Topic Releases

Army Seeks Small Business Innovation For Aviation Systems

Published: 07/13/2021

The U.S. Army is looking for the most innovative solutions from small businesses in wind measurement systems, which have the potential to change the future of Army aviation weapon systems.

The Army Applied Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program released a Direct to Phase II contract opportunity for U.S.-based small businesses to provide high-tech solutions for “Holistic Wind Correction for Aviation Targeting,” an urgent Army priority. This Direct to Phase II award is up to $1.7M and 18 months in duration and available to small businesses that have completed the proof-of-concept stage—meaning they can skip the Phase I and start Phase II with Army SBIR funding.

“The Army’s top aviation modernization need is to provide an effective, mature, and affordable fire control solution capability for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, or FARA, weapon system,” said COL Matthew Isaacson from the Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team. “An effective and accurate system ensures lethality and survivability when conducting air missions against peer and near-peer adversaries; the combination of innovation and technology maturity is best informed by including all of industry, including innovative small businesses.”

The pre-release period for this topic began 7 July and ends 20 July. During that time, companies can submit questions to the DSIP Portal and via email. The official submission period for proposals opens 21 July and closes 21 August at noon EST. Full proposal packages must be submitted through the DSIP Portal. Additional information can be found on SAM.gov.

For the release of this topic, the Army Applied SBIR Program implemented its new Transition Broker Team construct, in which Army Soldiers, researchers and technologists, and acquisition officers use technology scouting to identify emerging capabilities from industry that can contribute to the Army’s critical needs. In this case, the team focused on sensors. The Transition Broker Team prioritizes Army program activities and quickly responds to emerging capability needs and business realities, so topics can be released on a rapid cycle.

“We want to be expeditious in our approach by scouting the tech landscape to determine which technologies respond to not only the Army’s needs, but small business needs as well,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Director, Army Applied SBIR and Prize Competitions, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA (R&T)).

To capitalize on small-business innovation and respond to the most urgent Defense and Army modernization needs, the Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on an ad hoc, rolling basis. This flexibility and timeliness for emerging needs seeks to maximize the initial cash-flow for small businesses while minimizing the time to contract.

The Applied SBIR program aims to help small businesses overcome the inherent challenges they face when engaging in government research and development compared to their larger counterparts. The awards offer a unique opportunity for small businesses to interact with Army Soldiers and technical subject matter experts, as well as receive feedback on their technology maturation.

“It’s a mutually beneficial partnership,” Willis said. “We work with companies every step of the way to accelerate their technology and propel them to success, and their technology then fuels our military on the frontlines.”

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