DARPA Adaptive Vehicle Make

Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) is a portfolio of programs overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The three primary programs are META, Instant Foundry Adaptive through Bits (iFAB) and Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Combat Vehicle (FANG GCV) programs.

DARPA Disruptive Manufacturing Technologies page

Adaptive Vehicle Make page

DARPA has proposed 2012 budget which includes a review of projects and what was achieved in 2010 and what is being done in 2011 and what is planned for 2012 (380 pages). Budget is about $3 billion per year.


FY 2010 14.074
FY 2011 49.000
FY 2012 56.000

Description: The goal of the META program is to develop novel design flows, tools, and processes to enable a significant improvement in the ability to design complex defense and aerospace systems that are correct-by-construction. The program seeks to develop a design representation of meta-language and a domain-specific component model library from which system designs can quickly be assembled and their correctness verified with a high degree of certainty. Such a “fab-less” design approach is complemented by a foundry-style manufacturing capability, consisting of a factory capable of rapid reconfiguration between a large number of products and product variants through bitstream reprogramability, i.e., with minimal or no resultant learning curve effects. Together, the fab-less design and foundry-style manufacturing capability is anticipated to yield substantial—by a factor of five to ten—compression in the time to develop and field complex defense and aerospace systems. The META effort will also explore the initial design of a next generation ground combat vehicle by employing a novel, model-based correct-by-construction design capability, a highly-adaptable foundry-style manufacturing capability, and crowd-sourcing methods to demonstrate 5x-10x compression in the timeline necessary to build an infantry fighting vehicle. Beginning in FY 2012, the specific ground vehicle application work will be funded in PE 0602702E, Project TT-04, Advanced Land Systems.

FY 2010 Accomplishments:
– Began development of a new model-based systems engineering process, novel design, integration, and verification flows, and appropriate supporting metrics.
– Began development of a meta-language for the representation of models of both software and physical system components.

FY 2011 Plans:
– Continue development of supporting tools necessary to implement the model-based design, integration, and verification flows.
– Begin development of a foundry configuration toolset to enable the (re)configuration of foundry-style manufacturing capabilities for a given required degree of manufacturing adaptability.
– Exercise feedback loop between manufacturability constraints and the system design toolset.
– Begin development and testing of crowd-sourced design infrastructure for electromechanical and software systems for a next generation ground combat vehicle.

FY 2012 Plans:
– Develop a domain-specific component model library for the military ground vehicle domain through extensive characterization of desirable and spurious interactions, dynamics, and properties of all constituent components down to the numbered part level.
– Develop context models to reflect various operational environments.
– Develop a domain-specific foundry configuration for military ground vehicles.
– Begin the assembly and integration of foundry-style manufacturing capability for military ground vehicles.
– Develop and implement an infrastructure for publishing and maintaining detailed component models using the metalanguage construct to expand the design space for subsequent efforts to design and build a military ground vehicle.
– Develop a mechanism for the feedback of manufacturability constraints into the design and design tradespace exploration process.
– Develop and integrate a library of various fabrication processes and associated manufacturing elements, i.e., machines and techniques employed to produce the various constituent elements of the military ground vehicle.

Fast, Adaptable, Next Generation Ground Combat Vehicle (FANG)

FY 2012 $20 million
Description: The goals of the Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Combat Vehicle (FANG) program are to employ a novel, model-based correct-by-construction design capability, a highly-adaptable foundry-style manufacturing capability, and design The program seeks to develop an open-source development infrastructure for the aggregation of designer inputs applicable to complex electromechanical systems as well as software, and to exercise this infrastructure with a series of design challenges, leading to prize awards and builds of winning designs in a foundry-style, rapidly configurable manufacturing facility. The design challenges will culminate in a complete build of a next generation infantry fighting vehicle to a requirements set loosely analogous to the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle-but executed on a roughly one-year timescale. Additionally, the program will pursue an explicit outreach activity to high school-age students to teach the principles of model-based design and distributed foundry-style manufacturing to build a next-generation cadre of manufacturing innovators. Initial ground vehicle design work is funded under the META program in PE 0602303E, Project IT-02.

FY 2012 Plans:
– Complete the development and begin operational testing of the crowd-sourced vehicle design environment.
– Perform experimental subsystem designs and subsequent design builds using the vehicle design environment as well as the iFAB foundry.
– Promulgate component model libraries, foundry capabilities, and objective design criteria for a mobility and drivetrain challenge.
– Conduct a competitive, crowd-sourced design challenge for the mobility and drivetrain subsystem of an infantry fighting vehicle.
– Continue high school outreach effort for the procurement, deployment, and utilization of a distributed additive manufacturing capability.

Materials Processing and Manufacturing
FY 2010 16.300
FY 2011 14.034
FY 2012 11.000

Description: The Materials Processing and Manufacturing thrust is exploring new manufacturing and processing approaches that will dramatically lower the cost and decrease the time it takes to fabricate DoD systems. It will also develop approaches that yield new materials and materials capabilities that cannot be made through conventional processing approaches as well as address efficient, low-volume manufacturing. Included are disruptive manufacturing approaches for raw materials and components, advanced carbon fiber material, and manufacturable gradient index optics.

FY 2010 Accomplishments:
– Synthesized new high molecular weight carbon fiber polymer precursor materials dispersed with additives to enhance fiber strength and stiffness in downstream processing.
– Demonstrated ability to characterize flaws in carbon fiber at all scales relevant to strength and stiffness performance (i.e., nano-, micro-, and macro-sized defects).
– Demonstrated ability to control defect type, size, and concentration to optimize carbon fiber properties.
– Transitioned non-autoclave tooling and materials/processes to large-scale polymer matrix composite (PMC) fabricators.
– Produced functional, integrally cored molds suitable for turbine foil casting trials at commercial foundry.
– Demonstrated out-of-the-autoclave PMC curing capability to fabricate large complex parts such as co-cured rib/spar structures and multi-pocketed sandwich structures for a high-altitude, long-endurance vertical tail aircraft.
– Initiated development of optical design tools with incorporated material properties and fabrication parameters.
– Exploited new capabilities in design and fabrication to spatially control the index of refraction in materials, resulting in the demonstration of a prototype short wave infrared (SWIR) lens made with gradient index (GRIN) materials.

FY 2011 Plans

– Initiate carbon nanotube templating as a means of alleviating nano-scale defects and enhancing carbon fiber tensile strength and modulus.
– Enhance carbon fiber properties via cross-planar bonding.
– Start evaluation and testing by Air Force Composites Testing Lab to establish first generation advanced carbon fiber insertion points within Air Force systems.
– Demonstrate successful casting of superalloy turbine blades using ceramic molds made or produced via direct digital manufacturing.
– Demonstrate fabrication of large composite wing (at the 50 ft x 10 ft scale) and a complex polymer composite structure using the out-of-the-autoclave process for High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) prototype aircraft.
– Demonstrate GRIN lenses in imaging and non-imaging applications such as a high-resolution imager for micro-UAV and solid state-tracking solar concentrator, and demonstrate the manufacture of custom lenses in single- and high-volume lots.
– Demonstrate expanded range and rate of refractive index gradient through new materials development or processes.
– Develop and test new metrology for GRIN materials and optics.
– Produce scale to manufacturing plan including cost model and risk management plan.

FY 2012 Plans:
– Demonstrate microstructure/property/process relationship needed for overcoming critical defect limitations in carbon fiber performance for structural applications.
– Demonstrate carbon fiber with 100 percent improvement in strength and 50 percent improvement in stiffness over today’s stateof-the-art high-performance structural carbon fibers.
– Demonstrate scalability of fiber production process for structural carbon fiber in suitable quantities for small-lot manufacturing.
– Demonstrate proof of concept for disruptive manufacturing of ceramic matrix composites.
– Significantly accelerate the speed and accuracy of modeling and simulation tools in the design of electromechanical systems.

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