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Electric Extended Range Airship with Modular Payload (e2-RAMP)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-21-P-0213
Agency Tracking Number: FX20D-TCSO1-0405
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AFX20D-TCSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.D
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-08-10
Small Business Information
1919 North Ashe Ct.
Auburn, AL 36830-1111
United States
DUNS: 078301615
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Vivek Ahuja
 (334) 332-6078
Business Contact
 Roy Hartfield
Phone: (334) 444-8523
Research Institution
 Auburn University
 Imon Chakraborty
211 Davis Hall
Auburn, AL 36849-2280
United States

 (404) 395-1694
 Nonprofit College or University

A combined industry-academia team of Research in Flight, Skyborne Technology and Auburn University propose the development of Electric Extended Range Airship with Modular Payload (e2-RAMP) specifically designed to meet the requirements of very long-endurance military armed/unarmed Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and disaster response missions. The e2-RAMP design utilized innovative Detachable Airship from a Tether (DATT) Technology developed by Skyborne Technology along with proprietary Reverse–Ballonet Technology, which is already certified and regulated by the FAA. Further, 3D-printed Spectra fibers used in the design are also virtually transparent to radar and makes the design ideal for military surveillance. Research in Flight will design the electrified version of this existing technology for minimal operational environment footprint. In Phase I, the team will leverage their in-house, state-of-the-art, NASA-funded design software tools to size and design a prototype in support of a standard USAF unarmed ISR mission. Work will also be done to create a sub-scale prototype. The design tools will be reverse-calibrated with feedback from the sub-scale flying prototype. Auburn University flight simulation facilities will then be used to perform remote-piloted-simulations and generate data for scaling the unmanned prototype design in Phase II to cater for longer endurance missions. The e2-RAMP concept proposed here will be used to satisfy the mission requirements of the Air Force PEO ISR and Special Operations Forces (PEO ISR/SOF) in the initial Phase I and II activities. The operational characteristics of the e2-RAMP are uniquely aligned with unarmed and armed ISR missions, airborne communication node relays and intelligence command and control on the battlefield. In the armed role, the e2-RAMP design can be scaled to carry twice the weapons carriage capacity of an MQ-9 Reaper with longer time on station. Equipped with LANTIRN targeting pod integration to provide target designation for guided A2G munitions, the e2-RAMP can stay on station indefinitely, constrained only by equipment failure or payload expenditure, in support of land forces & SOF teams. There are significant and unique commercialization avenues and revenue streams associated with such a concept in both the military and civilian markets. The global aerial ISR market is estimated to be $22.2B in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 29.4B by 2024, at a CAGR of 5% from 2019 to 2024. Increasing demand for unmanned, high-altitude, long-endurance ISR in the military is expected to fuel the growth of the aerial ISR market. Skyborne Technology and Research in Flight will partner with investors to scale the production facilities and offer products & services to the USAF and government disaster response agencies. Research in Flight will also commercialize the design tools developed in this activity as part of its global commercial aerospace design simulation software offerings.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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