The Department of Defense replenishment rates for unmanned aerial delivery vehicles are neither capable of meeting surge demand nor achieving affordable mass. The current design and manufacture of airborne medium-range precision delivery vehicles are complex, costly, and limited by historically slower production rates due to exquisite components and labour-intensive manufacturing processes. Narrow supply chains, proprietary data, and locked designs result in a lengthy timeline to transition new technology into usable capability and limit production and replenishment rates.
The Department of Defense seeks solutions to develop, demonstrate, and fly a modular open architecture vehicle that will accelerate capability development and fielding across all weapons programs by enabling the integration, testing, and qualification of different subsystems, capabilities, and materials. The objective is to demonstrate an aerial platform that prioritizes affordability and distributed mass production.
- Capable of demonstrating an initial flight test no later than 7 months after the agreement award
- Range of at least 500 nautical miles
- Capable of delivering a kinetic payload
- Minimum cruise speed of 100 knots
- System architecture that allows for timely integration of commercially available components and subsystems (e.g., modular payloads, sensors, software-defined radios)
- Able to demonstrate an air-delivered variant (e.g., gravity dropped/launched from the back of a cargo aircraft)
- Capable of bulk transportation and employment in large quantities
Vendors will be expected to discuss trade space, component selection, and design choices through the lens of price and with the aim of minimizing future production bottlenecks. Multiple vehicle types may be selected for prototyping and multiple variants may be developed following a successful initial flight test. Designs that enable geographically distributed, scalable manufacturing with minimal reliance on specialized tooling and test equipment are preferred. Any follow-on production may include considerations regarding international partner manufacturing constraints.
The DoD is not interested in partial solutions to this problem statement, and teams are encouraged to present their own teaming arrangements in their proposals. Solution briefs should identify where the submitter will employ teaming arrangements and, if so, which companies will deliver which capabilities.
- Solution brief content may demonstrate how the proposed solution, technology, or dataset addresses the problem statement and desired product capabilities included within this solicitation; generic descriptions of technology platforms are unnecessary.
- Solution brief should convey any previous successes and strategy for production scalability.
- Companies may submit multiple designs and proposals.
Vendors selected for Phase 2 will receive an amplification letter with expanded details to help inform their Phase 2 pitches. Those vendors will be expected to provide their Rough Order of Magnitude breakdown to arrive at their proposed design performance and manufacturability tradeoffs.
It is DIU’s intent that companies selected for Phase 2 should expect to deliver a virtual or in-person pitch as early as the week of 23-27 October 2023, however, evaluations may shift scheduling of Phase 2 Pitch invites. The company’s Phase 2 pitch shall address the Phase 2 evaluation factors contained in CSO HQ0845-20-S-C001.
DoD requires companies without a CAGE code to register in SAM (https://sam.gov/SAM/) if selected for agreement award. The Government recommends that prospective companies begin this process as early as possible.
This solicitation is open to U.S. and international vendors.
This Area of Interest solicitation will be awarded in accordance with the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process detailed within CSO HQ0845-20-S-C001.
Companies are advised that any prototype Other Transaction (OT) agreement awarded in response to this Area of Interest may result in the award of a follow-on production agreement without the use of further competitive procedures. Any prototype OT will include the following statement relative to the potential for follow-on production: “In accordance with 10 U.S.C. § 4022(f), and upon a determination that the prototype project, or portions thereof, for this transaction has been successfully completed, this competitively awarded prototype OT agreement may result in the award of a follow-on production OT agreement without the use of competitive procedures.”