The Pentagon’s chief technology officer has named the first slate of companies to receive $10 million each under a congressionally created pilot program designed to speed up the procurement and fielding of innovative capabilities.
Established under the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the effort involves 10 small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors with technologies ranging from a multisensor payload for unmanned underwater vehicles to aircrew night vision goggles and smartwatches capable of quickly detecting infectious diseases.
“This pilot program is well positioned to be a key asset as we continue to work to bridge the valley of death,” Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in the Defense Department’s press release announcing the awardees today. “The ten companies being funded will fill critical capability gaps. Without [the program], their innovative technologies could take much longer to reach the hands of our warfighters.”
The following projects secured funding through the listed commands, services or entities, according to today’s announcement:
- Areté Associates; Navy
- Pacific Antenna Systems, Titan Systems and Naval Systems; Marine Corps
- Atmospheric Plasma Solutions; Marine Corps
- Eolian; U.S. Special Operations Command
- Shield AI; Air Force
- Orbital Research; Army
- Bright Silicon Technologies; Missile Defense Agency
- Aviation Specialties Unlimited; USSOCOM
- Philips Healthcare; Defense Innovation Unit
- Meroxa; Space Force
Lawmakers began the competitive program with the goals of, among other things, reducing acquisition or life-cycle costs and “rapidly implementing such technologies to directly support defense missions,” per the law text. DOD determined that in order to be eligible to receive funding through the program, a contractor must have gotten no more than $500 million in cumulative revenue from the military.
The pilot program is scheduled to end on Sept. 30, 2027.