Maritime Capable Tethered UAS Assessment Event (AE)

16-18 May 2023

Submissions Closed 09 April 2023 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 an Assessment Event (AE) to identify solutions for a small tethered Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) that can operate in both land and saltwater maritime environments for intelligence gathering, surveillance and communications. The system must have some built in capability for full motion video, but also enable the hosting of modular payloads to perform additional functions.

Market research indicates that off-the-shelf tethered UAS can satisfy most of the performance attributes desired in this assessment but may require minor adaptations or adjustments to satisfy all performance attributes (modified commercial/government off-the-shelf). A list of salient characteristics is provided in the assessment criteria, along with a delineation of what will be observed at the demonstration and the ultimate system capability.

This assessment solicits white papers to describe off-the-shelf tethered UAS. The most promising candidates will be invited to demonstrate some performance attributes with vendor provided equipment and operators. The demonstration will occur at a remote site with representatives from USSOCOM. A stipend will be provided to defray the costs of travel and shipping to the demonstration site.

The tethered UAS should be capable of operating in a static or moving configuration while performing force protection and intelligence gathering functions. The tethered UAS should provide a basic full motion video capability, but also be adaptable to carry a variety of payloads. 

The white paper should identify what adaptations or modifications to the off-the-shelf system may be required to satisfy all performance attributes. The assessment event will also consider how much technical risk the proposed adaptations or modifications introduce to the existing off the shelf platform.

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 SOF AT&L 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
Completed Phase 1 – 15 March 2023 to 09 April 2023 Submissions to the Assessment Event (AE) 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 3 attendance, please review the assessment criteria and follow the submission instructions that will be near the bottom of this webpage on/around 15 March.

Phase 1a – 27 March 2023 Q&A Telecon: Interested offerors may participate in a virtual Q&A session to better understand the PM’s specific technology objectives. The telecon will take place on 27 March from 12:00–1:00 PM ET. 

Completed Phase 2 – 10 April 2023 to 21 April 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/around 25 April.

Completed Phase 3 – 16 May 2023 to 18 May 2023 Assessment Event (AE): During the AE, selected participants will be allotted a one-on-one session with the USSOCOM evaluation panel to pitch, demonstrate, and/or discuss their solutions. The solution will be demonstrated with static flight using contractor provided equipment and operators at a test site within the continental United States. 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. If the USSOCOM evaluation panel favorably evaluates a solution brief, negotiations for Phase 4 may immediately begin.

This event will be held in person. Successful attendees will be provided a $10,000 travel stipend to defray the costs of demonstration. Stipends will be contingent upon successful live demonstration of powered flight at the demo site. Demo site TBD, within the continental United States, likely in proximity to San Diego, California or Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

Phase 4 – 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

Please Note: Responders providing information to meet functional assessment requirements are responsible to comply to International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR)/Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

For event-related questions, please contact Lindsay Horst,