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Unmanned Aerial Systems Pitch Day



OBJECTIVE: This is a Pitch Day Topic, please see the above Pitch Day Topic instructions for further details. A Phase I award will be completed over 3 months with a maximum award of $75K and a Phase II may be awarded for a maximum period of 15 (or 27 month) and $750K. The objective of this topic is to explore innovative UAS and Counter-small UAS (C-sUAS) technologies that may not be covered by any other specific SBIR topic and thus to explore options for innovative solutions that may fall outside the Air Force’s current fields of focus but that may be useful to the US Air Force. This topic will reach companies that can complete a feasibility study and prototype validated concepts in accelerated Phase I and II schedules. This topic is specifically aimed at later stage development rather than earlier stage basic science and research. 

DESCRIPTION: This effort is a partnership between the Air Force Program Executive Office for Digital (PEO Digital), the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and the Tri-Service C-sUAS Swarm group. The Air Force PEO Digital is responsible for the acquisition of software and weapons systems including support for UAS air traffic avionics and control software, UAS applications to environmental sensing, and development of innovative C-sUAS technologies for defense of critical facilities. The AFRL leads the discovery, development and delivery of warfighting technologies for air, space and cyberspace forces including swarm autonomy and decision making, as well as open system approaches for UAS and subsystems like communications, human interfaces, and sensors , etc. The Air Force wishes to stay at the cutting edge of these technologies and seeks to partner with innovative small businesses that may have solutions to Air Force challenges. These are the high level challenge areas for which the Air Force is interested in novel solutions: 1. UAS payloads to defeat other UAS 2. UAS signature (optical, infrared, acoustic, radar, etc) identification software 3. UAS avionics open software trust and verification technologies 4. UAS sensing for weather hazard avoidance 5. UAS sensing for characterization of environmental conditions (wind, hydrology, RF spectrum, etc) 6. UAS sense and avoid technologies for operation in mixed manned/unmanned airspace 7. UAS applications to resilient PNT (mitigation of GPS degradation, etc) 8. Small UAS design assurance and airworthiness certification 9. Counter Swarm technologies 10. Agile technology insertion for UAS 11. Artificial intelligence and decentralized control for UAS swarms This topic is meant for innovative solutions to be adapted in innovative ways to meet DoD stakeholders’ needs in a short timeframe and at a low cost. 

PHASE I: "Validate the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential USAF stakeholder and define a clear and immediately actionable plan for running a trial with the proposed solution and the proposed AF customer. This feasibility study should directly address: 1. Clearly identify who the prime potential AF end user(s) is and articulate how they would use your solution(s) (i.e., the one who is most likely to an early adopter, first user, and initial transition partner). 2. Deeply explore the problem or benefit area(s) which are to be addressed by the solution(s) - specifically focusing on how this solution will impact the end user of the solution. 3. Define clear objectives and measurable key results for a potential trail of the proposed solution with the identified Air Force end user(s). 4. Clearly identify any additional specific stakeholders beyond the end user(s) who will be critical to the success of any potential trial. This includes, but is not limited to, program offices, contracting offices, finance offices, information security offices and environmental protection offices. 5. Describe the cost and feasibility of integration with current mission-specific products. 6. Describe if and how the demonstration can be used by other DoD or governmental customers. 7. Describe technology related development that is required to successfully field the solution. 8. Deliver an initial prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) code or product at the conclusion of the contract that can be adapted and/or matured to a more advanced stage during Phase II. The funds obligated on the resulting Phase I SBIR contracts are to be used for the sole purpose of conducting a thorough feasibility study using scientific experiments, laboratory studies, commercial research and interviews. Prototypes may be developed with SBIR funds during Phase I studies to better address the risks and potential payoffs in innovative technologies." 

PHASE II: "Develop, install, integrate and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study. This demonstration should focus specifically on: 1. Evaluating the proposed solution against the objectives and measurable key results as defined in the phase I feasibility study. 2. Describing in detail how the solution can be scaled to be adopted widely (i.e. how can it be modified for scale) 3. A clear transition path for the proposed solution that takes into account input from all affected stakeholders including but not limited to: end users, engineering, sustainment, contracting, finance, legal, and cyber security. 4. Specific details about how the solution can integrate with other current and potential future solutions. 5. How the solution can be sustainable (i.e. supportability) 6. Clearly identify other specific DoD or governmental customers who want to use the solution" 

PHASE III: "The Primary goal of SBIR is Phase III. The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for transitioning expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Direct access with end users and government customers will be provided with opportunities to receive Phase III awards for providing the government additional research & development, or direct procurement of products and services developed in coordination with the program. NOTES: a. Due to the large amount of expected interest in this topic, we will not be answering individual questions through e-mail, except in rare cases. Instead we will be holding a teleconference to address all questions in an efficient manner. This topic will be updated with the final call-in details as soon as the date is finalized. In the meantime, feel free to use the SITIS Q&A system. b. This SBIR is not awarding grants, but contracts, when registering in, be sure to select ‘YES’ to the question ‘Do you wish to bid on contracts?’ in order to be able to compete for this SBIR topic. If you are only registered to compete for grants, you will be ineligible for this topic. c. We are working to move fast, please register in SAMs and if already registered please double check your CAGE codes, company name, address information, DUNS numbers, ect. If they are not correct at time of submission, you will be ineligible for this topic. In order to ensure this, please include, in your 15-slide deck, a screenshot from as validation of your correct CAGE code, DUNS number and current business address along with the verification that you are registered to compete for All Contracts. d. Companies must be present at the UAS Pitch event (17 July 2019 at Northeastern University’s Innovation Campus, Kostas Research Institute, in Burlington, MA) and complete their pitch to AF evaluators in order to receive an award. 


1: "A Revolution in Acquisition and Product Support." Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, 2013, Retrieved 20 October from

2:  "Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Homepage," Retrieved October 20 from

3:  "The Heilmeier Catechism." DARPA, Retrieved October 24 from

4:  U.S. Air Force, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Flight Plan: 2016-2036, 30 Apr 2016.

KEYWORDS: Software, Development, Open-Source, SUAS, Sensor, Weather, Airworthiness, Spectrum 

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