The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) announced the first set of projects to receive funding via the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT).
The purpose of the APFIT pilot program is to expeditiously transition technologies – with priority given to those developed by small businesses and/or nontraditional defense contractors – from pilot programs, prototype projects, and research projects into production. The benefits of this pilot will be to deliver war-winning capability earlier than scheduled while contributing to the viability of small business and nontraditional defense contractor vendors. APFIT is an additional tool the DoD can use to propel innovative capabilities across the “Valley of Death” and into the hands of the warfighter.
“APFIT holds great promise to transform the way the Department procures next generations solutions. This pilot program is well positioned to be a key asset as we continue to work to bridge the valley of death,” stated Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “The ten companies being funded will fill critical capability gaps. Without APFIT, their innovative technologies could take much longer to reach the hands of our warfighters.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of FY22 directed the Secretary of Defense to establish APFIT as a competitive, merit-based program for innovative and mature technologies and products that can meet warfighter demands but currently lack the necessary funding to transition the capability into the production delivery phase. The U.S. Congress funded $100 million in FY22. Ten DoD program offices will each receive $10 million in APFIT funding. These program offices will in turn use that funding to procure innovative technologies from small businesses or nontraditional defense contractor vendors, as listed below. To be eligible for APFIT funding, these vendors must have received less than $500 million in cumulative revenue from DoD.
Following projects to receive funding via the pilot program to APFIT:
- Advanced Sensor Package Procurement, U.S. Navy, Arete Associates, California, Arizona, and Florida.
- Accelerates procurement of a multi-sensor payload for use in unmanned underwater vehicles. Enables safe passage of U.S. and Allied Naval forces with advanced mine-hunting capabilities.
- Anti-Jam Radio-links for Maritime Operations Resiliency, U.S. Marine Corps, Pacific Antenna Systems, Titan Systems LLC, and Naval Systems, Inc., California and Maryland.
- Initial procurement of small antennas for resilient comms that conform to tactical aircraft outer mold lines. Provides high data rate capacity scalable to support multi-mission needs and connects the National Technical Means to the tactical edge.
- Atmospheric Plasma Coating Removal System, U.S. Marine Corps, Atmospheric Plasma Solutions, North Carolina.
- Initial procurement of next-generation coating removal systems reduces repair person-hours by ~94%.
- Augmented Reality Tactical Assault Kit, USSOCOM, Eolian, New Jersey.
- Initial procurement of augmented and virtual reality kits to enable more effective, networked, distributed immersive mission planning and rehearsing operations in a realistic environment. Significantly reduces risk during mission execution.
- Autonomous Unmanned Aerial System – Vertical-BAT, USAF, Shield AI, California, and Texas.
- Initial procurement of semi-autonomous, long-loiter, vertical takeoff, and landing-capable UASs with modular payload capability. Can provide resilient data transport and locate and provide weapon quality targeting information as part of the Joint Sensing Grid to JADC2. VBAT VTOL can operate in high-wind conditions.
- Drop-Glide Munitions, U.S. Army, Orbital Research, Ohio.
- Initial procurement of low-cost, weaponized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) featuring drop-glide projectiles. Enables the squad to have standoff, survivable, precision strike capability to defeat enemy armor.
- Lightfield Directing Array Secure Production, Missile Defense Agency, Bright Silicon Technologies, California.
- Establishes full-rate manufacturing capacity to produce optical communications antenna arrays at scale. This next-generation RF communications alternative provides resilient Position/Navigation/Timing, optical tracking, laser communications, and sensor protection.
- Lightweight Wide Field of View Aviation Goggle, USSOCOM, Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Idaho.
- Initial procurement of next-generation widened field of view night vision goggles for aircrew with increased resolution and reduced weight.
- Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure, DIU, Philips Healthcare, Massachusetts.
- Initial procurement of 3,800 smartwatches loaded with algorithms that afford 2+ days of earlier detection of infectious disease, enabling early treatment and quarantine of infected individuals.
- Real-Time Sensor Data Transformation, U.S. Space Force, Meroxa, California.
- Procurement of a data architecture for automated transfer and integration of U.S. and allied sensor data. Enables access to 90 operational sources to provide a more complete picture to USSF analysts.