The U.S. Air Force is funding up to $800 million in research for the development of both commercial and government microelectronics in the areas of sensors and processing, according to an announcement first released Sept. 27.
The Advanced Research Announcement (ARA) is being issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and is called Microelectronics Innovation for Next-generation System Advancement and Validation (MINSAV). Under the MINSAV ARA the Air Force will develop prototypes in the areas of “autonomous, artificial intelligence, precision navigation and timing, electronic warfare, data processing, spatial/spectrally agile, and strategic applications.”
Using the ARA the Air Force will solicit calls for white papers through Oct. 1, 2024 for specific areas of interest. Those vendors with white papers of interest to the government will then be issued specific requests for proposals. The Air Force anticipates multiple awards ranging from $10 million to $200 million up to a total of $800 million. The contracts will be Other Transaction Authority (OTA), cost plus fixed fee or other cost-type contracts. There is no limit on the number of awards to any individual vendor.
The Air Force issued the first call for white papers simultaneously alongside the announcement with a due date of Oct. 31 that’s been extended to Nov. 15. The value of this call is $150 million and one award is expected with a performance period of 39 months. This first call is for the Advanced Technology Center for Data Processing (ATC-DP) effort that “will perform technical analysis, assess advanced microelectronic technologies, explore integration of devices in military-relevant systems, and perform experimentation to analyze the impact of leveraging advanced microelectronics to accomplish military-related mission functions.”
An industry day for MINSAV was held on Oct. 9 and slides on the overall effort and the first call for white papers, cloud components and a presentation from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Research & Engineering were presented. A list of industry day participants can be found here. Some of the larger interested parties were BAE Systems PLC, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., International Business Machines Corp., L3Harris Technologies Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
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