Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) Industrial Base Collaboration Event (CE)

13 October 2022

RSVP NLT 11 October 2022 11:59 PM ET


SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Program Executive Office Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR), will host a series of events to identify plans for the assessment and strengthening of the domestic Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) industrial base.

sUAS continue to increase in prevalence and effectiveness on contemporary battlefields. Low cost, ease of use, expeditionary deployment and combat effectiveness make them an ideal tool for gray zone conflicts and foreign internal defense missions. The direct, low cost access to airpower, while remaining a challenging target for traditional air dominance and defense systems, make them a logical candidate for any embedded defender or small unit.

sUAS are assembled from a variety of widely accessible commercial components, in some cases minor adaptations of consumer electronic components. These components are tailored for aircraft and often are utilized in commercially available sUAS for recreation, filmmaking, hobby racing, agricultural, forestry, fish/wildlife, or industrial applications. The sUAS industry has been characterized by numerous small and startup companies pursuing improved performance and usability. These companies often require significant capital to design a complex, sophisticated, unforgiving product in hopes of commanding a premium price and profit margin in the market. Unfortunately, these companies can often have a limited time window to show profitability before losing investment capital, making them subject to predatory pricing from larger competitors. A company with a larger market share and capital stocks can undercut pricing in the market, withstand temporary losses, and await the demise of smaller competitors to claim a dominant market position. These predatory practices are only amplified by state subsidized corporations and state-owned enterprises operating toward regressive, mercantilist political and defense objectives.

The American sUAS industry has already been decimated once, despite the origin of many key components in U.S. companies. The Department of Defense (DoD) continues to procure full sUAS; however, the health of the industry relies on a healthy supply chain for key components. Despite continuing orders for procurement of more sUAS, several key component suppliers remain vulnerable to predatory practices of nefarious state-owned enterprises.

The DoD, in partnership with SOFWERX, would like to assess the sUAS supply chain and identify if any elements are vulnerable to future disruptions that might reduce the ability to meet either peacetime or wartime production needs for critical battlefield equipment. Any critical vulnerabilities will be assessed for follow on reinforcement action plans and proposals to submit to Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Office of Industrial Base Policy.

Why You Should Participate
USSOCOM seeks to enter into non-FAR or FAR-based agreements with Industry, Academic, and National Lab partners whose solutions are favorably evaluated by PEO-SR Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). As such, the follow-on Assessment Event (AE) is considered competitive and solutions will be evaluated independently of one another primarily for technical merit. This serves dually as notification of the intent to research the feasibility of an agreement under 10 U.S. Code, Section 4022 and/or Section 4022(f), and as notice of pre-solicitation activities IAW FAR 5.204.

Event Timeline
Phase 1 – 13 October 2022 Government Only Collaboration Event (CE): Government partners will identify current limitations and ideate ways to overcome limiting factors. Blue Sky briefs will be developed to frame sUAS industrial base/supply chain needs. Outcomes from the Government Only Collaboration Event will shape the Industry, Academia, and Laboratory Collaboration Event on 25-26 January 2023. RSVP to the CE below, NLT 11 October.

This event will be held in person at SOFWERX in Tampa, FL, but will have a virtual component. 

Tentative Agenda
All times listed are in ET
0800 – 0820: Participants arrive at SOFWERX
0820 – 0825: SOFWERX Welcome
0825 – 0845: Stakeholder Overview & Problem Set
0845 – 0945: Current Limitations Breakout
0945 – 1000: Break
1000 – 1100: Ways to Overcome Limitations Breakout
1100 – 1200: Lunch (on your own)
1200 – 1430: Blue Sky Working Groups
1430 – 1445: Break
1445 – 1545: Blue Sky Briefs
1545 – 1630: Voting
1630 – 1700: Path Forward

Note: Agenda is subject to change

Phase 2 – 25 January 2023 to 26 January 2023 Industry, Academia, and Laboratory Collaboration Event (CE): SOFWERX will host the Collaboration Event (CE) with Industry, Academic, and Laboratory partners focused on sUAS industrial base/supply chain needs. During this event, Warfighters will interact with potential solution offerors and further communicate operational needs and desirements. Participation in this event is not mandatory, however, it is designed to provide insights to ensure potential offerors understand the problem set(s) fully and to increase the likelihood of matching their technologies with Warfighter needs. This CE is also an opportunity for attendees to meet and form partnerships that may provide a more comprehensive solution. If you do not wish to participate in the CE, you are free to submit your technology on or around 09 February for the AE.

Phase 3 – 09 February 2023 to 09 March 2023 Submissions to the Assessment Event (AE) Series Open: Interested respondents who could potentially provide solutions that meet the needs of USSOCOM are encouraged to submit their capability for USSOCOM review. To submit your technology for potential Phase 5 attendance, please review the assessment criteria and follow the submission instructions that will be near the bottom of this webpage on or around 09 February.

Phase 4 – 10 March 2023 to 22 March 2023 Downselect: USSOCOM will downselect those respondents/submissions they feel have the highest potential to satisfy their technology needs. Favorably evaluated submissions will receive an invitation to attend the AE on or around 23 March.

Phase 5 – 11 April 2023 to 13 April 2023 Assessment Event (AE) Series: During the AE series, selected participants will be allotted a one-on-one session with the USSOCOM evaluation panel to pitch, demonstrate, and/or discuss their solutions. The forum will include a Q&A portion and discussions may continue outside of the event. Solution brief presentation guidelines will be outlined in the event invitation and solutions will be assessed according to the criteria in the link provided below on or around 09 February. If the USSOCOM evaluation panel favorably evaluates a solution brief, negotiations for Phase 6 may immediately begin.

Phase 6 – Path Forward: Successfully negotiated awards may fall under any combination of these categories:

  • Business to business research and development agreement as a sub-award through the SOFWERX Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) (15 U.S. Code Section 3715)
  • OTA for research or prototype projects (10 U.S. Code Sections 4021, 4022)
    • An award under 10 U. S. Code, Section 4022 may result in the further award of a follow-on production agreement without additional competition based on successful prototype completion. The Government may make this follow-on production award even if all successful prototype criteria are not fully met during the prototype project.
  • Procurement for experimental purposes (10 U.S. Code Section 4023)
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (15 U.S. Code Section 3710a)
  • Prizes for advanced technology achievements (10 U. S. Code Section 4025) and/or prize competitions (15 U.S. Code 3719)
  • FAR-based procurement contract

NOTE: Awardees may need to be compliant with NIST SP 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Non-Federal Systems and Organizations

How You Can Participate
Government Attendees

  1. RSVP to the 13 October Government Only Collaboration Event: Click Here to RSVP (NLT 11 October)

For event-related questions, please contact Lindsay Horst,