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Army SBIR releases six contract opportunities for AI/ML, power and sensor solutions

Published: 04/16/2024

By Anna Volkwine, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army SBIR Program

The U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research Program launched six Phase I and Phase II contract opportunities in April. Four of these opportunities focus on sensor-related technologies, while the other two prioritize power, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Via the solicitations, the Army requests small and nontraditional businesses submit proposals based on the following innovative technologies: Low-Cost Longwave Bolometer Camera Fabrication Techniques; Lightweight Longwave Bolometer Sensor Components; Ensuring Sensor Data Security and Integrity; Low-Cost Persistent Multi-Sensor Surveillance; Tactical Micro-Grid Standard Add-On for Power Sources; and AI-Enabled ARP, Select and Monitor.

Eligible applicants must submit proposal packages through the Defense SBIR|STTR Innovation Portal. Interested vendors can view high-level descriptions of the contract opportunities below. For more in-depth information, navigate to the individual solicitation pages linked within the topic headings.

The pre-release date for each contract opportunity began April 16. The open submission window for each begins May 16 and ends June 13.

Low-Cost Longwave Bolometer Camera Fabrication Techniques 

​​​​​The Low-Cost Longwave Bolometer Camera Fabrication Techniques solicitation seeks technologies related to thermal longwave infrared capabilities. The cost of high-resolution sensors often forces the Army to use less capable payloads. To address this challenge, the Army requests vendors develop a thermal sensor payload with a comparable size, weight, power and performance to current commercial offerings while also providing a high-definition array and dramatically reduced unit price.  Firms could accomplish this by using novel manufacturing techniques, new materials systems, innovative components or module designs.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $2 million | Direct to Phase II (Up to 18 months)

Lightweight Longwave Bolometer Sensor Components  

​​​The Lightweight Longwave Bolometer Sensor Components solicitation seeks vendors who can lower the size, weight and power of thermal, bolometer-type longwave sensor payloads, which is of paramount importance for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. However, limited as they are by these payload constraints, such sensors often underperform and cannot take advantage of the higher performance embedded hardware necessary for autonomy or other missions. To tackle these challenges, the Army wants to develop components that offer thermal payload weight reduction and improved capabilities at a lower unit cost.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $250,000 | Phase I (Up to 6 months)

Ensuring Sensor Data Security and Integrity 

​​The Ensuring Sensor Data Security and Integrity solicitation requests vendors develop a cost-effective prototype platform that can flexibly work from tactical edge data fabric nodes. The platform must also operate at joint and external operational, strategic and enterprise levels. It should work with a flexible application programming interface that has no limitation on the size of the data. Additionally, the Army has a related objective to experiment with the capture and holding of the sensor data’s immutable raw output, which prioritizes point-of-image or signal collection to ensure data integrity throughout its lifecycle and to the end user.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $2 million | Direct to Phase II (Up to 24 months)

Low-Cost Persistent Multi-Sensor Surveillance 

​​​The Low-Cost Persistent Multi-Sensor Surveillance solicitation seeks environmentally hardened sensor nodes that persistently monitor radio frequencies, weather conditions and/or the personnel access of remote islands leased on the Kwajalein Atoll for the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site.​​ Its strategic geographical location, unique instrumentation and unsurpassed capability to support missile testing and space operations make RTS a premier launch facility.

However, to best utilize its location, solutions must be independent of any external power sources or communications networks, as there exist no cellular or Wi-Fi communications, nor power sources, in these areas of concern. The vendors’ technologies must operate in environmentally harsh conditions, with persistent exposure to heat, humidity, regular rainfall, salt spray and high atmospheric salinity resulting in atmospheric erosion, pitting, crevice filiform, and galvanic, environmental and fretting corrosion.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $250,000 | Phase I (Up to 6 months)

Tactical Micro-Grid Standard Add-On for Power Sources 

​​​​​The Tactical Micro-Grid Standard Add-On for Power Sources solicitation, focused on the Tactical Micro-Grid Standard, seeks to address the critical need for reliable and flexible power solutions in dynamic and unpredictable environments, including but not limited to directed energy. Traditional centralized power grids, or even immature micro-grids, often struggle to meet these demands due to their vulnerability to disruptions and inability to adapt quickly to changing conditions. By introducing TMS, the Army could enable the seamless integration of diverse power sources, including renewable energy, generators and storage systems, into a cohesive network.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $250,000 | Phase I (Up to 6 months)

AI-Enabled ARP, Select and Monitor 

​​​​​The AI-Enabled ARP, Select and Monitor solicitation seeks to redefine Army development of Acquisition Requirements Packages, and asks small businesses to develop and deliver a state-of-art, artificial intelligence-enabled system to modernize and automate the acquisition. To address this requirement, the Army seeks to solicit comprehensive solutions for the development of a cutting-edge, AI-enabled expert knowledge system that can transform and automate how the Army generates an ARP.

  • Forecasted Dollars and Time: Up to $2 million | Direct to Phase II (Up to 24 months)

The Army SBIR Program offers Phase I contracts to small and nontraditional businesses whose solutions demonstrate commercial viability and technical merit. The program also provides Phase II and Direct to Phase II contracts to vendors addressing Army challenges with mature technologies capable of receiving federal support.

The program will continue to promote new contract releases via topic announcements and email. We encourage you to follow U.S. Army SBIR|STTR on FacebookX (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn for the latest program announcements, updates and solicitation opportunities.

Please contact the Army SBIR mailbox if you have any questions.

Army SBIR releases six contract opportunities for AI/ML, power and sensor solutions

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