U.S. Army launches latest prize competition, xTechRCCTO AStRA, to prototype and field cutting edge technology innovations for the Warfighter

By Michael HowardJune 2, 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army launched the xTech Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) Army Strategic Rapid Acquisition (AStRA) competition to evaluate disruptive, innovative approaches and technologies to address critical capabilities required by the Army.

The competition is geared toward eligible large and small U.S.-based organizations, as well as academic institutions, with a modern technology solution in one of the following six areas: Multifunction Antennas, Tactical Edge Devices, CEMA Capabilities, Novel Batteries, Tactical Edge Processing and Cross Domain Solutions.

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The xTech Program, led by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)), is collaborating with RCCTO, who is sponsoring the competition. The Program Executive Officer for Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) and the PEO Soldier have also been enlisted to assist xTechRCCTO AStRA in the identification, prototyping and fielding of new innovations that will fill critical Army gaps.

“xTech is taking a unique approach with this challenge because there’s a vast amount of problem statements that can be addressed. This makes the possibility of uncovering truly innovative solutions even more obtainable for the Army because we’re looking across many fields,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Director of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR program, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research and Technology (DASA R&T).

Dr. Willis added that the collaboration with RCCTO, PEO IEW&S, and PEO Soldier brings an extra element of interest to the challenge. “These organizations are at the forefront of science and technology for the military. By bringing non-traditional innovators into their space, the Army is setting themselves up for a powerful future,” said Dr. Willis.

The xTechRCCTO AStRA competition consists of four phases; Phase 1: Concept White Paper and optional video, which closed on May 25, where winners will move forward to Phase 2: Oral Proposal/Technology Pitch, scheduled to take place at the end of June. Winners from Phase 2 will progress to Phase 3, Request for Project Proposal from the RCCTO Contracting Center.

During Phase 4: Basis for Award, the government may choose to make one or more awards of a follow-on Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement with the Army. xTechRCCTO AStRA has a total budget of up to $25M to award prize money and OTAs for the competition. This opportunity will offer selected organizations a long-term partnership with the Army as their solutions are integrated into various military platforms.

“This will be RCCTO’s third technology outreach event to industry, resulting in many ongoing rapid prototyping efforts,” said Rob Monto, RCCTO’s Deputy Director for Advanced Concepts & Experimentation. “For the AStRA competition, we’re working closely with PEO IEW&S and PEO Soldier to identify and accelerate the transition of the most promising emerging capabilities to Soldiers.”

To learn more about xTechRCCTO AStRA and other ongoing and past Army prize competitions, visit the xTech website (www.xtechsearch.army.mil). The next open topic competition, xTechSearch 6, is scheduled to launch in fall 2021 and will be open to all U.S.-based small businesses.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology) provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining the world's finest equipment and services; and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.