F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's Cybersecurity and Cyber Defense Challenge

CHALLENGE NOTICE: F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO)

Challenge Complete

This challenge focuses on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's cybersecurity and cyber defense capabilities. Cyber security, resilience, and survivability of the F-35 air system are critical to national security and necessary to maintain air dominance in any future conflict. This challenge release is the first stage of a multi-stage selection process to augment existing security by developing and integrating promising technologies onto the F-35 aircraft and supporting ground systems. Proposed technologies should expand on traditional cybersecurity approaches to meet the unique needs of the air system, such as automated inflight detection and response, to increase its cyber resilience and survivability.


This Challenge notice is issued solely for information purposes. It does not constitute a request for proposal, request for quotation, or invitation for bid, or a promise to issue any in the future, nor does its issuance obligate or restrict the U.S. Government to an eventual acquisition approach. Respondents are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this announcement; all costs associated with responding to this Challenge will be solely at the interested parties' expense. Any information submitted by respondents to this request is strictly voluntary. Information on the specific topics of interest is provided in the following sections of this announcement. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to provide feedback with respect to any information submitted. Select respondents may be invited to participate in follow-up stages to the Challenge as discussed below. If the Government does pursue follow-on activities with participants in this event, those actions will be governed via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects (10 U.S.C. 2371b), Prizes for advanced technology achievements (10 U.SC. 2374a), and/or Prize Competitions (15 U.S.C. 3719).

All responses should be unclassified. Any export-controlled or proprietary information submitted should be identified as such and will be properly protected from disclosure. The Government shall not be liable for damages related to proprietary information that is not properly identified. Be advised that members of the Evaluation Team may include JPO support personnel such as Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and The MITRE Corporation. This list is not all inclusive and may change based on Government decision. If a Participant prefers its submission not be shared with personnel outside of MISI and Government personnel, please make this clear in your submission and it will be handled accordingly.


Defending against advanced cyber threats is critical for all modern military systems. Adversary methods and techniques continue to evolve thus the ability to adapt and minimize impacts is crucial. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO) Cyber Team is seeking innovative solutions to inform and integrate cyber event detection and response capabilities, meant for Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) systems, including but not limited to communication busses such as 1394, 1553, TCP/IP. A critical consideration for potential technologies will be minimal Size, Weight, and Power requirements.

Challenge Statement

Seeking industry/academia/government partners to develop and integrate technologies to be a part of an aircraft-based real-time capability to enhance resilience through automatically detecting, responding, and/or recovering from a range of cyber events (IP and non-IP based) to mitigate existing and emerging threats. Proposals should support an increase in capability to anticipate a threat, withstand a threat, and/or assure mission essential functions, thus increasing the resiliency and survivability of the aircraft. Solutions may also include methods to alert pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight, and isolating or preventing various attack attempts in a way that does not impact/hinder flight safety, both during and after anomaly/event isolation (e.g., fail-safe).


JPO's ultimate goal is to integrate new advances in cyber protection capabilities into the F-35 architecture to increase mission assurance. The optimal solution will leverage open system design and cyber resiliency principles to facilitate the integration of components (hardware/software/firmware) from various sources and allow for seamless updates and technology insertions to respond to emerging cybersecurity threats. For this Challenge, the JPO seeks all forms of creative and innovative advancements and technologies.

Basis of Evaluation

  • Feasibility of overall system integration
  • Operating environment applicability
  • Alignment to industry and DOD cyber resiliency strategies


This challenge is open to the public – any and all parties are eligible to participate. There is no fee to register nor to enter this Challenge.

Participants are requested to submit a single-page Quad Chart response in accordance with this template. Quad Charts shall be submitted via email to mindscape@misi.tech no later than March 3rd, 2022.

Selected participants may receive invitations to demonstrate their solution in greater detail. Future iterations of the Challenge may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Submission of additional technical narrative regarding the solution
  2. Prototyping Event or Live Test/Demonstration
  3. Pilot of technology on actual aviation platforms


Submissions to this challenge are now closed.

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