U.S. Army launches manufacturing prize competition

By Kara Kesler, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR ProgramSeptember 27, 2022

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army’s latest prize competition seeks innovative solutions across various defense manufacturing technology areas, including additive and smart manufacturing, directed energy and power, and hypersonic systems.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology announced it will host xTechManufacture, which invites eligible small businesses, sole proprietors and institutions from across the U.S. to pitch their innovative defense manufacturing solutions directly to the principal manufacturing arms of the Department of Defense for a chance to win part of a $445,000 cash prize to further develop their technologies.

The competition is being provided by the ASA(ALT) in partnership with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel. The JDMTP is made up of key DOD personnel with representatives from the OUSD R&E, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. The JDMTP is chartered to identify and integrate joint requirements, conduct joint planning, and develop joint strategies for leveraging advanced manufacturing to support and execute national defense priorities. The competition’s focus areas reflect the panel’s key manufacturing technology initiatives.

xTechManufacture is the first manufacturing-focused prize competition developed by the Army xTech Program, the service’s premier competition program that strives to integrate businesses and non-traditional vendors into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem by awarding cash prizes for innovative technologies that will advance the Army’s modernization and sustainment priorities.

“Through this collaborative, DOD-wide effort, we are excited to identify a variety of innovative manufacturing-centric businesses and organizations that we can partner with to provide meaningful technology solutions to the warfighter,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army prize competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program.

With new and emerging power requirements for equipment and platforms across the DOD, xTechManufacture is soliciting innovative industry technologies in areas of joint critical interest to include hypersonic systems; directed energy; low-weight, higher-output, and standardization for power and energy; digitization of the defense supply chain; and the application and utilization of additive manufacturing.

“America’s national security is critically dependent on a strong U.S. manufacturing sector. We cannot maintain a competitive military force without taking a holistic view of our industrial supply chain, which includes maximizing the innovation and capabilities of our domestic, small businesses,” said Dr. Timothy White, deputy director for Army ManTech from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. “The technology areas for the competition are aligned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Acquisition and Sustainment’s ‘big plays,’ as well as the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering priorities, therefore representing areas of critical technologies needed to support the warfighter.”

The competition consists of two rounds: (1) a short concept submission and (2) a final pitch event. Based on the number of qualified submissions, up to 10 finalists will be awarded $15,000 each and the opportunity to participate in the final pitch event held at the DOD-hosted 2022 Defense Manufacturing Conference, Dec. 5-8, in Tampa, Florida. A panel of judges from across the DOD manufacturing community will choose the winners and award a first-place prize of $150,000, a second-place prize of $75,000, a third-place prize of $25,000, and all others will receive a prize of $10,000 each. All eligible U.S.-based small businesses, sole proprietors and institutions are encouraged to compete.

To enter the competition, eligible businesses must submit their concepts and required materials by 5:00 PM ET on Oct. 14, 2022.

For all competition information, go to https://www.arl.army.mil/xtechsearch/competitions/xtechmanufacture.html

Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program strives to integrate small businesses and non-traditional vendors into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem by providing opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers from across the Army. Participants receive detailed feedback from Army and DOD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship, and other support infrastructure as they progress through the competition to determine how best to align their technology solutions with real users and buyers within the Army.

The xTech Program holds several competitions per year, from open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch, to technology-specific competitions targeting specific Army needs and challenges. For all competition information, go to https://www.xtechsearch.army.mil/.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and 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. For more information, go to https://www.army.mil/asaalt/.