The U.S. Air Force has awarded 450 research and development contracts with a cumulative value of $140M to small businesses through an accelerated contracting initiative. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said Friday that the program aims to streamline opportunities for small businesses to work with the service branch through the assessment of technologies that may address national security gaps.
Around 320 contracts were for initial funding to conduct feasibility studies for their proposals, while 100 contracts were for developing working prototypes. Each company has also been given guidance on securing investments from the private sector.
“The increase in volume is largely due to the successes that we'd seen from previous sprints as well as our efforts to encourage more companies that don't normally work with Air Force to work with us,“ said Ryan Helbach, chief intrapreneur at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
During the screening process, the U.S. Navy and Army assisted USAF in evaluating the proposals.