DARPA Wants Generational Shift in Air Superiority

DARPA is in the early stages of an “air dominance initiative,” a collaborative effort with the Air Force and Navy to examine capabilities and technologies that could create a “generational shift” in US air superiority, said DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar. Briefing reporters in the Pentagon on April 24, Prabhakar said the project emerged from the recognition that “threats we’re gonna face in the future are likely to be much more sophisticated than what we’ve seen in the last decade or so.” DARPA has deliberately chosen to take a “systems approach” to the question of air superiority, she said. “This is not a question about what does the next aircraft look like,” she said, Rather, the goal is to explore capabilities that “layered together” would “comprehensively extend air superiority,” said Prabhakar. The ADI study team is examining technology areas such as networking, communications, control of the electromagnetic spectrum, and sensors, she said. “We’re talking about how manned and unmanned systems might work together, what role space assets play, et cetera,” she said. The study’s results are expected to inform initiatives in the next budget cycle, she said. (Prabhakar transcript)