The US Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory has awarded a $58m optical radiation bioeffects and safety contract to Science Applications International Corp (SAIC).

SAIC will perform safety engineering and research laser bioeffects, advance vision science, modelling and simulation.

The objective of the laser research programme is to help US Armed Forces to counter optical hazards and threats while increasing their combat survivability.

SAIC National Security Customer Group executive vice-president and general manager Michael LaRouche said: “We need to keep airmen safe and able to perform their missions effectively on a directed energy battlefield.

“Additionally, SAIC will offer machine learning capabilities from its solutions and technology group to enhance laser injury assessments.”

“Having delivered in-house research for the 711 Human Performance Wing – Optical Radiation Bioeffects Branch for the past 26 years, we’re well positioned to deliver next-generation solutions in optical warfare.”

The 75-month cost-plus, fixed-fee contract covers wide-ranging research to define thresholds for biological injury and correlate optical exposure with performance.

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Additionally, SAIC will offer machine learning capabilities from its solutions and technology group to enhance laser injury assessments.

Earlier this year, the company’s subsidiary Engility won a potential seven-year $655m contract to provide satellite ground system support to the USAF’s Space and Missile Systems Center.

SAIC completed the purchase of Engility in a $2.5bn deal two weeks before the contract was awarded.

The contract required the firm to engineer, develop, integrate and sustain the airforce’s ground infrastructure. Work also included supporting the transition into an enterprise ground system environment.