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USAF seeks new SIGINT collection, processing capabilities

One of the USAF's trio of legacy ‘Senior Scout' SIGINT shelters being loaded into a fixed-wing transport aircraft. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Air Force's (USAF's) research division is looking to develop advanced cyber and signals intelligence (SIGINT) processing capabilities, which once developed and deployed will accelerate SIGINT data distribution to operational and tactical units in near real time.

The broad agency announcement (BAA), issued on 25 September by the information directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is specifically seeking prototype proposals “[for] emerging cyber and SIGINT real-time processing solutions to improve tactical information collection, geolocation, extraction, identification, analysis, simulation, and reporting”.

“SIGINT technologies process information on various communications mediums, operate in environments in low signal-to-noise ratio areas, and conduct operations against uncooperative targets where the noise types and channel conditions are frequently varying from message to message,” the BAA stated.

“As time is critical and mission analysts' workload is high, the automation of the SIGINT collection, processing, and exploitation capabilities … is a major goal,” it added.

Advanced research and subsequent prototype system development carried out under the AFRL's USD99.9 million BAA will ultimately result in “real-time [processing] tools to quickly assess and precisely pinpoint the right decision to mitigate the tactical threat and ensure battlespace dominance”, the solicitation stated.

“The processed [SIGINT] information will support the command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) and cyber, science, technology, research, and development vision … and support battlespace awareness for the warfighter,” it added.

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