Palmer Luckey's young defense company was selected by the Air Force to work on a state-of-the-art, multi-billion dollar nervous system for war. Luckey announced on his Twitter account on Thursday that Anduril is one of the selected vendors for the project known as the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
In the past four months, the Air Force has named more than 50 different vendors working to develop the system, giving everyone the opportunity to earn between $ 1,000 and $ 950 million over the next five years. Amazon Web Services was also selected in the new round providers along with 16 other lesser known companies.
The supplier list includes a number of companies who are not the usual suspects in the Department of Defense. This reflects the “innovative acquisition strategy” which is intended to accelerate the schedule for the ambitious system.
As a three-year startup founded by the controversial Trump booster who created Oculus, ushered in the dawn of consumer VR, and was eventually fired from Facebook, Anduril is spot on.
"The goal of ABMS is to enable the Air Force and the Space Forces to work together and as part of a common team. They connect sensors, decision-makers and weapons via a secure data network that enables rapid decision-making as well as guidance and control of all domains. " according to a press release from the Air Force.
Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics, Will Roper, previously said the ABMS competition would bring “fresh blood”, especially commercially-minded companies “that know a lot about data, know a lot about machine learning, and ( artificial intelligence) and know a lot about analytics. "
Anduril has already taken on a surprising amount of federal work in its short lifespan. In June, the Trump administration awarded Anduril the contract to build a so-called virtual border wall made up of drones, sensor towers and an AI software system – an opportunity for which the company seemed tailor-made from the start.
The ABMS project will ultimately fit into the Department of Defense's work on a system known as Joint All-Domain Command & Control, or JADC2, a type of meta-software platform for warfare that includes all people, devices, and equipment in the air and connects land, ocean, space and cyber and even the electromagnetic spectrum.
According to Luckey's tweet, Anduril's new contract is "for the maturation, demonstration and dissemination of skills across platforms and domains, leveraging open systems design, advanced software and algorithm development to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2)."
“(JADC2) aims to connect every ship, soldier and jet so that ground, air, sea, space and cyber assets share the exact same data and are used almost interchangeably to take out targets can, even in environments where communication is severely trapped or where opponents have advanced air defenses, ”explained Defense One in an article about the project.
Working with the Ministry of Defense was Anduril's final from day one. The company opened this door with key settings, signed contracts with Customs and Border Protection and the Marine Corps, and expanded its small proof of concept: a modular network of hardware and software that could speak to itself and work autonomously.
Just months after launching in 2017, TechCrunch reported that Anduril was interested in "real-time battlefield awareness for soldiers on the ground and at headquarters alike," which sounds pretty much like the company's exploratory new defense work.