The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), together with the US Army and other industry partners, has recently demonstrated a battlefield airspace deconfliction software.

The demonstration was a part of the Air Space Total Awareness for Rapid Tactical Execution (ASTARTE) programme, which began in 2021 as a joint effort between the US Air Force (USAF), Army, and DAPRA.

It was conducted at the US Army’s Mission Command Battle Lab in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, US, in late 2022.

The test involved the integration of ASTARTE software with the army’s Integrated Mission Planning and Airspace Control Tools (IMPACT) software suite, which was handled by the Programme Executive Office for Aviation’s Aviation Mission Systems and Architecture Project Office.

DARPA Strategic Technology Office ASTARTE programme manager Paul Zablocky said: “The demonstration showed that complex route alternatives could be created in seconds, leveraging available permissive airspace to avoid airspace where conflicts would potentially occur.

“ASTARTE also increases accuracy by automating tasks and reducing inherent human error. Most importantly, ASTARTE-IMPACT integration forms a foundation of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled services that will interact with service component AI tools such as USAF’s Kessel Run All Domain Operations Suite for planning and All Domain Common Platform for operations.”

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During the test, Raytheon Technologies worked on the development of an automated flightpath-planning capability that can deconflict airspace use by routing via/around pre-determined airspace coordinating measures in space and time.

General Dynamics Mission Systems (GMDS) also focused on developing the IMPACT suite to support Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control and other data-enabled tools.

While demonstrating, the companies identified interfaces, allowing ASTARTE flightpath planners to receive the required flightpath requests, including altitude range, time, and start/end points, from IMPACT to then return complete deconflicted flightpaths to IMPACT, when needed.

The Phase-2 integration efforts are soon expected to be complete, with Phase-3 live-testing planned to begin this summer.