The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected Northrop Grumman as a Phase 1 Swarm Systems Integrator for the Agency’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program.

The OFFSET program provides small-unit infantry forces with small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) or small unmanned ground systems (UGSs) in swarms of 250 or more to support missions in urban environments, with the goal of advancing the integration of modern swarm tactics through emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming.

“Cognitive autonomy has the potential to transform all defense and security systems. OFFSET will explore a variety of applications in relevant mission scenarios,” said Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced technologies, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “

To kick off involvement in the program, Northrop Grumman will launch its first open-architecture test bed where participants to create and test their own swarm-based tactics. The company serves as a swarm systems integrator, tasked with designing, developing and deploying a swarm-system, open-based architecture for swarm technologies in both a game-based environment and physical test bed.

Northrup Grumman is teaming with Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) and the Interactive Computing Experiences Research Cluster, directed by Dr. Joseph LaViola, at the University of Central Florida on the program.

Approximately every six months, DARPA plans to solicit proposals from potential sprinters in one of five thrust areas: swarm tactics, swarm autonomy, human-swarm teaming, virtual environment and physical test bed. Participants from academia, small businesses and large corporations are invited to join in these swarm sprints. The end of each sprint will coincide with live physical test experiments with DARPA, the systems integrator team and other sprinters.