Confidential Technology, LongShot Drone Lead R&E Unfunded List

Long shot of a common atom

Image showing the General Atomics product design for DARPA’s LongShot program. (General Atomics)

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s Research and Technology Directorate hopes to provide an additional $81 million in funding for its fiscal year 2025 request, according to a copy of its unfunded priority list submitted to Congress and obtained by Breaking Defense.

Agencies and agencies within the Department of Defense are required to send a list of unfunded priorities to the Hill to show members how the additional funding would be spent if Congress allows it. Unofficially, the Pentagon often fills these lists with items that were cut in internal budget negotiations but that the agencies involved never wanted excluded from the overall FY25 budget request.

R&E requests are divided into three programs.

DE testing and experimentation: By far the largest portion of the request is $65 million for “DE testing and experimentation,” but every place that could contain details includes the line “clarification withheld.” . Confidential Topic. Materials available at higher levels. ” The term “DE” probably refers to directed energy, which is the official name for laser weapons and is a major, if ongoing, area of ​​research for the Department of Defense.

LongShot unmanned system: The listing also calls for $10 million to develop a “mission system architecture” for DARPA’s LongShot system, specifically aimed at integrating the AIM-120 missile into potential future drones.

Last June, contractor General Atomics won a contract from DARPA for Phase 3 of the Longshot project worth up to $94 million. DARPA sees the potential for LongShot, a Turducken-like unmanned aircraft system that can be dropped from bombers and fighters and fire its own missiles, to be useful to both the Air Force and Navy.

According to UPL, LongShot “integrates a mission system that utilizes existing sensors and weapons architecture to pass tracking data to AIM-120, allowing it to target red platforms from a wide range.”

“The mission system architecture allows LongShot to communicate with beyond-line-of-sight systems as well as line-of-sight systems capable of detecting threats such as multi-role combat aircraft and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. Provides targeting information for engagement. As a result, the existing inventory of AIM-120s on 4th generation platforms will be effective at long ranges. To close the kill chain for LongShot/AIM-120 engagements, Mission system architecture is essential.”

According to documents, construction is scheduled to begin in fiscal 2025 and be completed in fiscal 2026.

Music system: The smallest pot of money requested is $6.49 million for a rapid prototype known as “Multi-Domain Unmanned Secure Integrated Communications (MUSIC).”

According to the unfunded request, the program will focus on the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army to “enable seamless communication between various unmanned systems and enable the services to fight jointly with autonomous systems.” It is a state-of-the-art network architecture designed to

“Music is an essential capability for modern military operations. It enables uninterrupted communications and data exchange across diverse domains, including land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace,” the R&E office said in the list. It is listed in. “The MUSIC system is compatible with existing communications networks and platforms, ensures robust security, is interruption tolerant and seamlessly scalable.”

Noting the off-the-shelf nature of MUSIC, the R&E Office breaks down the costs of this request as follows:
Tactical radios ($631,323), secure 5G NTN IoT radios ($1,794,000), NetAgility Trusted Cyber ​​and Alchemy Service ($1,502,800), MUSIC software development ($2,300,000), and computer servers and accessories ($261,877).

“Without funding in FY25, this capability will not be delivered in time to conflict for the Joint Warfare Initiative and Defense Planning Scenario in Indiapacom,” the list states.

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