TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials, Bio Medical, Chem Bio Defense, Electronics, Ground Sea, Human Systems, Information Systems, Nuclear, Sensors, Weapons, Air Platform, Space Platforms
OBJECTIVE: This is a Department of the Air Force (DAF) Special Topic in partnership with AFWERX, please see the above DAF Special Topic instructions for further details. A Phase I award will be completed over 6 months with a maximum award of $150K. Baseline phase II efforts may be awarded for a maximum period of 15 months at a value up to $750K. The objective of this topic is to solicit any innovative dual-purpose technologies or solutions, such as those not actively being requested by the DAF. Additionally, this topic is intended to incentivize small business commercialization of cutting-edge research while also strengthening the United States’ industrial base. This topic is intended for companies that can complete a feasibility study and prototype validated concepts in accelerated Phase I and II schedules. While this topic is specifically aimed at early stage concepts, it is most at later stage development efforts rather than basic science or research.\n
DESCRIPTION: The Department of Defense (DoD) is a large and complex organization that shares many functions with the commercial sector. We are interested in exploring innovative technology domains with clear prospective or realized commercial value and their application to DAF operations (i.e. dual-purpose technologies or solutions). We recognize that it is impossible for the STTR program to specifically solicit every potentially relevant technological area, thus this topic is intended to be an open call for specific ideas and technologies to include concepts or technologies that are not be currently solicited (i.e. the “unknown-unknown”). It is important that any potential solutions have a high probability of keeping pace with the technological change and thus should be closely tied to prospective commercial offerings that will help support the development of the solution for a DAF application. This topic is meant to facilitate development of solutions to meet DoD stakeholders’ needs in a short timeframe and at low cost. Solutions for this topic should be focused on the three areas listed below and should try to satisfy the criteria below to the maximum extent possible.\n
- Commercialization Potential – The offeror(s) should demonstrate broad commercialization potential for the prospective solution in both the Defense and commercial markets. The most effective solutions demonstrate this potential through clear and concise description of customer value or Return on Investment over the current alternative. Moreover, the best solutions are expected to generate varied interest of non-affiliated commercial, investment, and defense entities – financial or otherwise. \n
- Relevance to the Defense market – The offeror(s) should demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of their solution to their prospective customers and end-users in the Defense market. The offeror(s) may provide an indication of a defense ‘need’ by demonstrating knowledge of the current status of the solution’s prospective operational environment and stakeholders as well as preliminary discussions with those stakeholders. In addition, the offeror(s) may demonstrate relevance to published Focus Areas or other given stakeholders. \n
- Technical/Team – The proposed approach’s technical merit, as indicated by supporting, peer-reviewed advocacy (including but not limited to scientific articles or publications), depth and relevance of team member experience, and other demonstrations of relevant and varied interest as well as other means support of the relevant intellectual property. \n
In summary - proposals for this topic should demonstrate a high probability of quickly identifying and realizing product-market fit between an end user and the proposed solution.\n
BROAD FOCUS AREAS FOR AFX20D-TCSO1 OPEN TOPIC\n
Though the topic is truly ‘Open’ (agnostic of industry, technology, and problem area), we have identified known areas of interest for which potential DAF Customers and/or funding have already been identified. These areas, which are designed to facilitate streamlined customer discovery, are broken out into broad ‘Focus Areas’, are described below.\n
For this specific solicitation, the sole Focus Area supports the Agility Prime initiative: \nFOCUS AREA 1: Orb/eVTOL/UAM (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing/Urban Air Mobility): The objective of this Focus Area is to explore potential commercial products being developed in the emerging eVTOL/UAM market for potential disaster response, humanitarian aid, and logistics missions. This sub-topic is intended survey a large scope of technologies to include: autonomy; advanced aircraft materials and manufacturing; novel acoustics techniques; subsystem, aircraft, and portfolio design and analysis tools; rapid mission planning for dense air environments and logistics efficiencies; command and control of air vehicles; robotic landing gear; large flotation devices; modular payload designs; air vehicle data networks and RF waveforms; sense and avoid architectures, algorithms, and sensors; electrical power storage, generation, charging; distributed electric propulsion control techniques.\n
The alignment between a proposal and a ‘Focus Area’ can strengthen or compliment a proposal’s merits, but does not singularly fulfill the requirement to demonstrate the defense need as listed above.\n
To be clear, the concept of ‘Focus Areas’ is not intended to discourage companies offering solutions not immediately applicable to current DAF interest areas, but are simply a mechanism by which current DAF interests are published to the broader small business industry base.\n
PHASE I: Validate the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential USAF stakeholder and conducting a feasibility study by defining a clear and immediately actionable plan for demonstrating value and mitigating risk with the proposed solution and the proposed DAF customer. This feasibility study should:\n\n\n1. Clearly identify the prime potential DAF end user(s) and AF customer/transition agent (note: the user and customer will likely be two different people) and articulate how they would implement your solution(s) (i.e., the one who is most likely to an early adopter, first user, and initial transition partner).\n\n2. 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, especially in light of current alternatives.\n\n3. Define clear and measureable objectives and key results for a potential trial of the proposed solution with the identified AF end user(s).\n\n4. Clearly identify any additional specific stakeholders beyond the AF end user(s) who will be critical to the success of any potential trial. This includes, but is not limited to, program, contracting, or finance organizations as well as relevant certifying or validating entities\n\n5. Describe how the solution would differ from the non-defense commercial offering (i.e. how would it be modified as compared to its commercial counterpart).\n\n6. Describe the cost and feasibility of integration with current mission-specific products.\n\n7. Describe if and how the demonstration can be used by other DoD or governmental customers.\n\n\nThe funds obligated on the resulting Phase I STTR contracts are to be used for the sole purpose of conducting a thorough feasibility study. Prototypes may be developed with STTR funds during Phase I studies to better address the risks and potential payoffs in innovative technologies.\n
PHASE II: Develop, install, integrate or otherwise demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study. This demonstration should focus specifically on:\n\n\n1. Evaluating the proposed solution against the objectives and measurable key results as defined in the Phase I feasibility study.\n\n2. Describing in detail how the solution differs from prospective non-defense commercial offerings in comparison to DAF counterparts and how it can be scaled for broader use.\n\n3. 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.\n\n4. Specific details about how the solution can integrate with other current and potential future solutions.\n\n5. How the solution can be sustainable (i.e. overall supportability)\n\n6. Clearly identify other specific DoD or governmental customers who want to use the solution\n
PHASE III: This is the main goal of this topic:we expect that some solutions may go directly from Phase I to Phase III upon verification of product-market fit. The contractor will transition the solution to provide expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications.\n\nNOTES:\n\na. Due to the large amount of expected interest in this topic, we will not be answering individual questions through e-mail, except through email@example.com. 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. \nb. This STTR does NOT award grants, but contracts, when registering in SAM.gov, be sure to select ‘YES’ to the question ‘Do you wish to bid on contracts?’ in order to be able to compete for thisSTTR topic. If you are only registered to compete for grants, you will be ineligible for this topic. For more information please visit https://www.afwerx.af.mil/sttr.html\nc. 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, etc. If they are not correct at time of submission, you will be ineligible for this topic. In order to ensure this, please include, in the 25-slide technical volume, a screenshot from SAM.gov 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’. It is the responsibility of the SBC to ensure that the data in the proposal and the data in SAM.gov are aligned.\nd. In order to keep pace with the fast timeline, if the purchase orders are not signed and returned to the contracting office within 5 business days of receipt, a Phase I award will not be issued.\ne. The ‘DoD SBIR/STTR Programs Funding Agreement Certification’ form must be completed and signed at the time of *Proposal Submission* and can be found at: \nhttps://www.afsbirsttr.af.mil/Portals/60/Pages/Phase%20I-II/SBIR-STTR-Phase-I-II-Funding%20Agreement%20Certification.pdf\nf. It is the responsibility of the contractor to answer the questions in the STTR Cover Sheet and on the ‘DoD SBIR/STTR Programs Funding Agreement Certification’ accurately.\ng. While these are firm fixed price contracts, it is important for the companies to include the cost volume in the STTR online application with reasonable fidelity in order to determine the reasonableness of the proposed effort.\nh. Proposed technologies may be restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) which controls defense-related materials/services import/export, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), controlling dual use items.Offerors must review the U.S. Munitions List, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/22/121.1, and provide a tentative determination regarding applicability to their proposed efforts.If determined applicable, a certified DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technology Agreement, must be submitted with the proposal.Information regarding the application process and instructions for form completion are found at https://www.dla.mil/HQ/LogisticsOperations/Services/JCP/DD2345Instructions/.\ni. If subject to ITAR, involvement of foreign nationals may be restricted.“Foreign National” is defined in 22 CFR 120.16 as a natural person who is neither a lawful permanent resident (8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(20)), nor a protected individual (8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(3)).It also includes foreign corporations, business associations, partnerships, trusts, societies, other entities/groups not incorporated/organized to do business in the United States, international organizations, foreign governments, and their agencies/subdivisions.Offerors must identify foreign national team members and provide their countries of origin, visa/work permits possessed, and Work Plan tasks assigned.Additional information may be required during negotiations to verify eligibility.Even if eligible, participation may be restricted due to U.S. Export Control Laws.\n\n\nNOTE:Export control compliance statements are not all-inclusive and do not remove submitters’ liability to 1) comply with applicable ITAR/EAR export control restrictions or 2) inform the Government of potential export restrictions as efforts proceed.\n
KEYWORDS: Open, other, disruptive, radical, dual-use, commercial; autonomy; advanced aircraft materials and manufacturing; novel acoustics techniques; subsystem, aircraft, and portfolio design tools; rapid mission planning for dense air environments and logistics efficiencies; command and control of air vehicles; robotic landing gear; large flotation devices; modular payload designs; air vehicle data networks and RF waveforms; sense and avoid architectures, algorithms, and sensors; electrical power storage, generation, charging; alternative onboard and ground-based electrical power generation; distributed electric propulsion control techniques.
1.FitzGerald, B., Sander, A., & Parziale, J. (2016). Future Foundry: A New Strategic Approach to Military-Technical Advantage. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
2. Blank, S. (2016). The Mission Model Canvas – An Adapted Business Model Canvas for Mission-Driven Organizations. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
3. US Department of Defense. (2018). 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States Summary, 11.