Armament Industry Roundtable puts Industry, Air Force on same page

AIR member at the Doolittle Institute

The Doolittle Institute facilitated the launch of the Team Eglin Weapons Digital Enterprise in the Armament Industry Roundtable (AIR2021). AIR2021, hosted 22-23 March 2021, introduced industry leaders to relevant points of contact from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and the 96th Test Wing.

The Team Eglin Weapons Digital Enterprise is the product of the Team Eglin Modeling and Simulation Consortium, created to transform and unify all aspects of digital weapons development.

Sponsored by the AFLCMC, AIR2021 event provided a platform for the Air Force to explain the new weapons acquisition model, its system architecture, and the Air Force’s technical vision. Other topics included programs like RogueONE, Gray Wolf, Golden Horde Colosseum, WeaponOne, and Digital Twin technology.

Headlining speakers included Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, PEO Weapons Director of the AFLCMC Armament Directorate; Col. Gary Haase, Commander and Director of the AFRL Munitions Directorate; and Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, Commander of the 96th Test Wing. Lt. Col. Justin Smith and Maj. Madeleine Jensen, both of AFLCMC, led the industry engagement “Ask Me Anything” session.

AIR2021 reached its virtual registration limit and over 400 people Zoomed in; an additional 39 people attended in-person over the two-day event. Attendees included industry leaders such as Pratt-Whitney, L3 Harris, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Kratos Defense.

Attendees were impressed with the quality of AIR2021. William DeMaso, the Business Development Senior Manager of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said, “I liked the clarity of the platform and the ease of accessing, and I thought the speakers provided relevant and interesting information. Some particularly engaging topics included: EBZ Digital Acquisition Campaign from Mr. Will Evans, AFLCMC/EB; The Practical Reality of Digital Twins by Mr. Alfonso Velosa, VP Analyst, Gartner; and AFRL Munitions Directorate – Focus Areas and Opportunities by Colonel Garry Haase, Commander and Director, Munitions Directorate, AFRL.”

The public can watch a rebroadcast of AIR2021 on the Doolittle Institute’s YouTube channel.

AIR2021 wasn’t the first time the Doolittle Institute put private companies and Air Force researchers in front of each other. The Doolittle Institute has a track record of successfully facilitating ideas into action.

In 2019 the Doolittle Institute hosted Hypersonics Pitch Day, during which nine Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) companies delivered a 5-minute pitch directly to a panel of stakeholders. The panel, which included chairman Lt Gen Luke Richardson, asked questions and deliberated for five minutes, totaling 15 minutes for each pitch opportunity. Selected companies received funding that same day.

The Air Force awarded over $5.25 million dollars to seven companies in less than three hours. Those that earned Phase II contracts were Advanced Silicon Group; Fourth State Communications, LLC; GoHypersonics, Inc.; Powdermet, Inc.; Spectral Energies, LLC; UES, Inc.; and Ursa Major Technologies, Inc. In addition to the funding and Phase II contracts, these businesses received invitations to compete for Phase III contracts in the first national pitch day, called Pitch Bowl, in Washington, D.C.

Then in 2020, the Doolittle Institute hosted LEGACY Jr Apprentice Pitch Day. The Air Force LEGACY program, run by our STEM Outreach team, is an opportunity for underserved and underrepresented students to gain exposure and hands-on experience toward potential Air Force STEM careers. Phase II of the program, LEGACY Jr. Apprentice, consists of an 8-week apprenticeship alongside an Air Force or DoD professional.

In a first-of-its-kind effort aligned with Air Force Science & Technology Strategy Objective 1, the LEGACY Jr Apprentices conceptualized and presented a transformational Air Force capability concept. Students created fictional businesses then pitched their concepts to an AFLCMC expert panel. Students competed for mock contracts supporting technologies such as reusable missiles, UAS IED detection, 100% yield crystals, drop pod robotic systems, and camouflage swarm robotics to deliver supplies on the frontlines. The selected company, ARMET Group, received “funding” in the form of an online gift card for their reusable missile project.

The Doolittle Institute, an AFRL Innovation Institute, supports the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate by working to license and commercialize AFRL/RW technologies in the private sector, enable rapid technology delivery to the warfighter, identify and foster new R&D partnerships and develop AFRL’s current and future workforce. The Doolittle Institute is a member of the Defensewerx Family.

For more information about industry engagement events and opportunities, please contact the Doolittle Institute at (850) 226-4383 or email us at

Grand Challenge: Metal Additive Manufacturing

Image of a graph on a computer

Are you a manufacturer with systems in place for large-format metal additive manufacturing (MAM)? Your technologies could provide many potential advantages over conventional manufacturing techniques, like on-demand production capabilities, part consolidation opportunities, alternate/agile manufacturing sources, small lot size production, and performance-enhancing geometric customization

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) seeks partners to develop large-format MAM processes for relevant metal alloys with mechanical properties, geometric detail resolution, and surface finishes competitive with laser powder bed fusion methods, but preferably at lower costs. The goal of this challenge is to adapt and demonstrate a large-scale MAM technology for relevant materials and geometries

In this three-phase challenge, we will be looking for manufacturers with existing systems to produce large-scale metal 3D printing. Open to U.S. and international companies, we’re looking for Solvers who are capable of:

  • >1 m build height, width, & depth
  • producing a cylindrical prototype with approximate dimensions of 25-cm diameter, 125-cm length, 2.5-cm wall thickness
  • use a predefined ultra-high strength steel (UHSS) alloy
  • demonstrate a full-size part printed as a single unit
  • producing parts which maintain uniform material performance
  • limiting compromises on dimensional accuracy, minimum feature size, and surface finish in the as-printed state

Heat treatment to reach desired mechanical properties or microstructure is acceptable. 

While MAM may not be the ideal manufacturing method for mass fabrication of the simple, cylindrical geometries described in this challenge, the intent of this challenge is to advance the state of the art in large-format MAM to enable future on-demand production of geometrically complex structures that meet the same standards in material properties. This challenge is to find the best available large-format MAM technologies to manufacture USAF relevant parts, adapt the technology for materials of interest, and demonstrate the capability for parts greater than 125-cm long. 

Phase 1

The first phase of this challenge requires a written response (white paper of no more than 4-6 pages) to describe the basic approach (i.e. the proposed manufacturing process and equipment), the technical risks and mitigation strategies, and the submitter’s relevant expertise. The proposed solution should be scoped for a 12-24 month technical effort, clearly state the deliverables (e.g. plan, hardware, test coupons, experimental data, computer-aided design models, etc.), and identify/define solution constraints to the clearest extent possible. 

Phase 2

The second phase will be to develop and demonstrate the proposed approach for a new material by printing, testing, and evaluating coupons that meet the requirements of the challenge. This includes sourcing feedstock material for the selected MAM technique, developing the process parameters, and validating the quality of printed coupons with respect to microstructural porosity, mechanical properties (e.g. tensile strength, Charpy V-notch fracture toughness), and surface finish. 

Phase 3

The third phase will be to demonstrate the success of the proposed approach and new material by printing a steel cylinder with complex internal features (e.g. thickness variations, ogive shaping, integrating datums and features, etc) that meets the requirements of the challenge. 

Prize Award 

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, they will grant to the Seeker Government Purpose Rights to build their solutions. However, the intent of this competition is to help the solution provider team with a company that can build a viable product for future Department of Defense purchase. 

The Doolittle Institute will host an An Ask Me Anything during which interested parties can get more information about requirements, working with AFRL, prize awards, and more. We will announce the official Grand Challenge launch on our social media channels and in our newsletter.

The Doolittle Institute, an AFRL Innovation Institute, supports the Air Force Research Labs Munitions Directorate by working to license and commercialize AFRL/RW technologies in the private sector, enable rapid technology delivery to the warfighter, identify and foster new R&D partnerships and develop AFRL’s current and future workforce. The Doolittle Institute is a member of the Defensewerx Family.

For more information, please contact

Entrepreneurs, Volunteers establish 1 Million Cups Okaloosa

One Million Cups with sponsors

The Doolittle Institute is partnering with the Okaloosa Economic Development Council’s One Okaloosa; Niceville/Valparaiso, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Crestview Chambers of Commerce; and Northwest Florida State College to bring the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial community, 1 Million Cups, to Okaloosa County. Beginning May 5, 2021, the Doolittle Institute will invite startups and small business to apply for the opportunity to present their business concepts and receive feedback from a supportive audience of entrepreneurial-minded professionals.

1 Million Cups is for mentoring, coaching, and supporting entrepreneurs. Presenters are not giving sales pitches or investor pitches. Presenters will not receive Shark Tank-like feedback. The goal of presenting is for entrepreneurs and small business owners to share their struggles and challenges with others so that they may find support and solutions for building a successful business. Entrepreneurs may apply to present multiple times as they incorporate advice from previous presentations.

This free program is designed to educate, engage, and inspire entrepreneurs. The program started in 2012 in Kansas City as a way to stimulate entrepreneurial efforts, provide resources, and overcome the struggle to growing small businesses successfully. According to the 1 Million Cups website, “1 Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses.” By January 2018, 1 Million Cups had grown to 163 communities with the support from more than 800 volunteers in 40+ states.

Companies that are less than five years old and open to community engagement can apply to present at 1 Million Cups Okaloosa. All industries are welcome. Presenters will have six minutes to tell the community who they are, what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. After the presentation, there will be a 20-minute Q&A session that will give presenters the opportunity to connect with their audience, culminating to the million-dollar question: “What can we as a community do to help you?”

The hybrid in-person/virtual event will occur every Wednesday, starting May 5, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Central Time. You will find meeting links, presenters, and community organizers on the 1 Million Cups website.