long-term treatment and recovery time service-members currently face for broken bones, and by reducing the incidence of complications such as persistent pain and infection that arise as a result of conventional treatments such as rods and screws.
Dialysis-Like Therapeutics – This technology is creating a relatively small, light-weight device capable of draining contaminated blood from infected service members, treating the blood to remove toxic elements, and returning the blood to the body, much like current dialysis treatments. Portable technology like this would contribute significantly to reducing the strain on operations in the field, as infections in the bloodstream affects more than a thousand service members a year.Logistics ProjectsLegged Squad Support System (LS3) – This project is developing a robotic load-bearing machine to accompany squads of troops in the field, similar to a pack animal. It will be able to carry 400lbs of equipment and will have the physical ability to move through any necessary terrain, while also serving as a portable backup power source. Physical fatigue has been identified as a one of the greatest threats to combat readiness, and a modern service-member in the field can often be responsible for over 100lbs of gear. The LS3 is expected to greatly improve overall mission effectiveness.
Vulcan – This is a major project involving contracts from the private sector to develop turbines and engines for heavy military vehicles which utilize a combustion technology designed to consume much less fuel, known as pressure gain combustion. This project is currently exploring applying this technology to ship propulsion and aircraft turbines. As the global price of oil continues to rise, outfitting ships and aircraft with turbines that reduce their fuel consumption could save a substantial amount of money.Cyber Security ProjectsADAMS (Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales) - Given the rise of digital technology and the massive systems that accompany it, cyber security and the protection of digital information is becoming increasingly important. With this in mind, DARPA has initiated the ADAMS project which aims to process and monitor enormous data sets of digital activity, with the ability to detect anomalous behaviour. The initial intent with such anomaly flagging is to detect compromising or malicious behaviour from within.
Plan X - Still in the formulation phase, Plan X represents an effort to understand and approach cyber warfare in a new paradigm. It aims to develop a platform that allows US defence departments to defend against, conduct, and train for cyber warfare. Such practices and capabilities will only become more important in the future, as the current trend in international conflict is moving away from conventional interstate war. With increased digitization of security and defence technologies, and the proliferation of non-state enemies who lack the means to conduct conventional warfare, cyber warfare is a growing threat which Plan X will help counter.
April 30, 2013 10:41 AM
10 Breakthrough DARPA Technologies
Super Tech From Sea To Space
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- the research arm of the Department of Defense -- is out to make "huge leaps" in military weapon and defense technologies. Earlier this month DARPA's Tactical Technology Office asked developers and defense contractors to propose ideas, and discussed its requirements with potential partners during a two-day conference.
The Tactical Technology Office's goal is to develop advanced platforms, weapons and space systems that support U.S. military superiority through "overwhelming technological advantage." The two-day workshop focused on the development of innovative systems for military missions on the ground, air, sea and space. DARPA invited contractors, researchers and academic institutions to pitch their ideas.
"We're looking for potentially huge leaps forward from the existing state of the art, not incremental improvements," Brad Tousley, director of the Tactical Technology Office, said in a statement.
DARPA envisions "a holistic overhaul" of the equipment available to soldiers on foot patrol, increasing the reach and protection of assets at sea, and advances in air and space operations.In particular, the Tactical Technology Office is seeking contributions in the following areas: soldier and squad technologies, combat vehicles, tactical operations in urban zones, surface and subsurface seafaring technologies, novel air vehicles, hypersonic airframes, spacecraft technologies, and situational awareness in space.
The Tactical Technology Office manages dozens of programs, which are organized into three broad categories: advanced platforms, advanced space systems and advanced weapons systems.
As one example of the kind of research it pursues, the office in March launched a program called the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN), after a family of seabirds known for flight endurance, to find a faster, less expensive way to strike mobile targets anywhere, anytime. The idea is to use small ships as mobile bases for unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones
In April, the Tactical Technology Office issued a request for information for a program called Digitizing Squad X, aimed at equipping soldiers with sensing, communications and mission-command capabilities that work together to create "an organically digitized and interconnected" squad.
Other Tactical Technology Office projects include the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) and other robots, the Phoenix program to harvest, repair and re-use satellites in space, and a project to develop a more flexible, supersonic missile dubbed the Triple Target Terminator.DARPA pursues leading-edge research and development on behalf of the Department of Defense. The agency is organized into six R&D offices: Adaptive Execution Office, Defense Sciences Office, Information Innovation Office, Microsystems Technology Office, Strategic Technology Office and Tactical Technology Office.
In the meantime, here are nine breakthrough projects -- in addition to TERN -- already underway via DARPA's Tactical Technology Office.Stealthier Undersea TrackingUnder its Anti-Submarine Warfare program, DARPA is developing an unmanned vessel designed to track quiet diesel electric submarines. Once operational, a Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel would be able to follow enemy submarines for months at a time across thousands of kilometers with minimal human involvement. Key features include advanced software and sensors to continuously track super quiet submarines. DARPA plans to test a prototype at sea in mid-2015.
Next-Generation AircraftWhat happens when you cross a fixed-wing aircraft with a rotary-wing aircraft? You get a more flexible next-generation military aircraft, one that can take off like a helicopter, hover, and cruise at higher speeds with increased efficiency. DARPA's Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Aircraft (X-Plane) program aims to develop an aircraft capable of flying at sustained speeds of between 300 and 400 knots.
Amphibious TransporterDevelopment of technologies that will provide disaster and humanitarian relief in coastal areas without relying on local infrastructure is another DARPA project. One such system is the Captive Air Amphibious Transporter, a tank-like vehicle for carrying containers over water and onto the shore. The Transporter's design includes air-filled pontoons.
Unmanned Air SupportAnother disaster relief technology, the Parafoil Unmanned Air-Delivery system, is an alternative to helicopters or other aircraft that could be subject to dangerous landings. The propeller-driven air vehicle uses a parachute to lift and transport up to 3,000 pounds of supplies from container ships or areas on shore. Parafoil Unmanned Air-Delivery is one of four modular systems created for DARPA's Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform program.
Multipurpose MissileAs its name indicates, DARPA's Triple Target Terminator (T3) is a missile that can be used to go after three kinds of targets: enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles. T3's technologies include "air-breathing propulsion," advanced data networking, multi-role guidance and control, and advanced thermal and power management, according to the agency.
Mobile TelescopesDARPA is looking for new ways to take pictures of satellites and other objects in space. Under its Galileo program, the Tactical Technology Office is developing mobile telescopes that use flexible fiber optic cable to create images more quickly than is possible today. Galileo complements DARPA's Phoenix program, which aims to salvage antennas and other reusable components from retired satellites.
Guided BulletDARPA is testing a small-caliber, guided bullet that will give military marksmen better accuracy in unfavorable conditions such as high winds or dusty terrain. The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance bullet, or EXACTO, combines a 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology for increased range during the day or at night. EXACTO's real-time guidance system can be used to change the bullet's path as needed. DARPA describes it as a "maneuverable" bullet.
Safer Air SupportReducing so-called "friendly fire" is an important objective of DARPA's Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program, which combines manned and unmanned airborne platforms, next-gen graphical user interfaces, data links, digital guidance and control, and advanced targeting and visualization. DARPA is working with Aurora Flight Sciences, Raytheon and other partners to develop a system that would give air controllers the ability to engage multiple moving targets quickly within a fighting zone.
Robotics ChallengeDARPA wants to develop robots that are capable of performing complex tasks in dangerous surroundings. With that goal in mind, the agency last year introduced the DARPA Robotics Challenge, in which individuals, universities and businesses were invited to submit their designs for disaster-response robots. A second competition will be held in 2013, with registration opening on July 1.
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DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is essentially the place where the military attempts to push the envelope and to come up with new and innovative ideas for defense into the future.For anyone that is familiar with DARPA, it should come as no surprise that the DoD’s “bleeding edge” research center would come up with some pretty fringe ideas. We’ve covered a number of technologies out of DARPA, such as thehypersonic aircraft or the Dark Star UAV.However, there are many more concepts and ideas that are explored by DARPA through its many annual investments into the research and development of other companies, both large and small, around the country.Those investments can provide a bit of insight as to where the U.S. military sees the “state of the art” headed in the next decade or so. To gauge where military technology may be headed into 2013 and beyond, I browsed through the latest publicly released funding numbers for DARPA – FY 2011 Funding – and spotted 7 interesting companies and technologies where DARPA decided to invest.
DARPA Advanced Research InvestmentsDARPA investments each year range across all spectrums and all industries. Research includes things like robotics, UAV research, advanced weaponry, biotechnology, advanced materials – the list goes on and on.The DARPA funding list includes about 30 pages of funding recipients listed, with approximately 100 or so per page. That’s about 3000 recipients of awards ranging anywhere from several million dollars to just a few thousand.You would expect the usual powerhouse defense contractors to show up on the list, like Northrop Grumman, Mitre and hundreds of Universities to appear. However, if you slow down and pluck out some of the more obscure names of businesses and corporations, you can discover just how varied and interesting the DARPA investment portfolio actually is.
Robotics and UAVsEveryone knows that the U.S. military uses drones for a number of military strikes in areas that are too difficult for troops to reach, however DARPA is taking a closer look at how to use much smaller drones through its investment in a company called Cyphy Works.These are the sorts of drones that you’ve probably seen used on a few modern TV cop shows, where the police are uncertain about entering a building – maybe there’s a potential bomb threat – so they send in this very small flying drone that can enter the building and observe without putting humans at risk.It’s called EASE – Extreme Access System for Entry.
Then there’s the cool looking hovercraft called PARC.PARC stands for Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications. You could picture this drone being used to scope out the compound of a Columbian drug lord, or hovering above a battlefield during a ground war to provide a solid relay point for long distance audio or visual communications.
Investment in Cyphy Works was $98,419.
In addition to flying robots, DARPA also appears to have an interest in a very unique technology called “Magnetic Muscle” being produced by a company called Magzor.
This “muscle” is actually a material invented by the company’s scientists that can provide better “actuation” for robotics or medical prosthetics. The synthetic muscle can actually replace (or increase) the strength of original organic muscle.
It’s uncertain whether the intent would be to use this technology as part of an effort to build stronger robotic soldiers, or if it would be offered to soldiers that are injured in action.Investment with Magzor was $148,766.
Human Sensory SystemsAnother fascinating product from a company called Innovega is a technology that at first I thought was essentially Google Glasses on steroids. It’s a very small device – a clear contact lens – that allows the person wearing it to focus on both near and far objects at exactly the same time.
What confused me was that the company mentioned the device could be used to view digital displays right near the eye – however, unlike Google Glasses where the display is part of the eyewear, in this case the eyewear simply gives you the capability to see a display close-up while also focusing on distant objects.
The technology is pretty innovative – by carefully playing with the light coming into the eye, the lens refocuses that light for the eyeball, providing it with one complete picture that includes a focused view of both distant objects and the close-up object.DARPA investment in Innogega, Inc. was $98,913.
Going along with this theme is a company called Vuzix, which offers a product nearly identical to the Google Glasses concept – a hands-free smartphone display that lets you use your smartphone in your hand, while looking off in any other direction.
They’re called Smart Glasses, and they’re only one product along these lines. The company also sells augmented reality glasses that cover both eyes and provide a much more immersive experience.
Vuzix received an impressive $775,100 investment from DARPA.
Another company that DARPA likes is one that is trying to replace the “touch” sensory capabilities of a human. That company is called SynTouch.
The company reports that its sensory technology called “BioTacs” can be utilized to create robot fingers capable of discriminating between up to 117 textures with 95% accuracy, even textures that are sometimes too difficult for humans to sense the difference.DARPA investment in SynTouch was $374,626.
As you can see, not all taxpayer money goes to the largest defense contractors out there. Some of it also goes to smaller companies that have a particularly innovative or promising technology right of the cusp of cutting edge.