The U.S. Army is looking for the most innovative solutions from small businesses in material readiness, which have the potential to solve problems for the U.S. Soldier. (U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army is looking for the most innovative solutions from small businesses in material readiness, which have the potential to solve problems for the U.S. Soldier. (U.S. Army) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army is looking for the most innovative small business solutions that will allow it to develop and deliver material readiness solutions that ensure globally dominant land force capabilities.

The Army Applied Small Business Innovation Research program released three Phase I contract opportunities in materials technologies with awards up to $250,000 and six months in duration for U.S.-based small businesses to tackle challenges in warfighting solutions. Topics include:

·        Advanced Tire Technology for Manned and Unmanned Systems: To increase run-flat range for military vehicles from 30 miles to 350 miles to support autonomous operations to better control the load distribution at low or zero air pressure.​

·        M997A3 Chassis Suspension Improvements: To develop and implement chassis suspension improvement in ambulances, especially in the front, to soften and smooth out the ride for patients, as well as the attendant, driver and commander.

·        Variable Speed Engine Cooling Fan for Acoustic Detection Management​: To mitigate the highest risk source of acoustic detection on Army ground combat vehicles to reduce the chances of detection by the enemy.

“This variable speed engine cooling fan technology provides a solution for a critical Army need because it will reduce the chances of detection by the enemy, which is critical as our warfighters try to move up range undetected,” said Darin Kowalski, mechanical engineer with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center and technical point of contact for one of the SBIR topics. “With this technology solution the chances of detection by sound for robotic platforms can also be minimized.”

Once the companies are selected, the contracts will be executed by the new Army SBIR Contracting Center of Excellence, which aims to make it easier and faster for companies to work with the Army. The new center, established in August 2021, will award, administer and close out all SBIR Phase I and Phase II contracting resources under one centralized office. This streamlined approach to the contracting process will help the Army rapidly respond to Army needs across our labs and acquisition offices and will also improve the ability of small businesses to receive funding and will allow them to begin working with the Army much faster.

“We are curating our problem sets directly from our Army customers and transition partners,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “We need to make sure the warfighter has the most innovative Army installations and strategic power capabilities, and with the help of the CoE, we can be quicker and more responsive to turn over game-changing small-business innovations to the Soldier.”

The pre-release period for the new topics is March 10-24, 2022. During this time, companies can submit questions to the Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal and via email. Qualified small businesses can submit proposals beginning March 25 and ending April 26 at noon EDT. Full proposal packages must be submitted through the DSIP Portal. Additional information, including eligibility information and how to apply, can be found on the Army SBIR|STTR website.

To capitalize on small-business innovation and respond to important DoD and Army modernization and sustainment needs, the Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on an ad hoc, rolling basis. This flexibility and timeliness in responding to the Army’s emerging technology needs seeks to maximize the initial cash flow for small businesses while minimizing the time to contract.