Dates to Remember

Abstract Submission Begins:
13 May 2024

Abstract Submission Deadline: 
15 August 2024, 8:00 p.m. ET

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The AIAA DEFENSE Forum covers the strategic, programmatic, and technical topics and policy issues pertaining to the aerospace and defense community. Sessions will be held on topics such as cyberspace, hypersonic systems, innovative concepts and emerging technologies, missile defense, robotic and unmanned weapon systems, space defense, strategic and tactical missile systems, targets and countermeasures, weapon systems performance, analysis, modeling and simulation, testing and evaluation. To enable effective discussions and briefings, material presented and discussed during this forum is encouraged to be at the Secret/NOFORN clearance level. All attendees and presenters must have a final SECRET clearance or higher in order to participate. 

Abstracts for this forum must be UNCLASSIFIED and cleared for public release with unlimited distribution. All authors must first receive publication approval from their companies and/or sponsoring agencies before submitting their abstracts. If it is not possible to get the necessary approval before the abstract deadline, please submit a file (download template) that includes your name and contact info and someone from the committee will contact you.

For 2025, we are soliciting presentations in the following technical disciplines:

Advanced Prototypes

Please direct questions to: 
Andrea Scouras, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Daniel Newman, Honeywell

Innovative engineering solutions are necessary to field advanced systems that provide the DoD with new and improved capabilities in both modern and future mission spaces. Novel approaches to thermal management, structural and aerodynamic design, power and control devices, optics, manufacturing processes, and other related areas can help make conceptual systems a reality. Briefings are solicited for a session highlighting hardware; the engineering, manufacturing, and assembly challenges associated with building and fielding advanced prototypes in areas of interest to the DoD. Briefings about enabling technologies as well as advanced platforms are invited.

  • Engineering Trades Required to Demonstrate Key Aspects of a Capable, Fieldable and Supportable System
  • Hardware Design, Build, and Test Challenges and Successes
  • Implementation of Novel Technology and Hardware to Enable New, Affordable and Sustainable DoD Capabilities
  • Innovative Manufacturing and Design Processes, including Digital Engineering
  • Low-Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) Multifunctional Components
  • New Approaches to Power Generation and Management
  • Prototyping/Design Cycle Schedule and Cost Reduction Strategies
  • Other Topics in Advanced Prototypes
Air and Missile Defense

Please direct questions to: 
Rick Gamble, Axient Corp. LLC
David Fox, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Air and Missile Defense requirements continue to broaden as new threats emerge on land, sea, air, and space. This Forum topic seeks technical briefings on existing, newly deployed, and emerging concepts for missile defense. Effective Air and Missile Defense assimilates a wide range of capabilities across the air and missile defense timeline and system, and, as such, briefings are requested on threat detection and characterization, air and missile defense subsystems such as interceptors or command/control, and integrated air and missile defense systems to defeat multiple threat types. Other innovative topics not included in the subtopic list will also be considered.

  • Ballistic Defense Concepts and Systems
  • Counter-UAS Concepts and Systems
  • Hypersonic Defense Concepts and Systems
  • Missile Defense in Other Battlefield Domains
  • Space Development Agency Collaboration
  • Threat Characterization
  • Other Topics In Missile Defense
Autonomy, Collaborative Engagement, Machine Intelligence, Robotic and Uncrewed Systems

Please direct questions to: 
Phil Benner, Raytheon

Autonomous and uncrewed systems offer new capabilities and game-changing opportunities for the U.S. military. Applications for these systems include C3, ISR, weapons systems platforms, and ground/air safety. Policies and technologies are needed to define operational space and tools and testing are needed to characterize performance limits and competence. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Autonomous Systems
  • Autonomous Systems and the T&E and Safety Communities - Processes and Procedures for Certification
  • Applications of Commercial Best Practices to DoD
  • Architectures
  • Counter-Autonomy
  • Defense Against Robotic/Unmanned Systems
  • Edge Perception
  • "Explainable" AI - Towards Understanding the “Black Box” Nature of Deep Neural Networks
  • Fragility in Today's ML Techniques
  • Future of "Algorithmic Warfare"
  • Human-Machine Teaming
  • Large-Scale Data and SW Dev Frameworks for ML
  • Miniaturization
  • Payloads
  • Remotely piloted vehicles, UAVs
  • Sparse Data Machine Learning
  • Tactical UAVs and Spacecraft
  • Verification and Validation of Autonomous Systems and effects on DoD Directive 3000.09
Digital Engineering

Please direct questions to: 
Michael Belisle, Northrop Grumman
Darcy Allison, Raytheon Technologies

Digital Engineering (DE) is enabling the acceleration, integration, and adoption of existing and new digital technologies using authoritative data, models, and systems across functional disciplines and supporting product lifecycle development and management from concept through design, validation, manufacture, sustainment, and disposal. The core digital engineering subtopics below are supporting the development of technical content and digital engineering capabilities in terms of definition, value, technology frameworks, reference models, case studies on implementations, recommendations, training & development, and advocacy. These are in support of driving US national competitiveness, security, and operational readiness. Additional specific complications and hurdles may be encountered when applying these topics to classified programs. Presentations are solicited on all topics, and where applicable, details are encouraged on classified program implementations.

  • Cultural Change
  • Digital Ecosystem
  • Digital Engineering Design Processes and Use Cases
  • Digital Mission Engineering
  • Digital Modeling & Simulation with ML/AI and/or HPC
  • Digital Systems Modeling
  • Digital Thread
  • Digital Twin
  • Elements of Digital Engineering - Viewpoints About Aggregation of Elements
  • Knowledge-Based Engineering Applied to Retention and Reuse of Engineering Knowledge and Data
  • Model-Based Engineering - Product and Environment Digital Twin Simulations
  • Sensor Fusion - Cyber/physical Relationship Between Simulation and Reality
  • Uncertainty Quantification and Management in Digital Engineering and Digital Twins
  • Value of Digital Engineering - ROI Associated with Enterprise Level Digital Transformations
Directed Energy Weapons

Please direct questions to: 
Mark Neice, Directed Energy Professional Society
Gary Wood, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Directed Energy Weapons are emerging for Defense applications. This session will look at DE capabilities that can be implemented in an airborne environment, for both defensive and offensive operations. Presentations are solicited for laser DEW, RF and microwave DEW and any other form of airborne DEWs. In addition to the weapon source technology, other technologies as they relate to airborne DE are important such as: primer power, thermal management, beam control, beam propagation, command and control, sensors, and lethality. Of particular interest are DEW systems, how DEWs fit within a system of systems concept and how DEWs affect operational scenarios. The Committee is seeking briefings on the use of DEWs that address the capabilities listed below.

  • Coordination of Conventional Weapons with DEWs
  • Counter to Swarming Attacks
  • Counter-RAM
  • Counter-Sensors/ISR
  • Counter-UAVs
  • Means to Extend the Range of DEWs
  • Minimizing the Environmental Impacts on DEW Effectiveness
  • Other Topics in Directed Energy Weapons
Guidance, Navigation, Control, and Estimation

Please direct questions to: 
Michael Niestroy, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Isaac Weintraub, Air Force Research Laboratory

Current and future defense systems rely more than ever on advanced guidance, navigation, control, and estimation to achieve precision, reliability and autonomy in challenging adversarial environments. Unmanned platforms, missiles, spacecraft, and even manned vehicles, ground support systems, and data networks are achieving unprecedented levels of performance and robustness by leveraging breakthroughs in components, machine learning, computer vision, cooperative/distributed algorithms, autonomous navigation, optimal guidance, feedback control, sensor fusion, and other technical areas. Presentations describing such advances in algorithms, software, and hardware are solicited, as are presentations on alternative position, navigation and timing (PNT), novel applications, improvements to existing systems, field test results, and lessons learned.

  • Adaptive Autopilots
  • Alternative Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)
  • Autonomous Navigation
  • Feedback Control
  • Optimal Guidance
  • Sensor Fusion
  • Other Topics in Guidance, Navigation, Control, and Estimation
High-Maneuverability and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies

Please direct questions to: 
Ken Gould, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Chris Reynolds, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Presentations are solicited for a session addressing hypersonic and high-speed flight systems and technologies. This call is intended to include systems that utilize a significant phase of hypersonic flight within the atmosphere including hypersonic ISR vehicles, hypersonic cruise missiles, gun-launched hypervelocity projectiles and hypersonic boost-glide vehicles. There is interest in concepts using sustained air-breathing propulsion, rocket-boosted vehicles with significant unpowered glide capabilities, and innovative hybrid propulsion systems. There is particular interest in key enabling air vehicle technologies as well as end-to-end system concepts that bring revolutionary military capabilities to the warfighter and the enabling technologies necessary for mission success with high-speed systems.

  • Advanced Flight Control and Trajectory Optimization
  • Aerothermal Modeling and Phenomenology of Hypersonic Flowfields
  • Ground Testing and Flight Testing of Hypersonic Systems
  • High Temperature Materials and Affordable Manufacturing
  • Hypersonic Flight Vehicle Design and System Concept Studies
  • Hypersonic Propulsion
  • Innovative Techniques for Defending Against Adversary Hypersonic System Capabilities
  • Seeker and Targeting Technologies for High-Speed Strike Weapons
  • Subsystem Development for Hypersonic Vehicles
  • Other Topics in High-Maneuverability and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies
Space Access and Space Systems

Please direct questions to: 
Michael McFarland, RTX

Access to and freedom of operation in space are critical to national security. Space systems are in the defense news daily, spanning topics from acquisition to user services to resiliency and survivability. Space systems are the basis for U.S. assured access to space, consisting of launch vehicles, spacecraft, payloads, ground support equipment, launch operations and ranges and test hardware used in ground testing and operations. Space systems also include operations centers to maintain space vehicles or spacecraft on orbit. The size and type of DoD space systems is changing, with the defense community increasingly leveraging commercial capabilities as well as advancements in additive manufacturing, propulsion, sensing, machine vision, autonomy (including AI/ML applications), and communications. Space Systems require rigorous developmental test and evaluation due to the harsh launch, landing and operational space environments, and must function the first time and every time when called upon. Emphasis is on rapid and effective fielding of space assets and compressed space acquisition cycles. Submissions are solicited that address any of these aspects of state-of-the-art military space:

  • Component Technology Development and Maturation
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ground Support Equipment
  • Launch Operations
  • Launch Vehicles
  • Offensive Capabilities and Boosters
  • Payloads
  • Ranges
  • Spacecraft
  • Space Launch (short and long range)
  • Space Traffic Management: Proliferation, Risk, Mitigation and Policy
  • Test Hardware
  • Other Topics in Space Access and Systems
Strategic Missile Systems

Please direct questions to: 
Mark Olmos, Northrop Grumman
Alexander Edsall, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

Presentations are solicited for sessions for Strategic Missile Systems, focusing on future requirements, development of new technical and operational concepts, modernization and sustainment of existing weapon systems, lowering life cycle costs, and application of innovative engineering and manufacturing processes. Challenges include lowering future cost of ownership, mitigating technology obsolescence and industrial base evolution, providing flexibility, diversity, responsiveness, accuracy, and survivability for long-term effectiveness, and assuring safety, security and reliability. Technical presentations are solicited for engineering, science and technology developments applicable to fire control and launch systems, missiles, and reentry vehicles.

  • Advanced Concepts, Including Penetration Aids, Underwater Launch, & Radiation Hardening
  • Advanced Technology for Thermal Protection, Propulsion, Avionics, Sensors & Materials/Structures
  • Aging Effects, Surveillance, & Age Management
  • Air-Launched Ballistic Missiles
  • Concepts to Leverage Technologies, Design Approaches, & Infrastructure Across Weapon Systems
  • Design & Operational Concepts for Future Strategic Weapon Systems
  • Ground Test, Flight Test, & Alternative Test Methods
  • Land-Based Strategic Missile Systems
  • Modeling & Simulation Techniques for Strategic Missiles & Subsystems
  • Other Component Technologies for Meeting Unique Strategic Requirements
  • Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrent
  • System Enablers for Affordability for Strategic Missiles
  • Test & Evaluation for Strategic Missiles, Booster, Reentry & Subsystems
  • Underwater Launch
  • Weather Effects on Reentry Vehicle Performance
  • Other Topics in Strategic Missile Systems

Please direct questions to: 
Carrell McAllister, JASPO

The Survivability Technical Committee (SURTC) promotes the research and development of new technologies that define the state-of-the-art in survivability. Survivability is the capability of a system to avoid or withstand a hostile environment (man-made or otherwise). Therefore, the survivability discipline forms part of the systems engineering process and is affected by all other engineering disciplines, such as materials (e.g., armor applications), and structures (e.g., resilient structures). The SURTC is looking to the future as game changers emerge and revolutionize the discipline, and, in addition to the topics listed below, is particularly interested in advanced materials and structures for survivability.

  • Additive Manufacturing and Survivability (e.g., Improved/Faster Battle-Damage Repairs)
  • Aerospace Survivability and the Cyberspace/Information Domain
  • Armor/Anti-Armor
  • Autonomy and Survivability (e.g. Survivability of Autonomous Agents, Adaptive Survivability)
  • General Survivability
  • Space and Space Launch Systems
  • Space Junk: Proliferation, Risk, Mitigation and Policy
  • Survivability Against Directed Energy Weapons
  • Survivability Game Changers: Emerging Technological Solutions That Will Revolutionize Survivability
  • System Safety, Protection, and Health Monitoring
  • Other Topics in Survivability
System and Decision Analysis for National Security

Please direct questions to: 
Bradley Steinfeldt, Sandia National Laboratories
Jarret Lafleur, Sandia National Laboratories
Keith Labbe, Navy Strategic Systems Program

National security decision-makers often turn to system-level decision analyses to help them evaluate the differences in cost, risk, and benefit of alternative future options. These analyses usually include some of the following elements: definition of objectives, criteria, and metrics; brainstorming, definition, and enumeration of alternative systems or approaches; modeling and evaluation of alternatives against criteria; and conversion of multi-criteria analyses into overall alternative evaluations and recommendations. This topic area seeks to bring together professionals from throughout the defense industry to share methods, lessons learned, and insights in system-level decision analysis gained during national security work. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Conceptual Design and Evaluation
  • Data Visualization and Communication
  • Economic and Resource Analysis
  • Methods and Tools for Decision Analysis
  • Performance and Capability Analysis
  • Policy Trade Studies
  • Risk Analysis
  • Other Topics in System and Decision Analysis for National Security
System Performance Modeling and Simulation

Please direct questions to: 
Allison Cash, Dynetics
Timothy Wadhams, CUBRC
Otmar (Nick) Yakaboski, U.S. Air Force AFLCMC

Measurement, analysis, modeling and simulation is critical to understanding the capabilities and limitations of our systems across the battlespace. Briefings are solicited for new and innovative analysis techniques, high fidelity and fast-running models, component and system simulations, algorithms, threat/target modeling techniques, technology development, and design maturity. Systems of interest span kinetic, hypersonic and directed energy weapons across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Missile Defense Agency.

  • Computational M&S Test Predictions
  • Debris and Post-Intercept Sensor Scene Modeling and Simulation Predictions & Reconstruction
  • Digital/Model-Based Engineering
  • Distributed Architectures and Modeling Joint Operations
  • M&S Assessments on the Cost of Weapon System Test and Evaluation and Ops
  • M&S Criteria Development and Predictions
  • Network Communication Standards
  • New and Innovative Modeling Techniques for First Principle Codes (FPCs)
  • New M&S Codes, Models and Techniques
  • New M&S Employed in the Assessment of Weapon Systems
  • Novel Applications
  • Payload Integration
  • Propulsion Design
  • Risk Reduction Through Weapon System M&S
  • Secondary Damage Modeling, Effects and Consequences, Including Casualty Modeling
  • Stability and Control Prediction/Guidance and Navigation Control
  • Transition Modeling Prediction
  • Warheads/Warhead Effects
  • Weapon System Effectiveness M&S of Lethality for Kinetic Energy Weapons
  • Other System Performance, Modeling and Simulation Topics
Tactical Missiles

Please direct questions to: 
Mark Friedlander, Aerojet Rocketdyne/L3Harris

Presentations are solicited on advances in the research, development, test, and evaluation of Joint, Army, Navy, and Air Force tactical missiles. Papers may address components or systems. Papers are solicited for sessions on tactical surface-to-surface, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missile systems. This topic area is intended to bring together technology developers and customers of all types to share not only new technology developments and results from analysis, simulation, and testing, but also operational lessons learned. Papers may address testing, design, and or analyses of systems, subsystems, components, software, or algorithms.

  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing: Sensors, Embedded Diagnostics, Additive Manufacturing
  • Insensitive Munitions for Propulsion and Warheads: Design Approaches, Modeling, and Test Results
  • Modeling, and Simulation: Integration, Targeting, Weapon Effectiveness, and Lessons Learned
  • Propulsion and GNC: Thrust Vectoring, Pulse Motors, Controllable Solids, Sensors, Algorithms
  • Test: Missile Integration, Targeting Capabilities, Weapon Effectiveness, and Lessons Learned
  • Other Topics Relating to Tactical Missiles
Test and Evaluation

Please direct questions to: 
Allison Cash, Dynetics
Timothy Wadhams, CUBRC

Testing and evaluation, from phenomenology to operational, provides confirmation of the effectiveness of our weapon systems and anchors our models and simulations. There have been many recent efforts to modernize testing infrastructures and develop low cost, high value techniques. This technical area invites participants in those efforts to highlight their achievements, results and plans by providing presentations highlighting recent test events and development efforts. Of particular interest are papers discussing new test venues, equipment, techniques, novel instrumentation and data collection methods for flight, ground, arena, gun, wind tunnel and anechoic chamber tests. Additionally, data management, utilization and performance criteria development and lessons learned are also of interest.

  • Assessments on the Cost of Weapon System Test and Evaluation
  • Comparison of Flight, Ground, and Computational Results
  • Debris and Post-Intercept Sensor Scene Results and Comparisons
  • Demonstrated Weapon System Effectiveness and Lethality for Kinetic Energy Weapons
  • Evaluation of Results, Criteria Development, and Assessment
  • Flight, Ground, and Computational Test Execution and Results
  • New Diagnostics Employed in the Assessment of Weapon Systems
  • New Venues and Testing Techniques
  • Risk Reduction Through Weapon System Test and Evaluation
  • Wind Tunnel, Anechoic Chamber, Directed Energy Ranges, and Other Test Types
  • Other Topics in Test and Evaluation
Weapon Systems History and Lessons Learned

Please direct questions to: 
Mark Friedlander, Aerojet Rocketdyne/L3Harris

Presentations are solicited describing the history of discovery, development, evolution, or testing of weapon and missile systems, components, or technologies. Presentations on the histories of facilities or sites are also invited. Likewise, presentations describing “lessons learned” with respect to weapons and missile systems, components, or technologies are also desired. Examples of systems of interest include, but are not limited to, cruise missiles, interceptors (THAAD, Patriot, PAC-3, Iron Dome…), Air-to-Air systems (Sidewinder, AMRAAM…), Surface-to-surface missiles (Dragon, TOW, Javelin…), Strategic systems (C4, D5, Minuteman, Pershing…), Air-to-Surface systems (JASM, ALCM/CALCM…) and Hypersonic Missiles. This topic area is intended to share significant events that may span many years or decades in an attempt to preserve and transfer valuable knowledge.

Weapon System Operational Performance

Please direct questions to: 
Allison Cash, Dynetics
Timothy Wadhams, CUBRC

Assessing operational performance of weapon systems ensures mission success for the warfighter and cost effectiveness for the DoD. This topic area focuses on force level, mission level, and weapon system performance assessment.

  • Combat Modeling, Force Level, and Mission Level Assessment
  • Cost and Effectiveness Assessment
  • Cost of Weapon System Employment and Ops
  • Data Acquisition and Assessment
  • Direct and Indirect Fire Weapon System Performance
  • Measured Post-Intercept and/or Impact Debris
  • New Employment or Assessment of Weapon Systems
  • Probability of Hit & Kill
  • Other Topics in Weapon System Operational Performance

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