DOD experiment showcases multidomain uncrewed systems

By Georgina DiNardo / February 14, 2024 at 3:09 PM

A recent joint military experiment showcased a variety of multidomain uncrewed systems at Camp Roberts, CA, earlier this month, testing emerging technology being pursued by the Pentagon.

The Joint Interagency Field Experimentation event, which took place Feb. 6-8, aimed to “foster the defense innovation ecosystem by bringing together stakeholders across the Department of Defense and U.S. government with technology developers from industry and academia,” according to DOD.

JIFX 24-2, hosted by the office of the under secretary of defense for research and engineering, centered on multidomain uncrewed systems and countermeasures and included about 25 companies and “non-traditional performers” showcasing their technologies.

“Multi-Domain UxS encompasses autonomous vehicles capable of traversing between physical environments, such as moving along in ‘boat mode’ before taking off above the waves as an Unmanned Aircraft System,” DOD said.

The JIFX 24-2 experiments, according to the event website, included a variety of systems ranging from unmanned aerial systems, compact aerial inspection, GPS-denied unmanned aerial vehicles navigation, swarming meteorological measurement systems, systems that assessed off-road autonomous driving capabilities, intelligent humanoid robots, physical tokens for variable text encryption, C5ISR technologies for the tactical edge, target detection using neuromorphic vision, multidomain expeditionary artificial intelligence that analyzes behavior, frontline perception system and holographic situational awareness.

Many of the systems, however, are in line with the stated requirements of the Pentagon’s Replicator initiative, which aims to field thousands of attritable autonomous weapon systems by February-August 2025. However, Cdr. Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesman, told Inside Defense that JIFX 24-2 has "no ties to Replicator."

The systems that JIFX 24-2 showcased are all from small businesses, which is also where Replicator aims to collaborate to strengthen the domestic defense industrial base and explore creative, innovative solutions.

"Collaboration with industry is key to the Department of Defense's ability to resolve some of our greatest technological and security challenges," Heidi Shyu, DOD’s chief technology officer, said in a statement about JIFX 24-2.

"Field showcases like JIFX will allow us to explore, develop and field the capabilities that our troops deserve,” she continued.