USAF awards $23.9 million contract for ongoing development of comm systems counterthreat tech

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio. The U.S. Air Force has granted a contract worth $23.9 million to small engineering firm PreTalen (Dayton, Ohio) for continued development of an automated platform that analyzes wireless communication systems and warns of potential vulnerabilities.

PreTalen is in the process of updating its Position, Navigation, and Time () Autonomous Negotiator Applying Cognitive Effects-Based Analysis system, which it calls PANACEA. PreTalen originally developed the PANACEA system in 2015 under the auspices of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program.

The PANACEA system provides a research asset and algorithms to quickly, quantitatively, and confidently assess the vulnerabilities of PNT systems, which serve to accurately and precisely determine one's location and orientation; determine current and desired position and to apply a course, orientation, or speed to reach a position; and maintain accurate and precise time from a standard anywhere in the world. By applying automation algorithms and cognitive analysis, PANACEA uses commercial off-the-shelf () simulators to unveil a PNT system's strengths and weaknesses; both and commercial entities can use PANACEA. The system includes a database for input, output, and analysis of data so users can easily query results from vast tables of test data to quickly assemble sound conclusions and make actionable decisions.

Bruce Hart, PreTalen's chief technology officer, said of the recent contraact: “We are excited to continue our work with the Air Force Research Laboratory in developing innovative cyber radio-frequency solutions for the warfighter, Navigation and systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-based attacks. Working with the team at AFRL to develop solutions to these emerging threats will help ensure our military remains at the forefront of this battlespace.”

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