AFRL seeks $44M contract for DE bioeffects research

By Sara Sirota / March 27, 2019 at 6:21 PM

The Air Force Research Laboratory is looking to contract with industry for research on the bioeffects of radio frequency, high-power microwaves and particle-beam, directed-energy technologies and weapons, according to a notice published today.

In an update to a request for information Inside Defense reported on last month, AFRL says it is looking to award a contract on August 30 worth $44 million, which will be distributed between fiscal year 2019 and FY-25. The program is being run by AFRL's Radio Frequency Bioeffects Branch.

The update also provides more details on the kind of research AFRL is interested in and the number of projects the contractor will be expected to complete in the years ahead.

"This program includes conducting research to identify the benefits, risks, and capabilities for a wide range of military RF/HPM/PB radiation systems," the notice states. "This includes prediction and mitigation of the bio-effects of DE on personnel and mission performance and exploitation of the bio-effects of DE for DEW applications."

The research will be divided into three categories: biological sciences, RF bioeffects applications and RF/HPM modeling and simulation. This includes cellular, behavioral and physiological research, as well as modeling that can predict future bioeffects of RF/HPM exposure.

The selected researcher will take on one or two large-scale projects that span 12 to 24 months and six to eight smaller projects that span six to 12 months, in addition to between five and seven modeling and simulation efforts.

Labeling DE a "game-changing technology area," the Air Force launched the Directed Energy Weapon Flight Plan in May 2017 to shift scientific research to operational capability. The service is interested in DE technology for forward base defense, aircraft self-protection and precision strike.