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New Acquisition Process Helps Air Force Grant 100-Plus Contracts in 40 Hours

1 min read

The U.S. Air Force’s innovation hub has streamlined contracting processes that allowed the service to award more than 100 contracts in 40 hours to small businesses.

Officials at the AFWERX Innovation Hub in Austin, Texas, released the contracts through the Small Business Innovation Research Program, the service said Wednesday.

To speed up the contracting process, the innovation team used data analysis tools and a Special Topics solicitation to collect and auto-generate necessary proposals from the small business community. 

Through the solicitation, the Air Force received proposals from 279 companies.

“We traditionally get about 10 to 20 companies, so that far exceeded the maximum seen before,” said Ryan Helbach, chief intrapreneur at the Air Force Research Laboratory. “We’re definitely attracting a lot of non-traditional companies using this broad, open topic approach.”

He also noted that the Air Force commonly takes up to six months to complete evaluations and awards.

AFWERX plans to use the same contracting process to acquire virtual reality technologies for training, an adaptive virtual maintenance trainer, a ruggedized, mobile telemedicine system, small unmanned aircraft systems and an integrated digital health platform.

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