WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory awarded contracts to Booz Allen Hamilton and Ball Aerospace to research advanced cybersecurity and digital engineering to protect aircraft electronic systems against digital threats.

The Aug. 24 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to try to shield those avionics systems from cyberattacks are worth up to $200 million each over five years. The companies’ research will include cyber assessment and testing tools, cyber-hardening technologies, resilient cyber protections, and open-system architectures, AFRL spokesperson Bryan Ripple said.

The awards are part of AFRL’s Agile and Resilient Platform Architectures program to develop and integrate next-generation avionics cybersecurity tools and new system architectures.

“The challenge that the ARPA program seeks to address is the AF need to rapidly and efficiently field enhanced war-fighting capability in order to maintain technological advantage in highly contested and consistently changing environments,” Ripple said.

Solutions developed under the ARPA program “will be applied to a wide-range of associated platforms that operate within diverse, contested environments,” Ripple noted.

Booz Allen will complete the work in Beavercreek, Ohio, while Ball Aerospace will conduct its research and development at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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