Air Force adds eight competitors to growing ABMS industry team

By Sara Sirota / August 3, 2020 at 11:00 AM

The Air Force has added eight companies to the industry team building out the Advanced Battle Management System -- the service's flagship program to enable joint all-domain command and control.

ARES Security, AT&T, Centauri, Cogniac, NanoVMs, Pacific Defense, SRC Inc and Systematic have joined a pool of now 56 ABMS providers, the Defense Department announced in a July 31 contract notice. The companies vary in size and experience working with the military.

They will compete for funds to develop and test capabilities in up to seven ABMS product categories that are designed to help the military connect sensors and shooters on a secure, shared network so warfighters can conduct JADC2 operations.

The vendors are each eligible to win anywhere between $1,000 and $950 million over the next five years as part of their indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts. However, the Air Force's current plan to invest about $3.2 billion to build ABMS between fiscal year 2021 and FY-25 makes it unclear how much funding is specifically intended for distribution to the industry partners.

Occasional on-ramp exercises throughout the year allow companies to demonstrate their offerings for combatant commanders, who can decide if they're not interested or if they want developers to mature, alter or even immediately hand over the products for operational use.

The next two events, scheduled to begin in late August and September, will feature operational scenarios designed by U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Space Command, followed by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

"In the USSPACECOM and USNORTHCOM on-ramp, ABMS-provided systems will connect sensors and fires from ships, submarines, ground troops, aircraft and commercial satellites to shoot down simulated bombers, cruise missiles, unmanned vehicles as well as negate targets in other domains," according to a July 31 news article published on the Air Force's website.

"In the USINDOPACOM onramp, ABMS-provided systems will begin to enable location and platform-agnostic command and control and information availability at the tactical edge in the Pacific," the notice continued.