USAF Issues Weapon Swarm Research Contract

Atlanta-based Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp. on Dec. 19 received an $85 million contract for the Air Force’s “Golden Horde” project that aims to show weapons can work together in self-directed swarms.

“The five-year contract provides support for research and development of emerging munition technologies, as well as integrated weapon demonstrations,” according to a Defense Department contract announcement. “The effort is conceptualized as a fast-paced Air Force Research Laboratory-led demonstration project executed under the auspices of the Team Eglin [AFB, Fla.] Weapon Consortium.”

The first phase of work will run through December 2021. USAF chose the company without a competition.

Earlier this year, California-based Scientific Applications Research Associates won $100 million to participate in Golden Horde as well.

The demonstration is one of AFRL’s initial “vanguard” programs that will pull resources from across the lab to speed development. It replaced the earlier “Gray Wolf” missile swarming effort to instead network weapons already in the Air Force inventory.

“If we drop a number of the same genus, let’s say, so all [Small Diameter Bombs] being able to act together, … if we dropped one and one and one and one, can the four of them act collaboratively together on an engagement?” Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, the service’s program executive officer for weapons, said in June.