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Scientists and engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) presented 16 technology research projects in various stages of maturity during the second biennial Department of Defense Lab Day recently, which took place in the Pentagon center courtyard.

The DOD Lab Day was hosted by Mary J. Miller, the acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, with a theme of “DOD Labs and Warfare Centers: Solving Problems Today – Designing Solutions for Tomorrow.”

“Our Airmen have been leaders in innovation for more than a century,” said Jeff H. Stanley, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology, and engineering. “Today we had the great opportunity to showcase many of our science and technology efforts. AFRL is truly at the forefront of helping ensure our nation maintains technological superiority.”

One development, known as the Ninja Counter–sUAS System, is developing solutions to identify drones, determine the source, and offer a counter measure when necessary. The Ninja solution has been developed to match the pace of commercial drone development and keep warfighters safe.

The Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology Program (LCAAT) is a research area that seeks to introduce a UAV to support warfighters with a lower cost than traditional manned aircraft, while meeting capability requirements for support in contested areas. Lower productions costs associated with the LCAAT program will allow different classes of UAVs to augment manned weapon systems and have highly optimized roles for specific missions including weapons delivery, locating targets, or communications.

“The basic problem that we’re trying to work is to address the continued escalation of costs associated with exquisite aircraft systems and when we look to the future, that trend is not going to change,” Bill Baron, from AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and program manager for the LCAAT initiative told According to Stanley, “Combining low cost attritable unmanned aircraft systems with autonomy will provide a game-changing capability that transforms the way we build and buy and the way we fly and fight. The design, logistics, and operations philosophy of an attritable system with autonomy is revolutionary.”

One AFRL exhibit, called Military Applications of Gene Editing Technology, highlighted research into how geneticists and medical researchers edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence in order to remove a virus or disease caused by harmful chemical, biological or environmental agents a warfighter may have contact with.