Request for Information (RFI) for Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS)

Type of document: Contract Notice
Country: United States

Request for Information (RFI) for Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS)

Department of the Navy

Official Address:
Building 2272
47123 Buse Road Unit IPT Patuxent River MD 20670

Zip Code:

Gordon R. Muldoon, Contract Specialist, Phone 3017573037, Email – Denise R Lamb, Contracting Officer, Phone 301-757-5902, Fax 301-757-5973, Email


Date Posted:


Contract Description:
1. Introduction
This Request for Information (RFI) is in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15.2 and is published only to obtain information for use by Program Executive Officer, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO (U/W)), Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263), Patuxent River, Maryland.
This RFI does not constitute an invitation for bids, a request for proposal, a solicitation, a request for quote or an indication that the Government will contract for the items provided by responder. The Government will not reimburse responders for any costs associated with the preparation or submission of the information requested. Response to this RFI is strictly voluntary and will not affect any potential offeror’s ability to submit an offer if a solicitation is released. The Government will disregard any requests for a solicitation package. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or otherwise pay for the information requested. The Government will not return submittals to the responders. The Government may request that responders provide additional information/details based on their initial submittals.

2. Objective
PEO (U/W), PMA-263 is seeking industry input to identify potential solutions for a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) for use by the United States Marine Corps, capable of providing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) during day and night operations and in all environmental conditions. The system should be rugged, lightweight and ready to use as delivered with minimal logistic, training and support requirements. The system should provide real-time full motion video via electro-optical and/or infrared sensors. The air vehicles should be capable of autonomous or a safe manual vertical launch from a small confined area with a minimum of support equipment, and should be capable of either a manual or autonomous recovery within the same area as a launch. The recovery method should be adequate to prevent system damage and allow for short turn-around times between missions. The ground control station should be man-portable and consist of the necessary equipment to monitor the sensor(s) position and status, control its movement and view its video.

PEO (U/W), PMA-263 is specifically interested in systems with the following characteristics:
• Vertical Take-Off and Landing
• Battery powered: minimum endurance 30 minutes
• Lightweight, man-portable, total system weight (including air vehicle and Ground Control Station(GCS) 20lbs or less
• Minimum Range of 1 kilometer
• Adequate maturity to be fielded immediately

3. Requested Information.
The responder is requested to provide detailed information in response to the following:
• Provide a general description of the configuration of the potential solution to include the GCS, data link and air vehicle(s).
• Identify the following technical attributes of the potential solution. If a specific attribute is estimated or unknown, so state.
• Total System Weight (Air Vehicle with payload and GCS)
• Air Vehicle Weight
• Size of total system packed for transport
• Size of Air Vehicle (rotor tip to rotor tip)
• Temperature limits
• Precipitation limits
• Wind limits
• Altitude limits (Above Ground and Pressure Altitude)
• Maximum Range (maximum range at which the system can operate assuming no line of sight obstructions)
• Maximum Endurance (maximum time the air vehicle can remain airborne under standard day at sea level conditions)
• Maximum speed of the Air Vehicle
• Set up time (time required to go from packed to system airborne)
• Total available payload weight
• Noise signature
• Sensor type
• Sensor detection/identification performance (National Image Interoperability Rating preferred)

Provide detailed information in response to the questions listed below:
• Has your company worked with alternate power options for VTOL aircraft? If so, please describe the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
• Has your company worked with Artificial Intelligence in relation to VTOL aircraft? If so, please detail the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
• Do you have additional VTOL-based innovations in development? If so, please detail the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
• What are the different types of flight modes and mission control characteristics used by the system? (Manual, autonomous, waypoints, loiters, hover and stare, etc.)
• What safety features (i.e. lost link, lost GPS) are built into the system?
• What is the software operating system?
• How and where is the data (video, pictures, and flight logs) stored?
• What mapping software does the system use (google maps, Falcon View, open source, etc.) and does it have Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED)?
• Does the system use standard Department of Defense (DoD) mapping and imagery?
• How does the ground control station communicate with the air vehicle? Describe the data link used including waveform, operational frequency band, analog or digital, and encryption capabilities.
• Is the system capable of simultaneous air-vehicle operations from a single Ground Control Station?
• How does the system navigate?
• Does the system use Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS?
• Is the system capable of navigation without GPS?
• Is the system capable of non-GPS operation indoors and/or heavily forested areas?
• Does the system have automated obstacle avoidance capability?
• What payloads are currently available, in development, and planned?
• What other unique capabilities are available with the system that may enhance mission performance?
• How many people are required to operate the system?
• What is the anticipated training time for operator certification?
• Describe the assembly required to ready the air vehicle for operation from its field packed state? Field packed system is defined as having all the required equipment to accomplish a mission and be in a state safe for transportation.
• How is the system transported for operational use (i.e. soft pack, hard case, single man-packable)?
• What batteries are used to power the system?
• How are batteries recharged, what equipment is used, and how much time is required to return to full charge following a maximum endurance flight?
• Do the batteries have a certification, i.e. NOSSA, UL?
• How is a system stored when not in an operational mode?
• How many cubic feet of space is required to store the system when not being operated?
• What is the size and weight of the ground control station?
• What is the production lead-time, including any production/delivery constraints based on single order quantities ranging from 1-50 systems?
• What is the maximum production output (systems/month) at this time?
• How many units have been sold/fielded to date? If able, please identify user of the identified solution.
• Are you able to provide logistical support with spare parts and repairs of damaged parts?
• Are you able to provide Field Service Representative (FSR) support sufficient to sustain systems in deployed or remote areas within the United States or harsh/hostile environments overseas?
• Please provide operators manual and maintenance manual if available.
• What is your experience with developing Small Unmanned Aircraft System products?
• Please provide your cage code and business size under NAICS Code. If you are a small business per the parameters of NAICS Code, do you also qualify under any of the sub-categories: 8(a),Small Disadvantaged Business, HUB Zone, etc.)?
• Are you a foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, or a foreign-influenced company?
• Did you receive funding to develop your system from any governmental agencies?

4. Responses
All interested, capable, and responsible sources that wish to respond to this RFI, please respond with a white paper via electronic mail no later than October 15, 2017. Please limit responses to no more than 15 pages, 12 point font, not including preprinted information material. Interested sources may provide multiple responses, one per potential solution, to this RFI.

Offerors are hereby notified that non-government participants will have access to the offerors’ RFI response submittals. The non-government participants are employees of Avian LLC and Bowhead Science and Technology under contract to the Government. They will serve as technical advisors to the Government and will be authorized access to only those portions of the response data and discussions that are necessary to enable them to provide specific technical advice on specialized matters or on particular problems. All non-governmental personnel have signed certificates of non-disclosure of source selection information and certificates disclosing any potential financial conflicts of interests, or their equivalent documents.
Each RFI submittal should include a written release to the Government for the disclosure of proprietary information to the non-government participants in the review of the RFI response data. If the contractor is not willing to provide this consent, written notification to the Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO) is required no later than 15 days prior to the RFI response date.

Response Date:

Sol Number:


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