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Air Force hosts Hypersonics Pitch Day

Courtesy illustration of X-60A launch.

Courtesy illustration of X-60A launch.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The Air Force hosts the first-ever Hypersonics Pitch Day on Nov. 7, at the Doolittle Institute in Niceville.  

The purpose of Air Force “pitch days” is to do business at the speed of ideas by inspiring and accelerating startup and small business creativity toward answering national security challenges.

The Armament Directorate and the Air Force Research Laboratory are the hosts of Hypersonics Pitch Day.

A selection of winning companies from the AFWERX 19.2 Open Innovation Small Business Innovation Research call will pitch ideas.  Their selection is based on how their technology contributes to cracking one of the many challenges associated with hypersonic flight, such as mitigating extreme high temperatures, creating unique aerodynamic configurations, and fashioning propulsion systems able to power a weapon at Mach 5 or higher.

Companies have a shot at a same-day Air Force contract valued at up to $750,000. Additionally, winning companies will receive same-day initial payments via government credit to jumpstart their work.

The invited companies will present to an Air Force panel of experts joined by Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

“Fielding hypersonic weapons is a top priority for our warfighters. The Air Force is leading the way and we can use all the help we can get from innovative companies,” Richardson said. “That’s one reason why this pitch day is so exciting.”

The Air Force is pursuing two boost-glide hypersonic prototype efforts: the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon and the Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon. Both are expected to achieve early operational capability by fiscal year 2022.

Technologies from pitch day will support the transition of these prototypes to production systems, and lay the groundwork for improved follow-on systems.

“Hypersonics amplify many of the enduring attributes of airpower – speed, range, flexibility, and precision,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons and director of the Armament Directorate here. “We’re focused on capitalizing on these technologies to advance them to capability as quickly as possible.”

Small business and academic researchers from across the country will be available to demonstrate their capabilities and research efforts.

“Events like this give us the technological edge to push the boundaries of weapons research, test and development smarter and faster,” said Genatempo. “We look forward to the ingenuity of our small business partners.”

Hypersonic Pitch Day hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is required to attend. To register, follow this link.  For more information about U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research follow this link.