WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army awarded Palantir Technologies a contract worth as much as $250 million to research and experiment with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The arrangement, announced by the Department of Defense on Sept. 26, runs through 2026. Exactly where work will be done and from where funding will be pulled will be determined with each order, it said.

Interest in AI and ML in the defense world has exploded in recent years, with military officials lauding their potential battlefield applications and industry matching the energy.

The Defense Department was juggling more than 685 AI-related projects as of 2021, according to the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog. At least 232 were in the Army’s bailiwick.

Palantir in 2016 won a lawsuit against the service concerning procurement procedures. The company has since secured multiple multimillion-dollar contracts.

The Army in October 2022 tapped Palantir for a five-year predictive maintenance contract worth a little more than $85 million. Military officials want to identify efficiencies and pain points within the supply chain and reduce the amount of time units are sidelined and are leaning into machine-powered forecasts to do so.

Palantir is also helping roll out the Army’s Global Force Information Management system, which consolidates more than a dozen aging applications and provides leaders an automated and holistic view of manpower, equipment, training and troop readiness.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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