Thursday, January 21st, 2021

U.S. Army announces contracts with nine small businesses, research institutes for military prototypes

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The U.S. Army announced contracts of up to $1.1 million each with nine small businesses and nonprofit research institutions last week to develop technologies capable of meeting certain military challenges.

These contracts will push contractors to spend six to 18 months, creating demonstration prototypes as part of the Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). STTR focuses on feasibility studies that lead to prototype demos of technology for specific applications in the military, stretched across a three-phase program. In each case, small businesses must collaborate with research institutions, be they universities or nonprofits.

“These accelerated Phase II prototyping efforts are the next step in a pilot program using the STTR program to rapidly identify and address warfighter technology gaps,” Michael Caccuitto, division chief for technology and integration at the Army Research Office, said. “Working hand-in-glove with our operational partners from the beginning, we will be in a position to maximize the potential for one or more of these efforts, if successful, to transition for continued development and rapid acquisition.”

These projects will focus on seven categories of operations: interference and jamming of high frequency radios, position navigation independent of GPS technology, phased-array antennas for extremely high-frequency satellite communications, millimeter waveforms for tactical networking, edge sensor processing, advanced soldier radios, and capabilities for disrupting, disabling or destroying the electronics of remote targets. All will largely support the Army Modernization Priority Network.

When Phase II finishes, the small businesses and their research partners will likely gain further funding from a Department of Defense or Army system acquisition office, private sector or non-government sources to continue development into Phase III.