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Armament Industry Roundtable puts Industry, Air Force on same page

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 innovation@doolittleinstitute.org.

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