Simulators Division Hosts Successful Virtual Pitch Day
By Reyanna Sheets, Simulators Division
/ Published January 04, 2021
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Simulators Division, Agile Combat Support Directorate, hosted their second annual Pitch Day on Dec. 8-9, to award AFWERX Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II contracts to companies with innovative technologies focused on enhancing aircrew training.
Using 10 focus areas that were established with Air Force major commands (MAJCOMS) in early 2020, the Division worked with AFWERX to release a Commercial Solutions Opening announcement for proposals in September for the 20.3 SBIR cycle. This call resulted in 40 industry submissions with 15 companies invited to pitch their ideas in December.
“One of our primary objectives since I was appointed lead of the Simulators Division in March 2020 was to prepare for a potentially virtual I/ITSEC (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference),” said Col. John Kurian, Senior Materiel Leader. “Due to diligent planning on behalf of everyone involved, the second annual I/ITSEC Pitch Day was a success.”
Unlike 2019, when the pitching companies and the panel were in person at I/ITSEC, this year’s event was conducted in a unique hybrid-virtual panel using Microsoft Teams. All 15 pitch companies presented virtually along with half of the panel; the rest of the panel members socially distanced in the Simulators Division’s “Flight Deck” meeting space at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The Pitch Panel, with representatives from five MAJCOMs, spent two days hearing and discussing the 15 pitches, and selected ten winners. In these awards, the MAJCOM reps could see the capabilities supporting either multiple training systems, or multiple MAJCOMs, and potentially transition to operational training use within 3 years.
“The need to innovate at a faster pace than our adversaries is critical to maintaining our edge on the battlefield of tomorrow,” Kurian added. “Implementing the best training capabilities that the commercial world has to offer will ensure our aircrews have that edge.”
The Air Force Simulators Pitch Day supported through a strong partnership with I/ITSEC, also held their first ever virtual Pitch Day Showcase on Dec. 3 at the first virtual I/ITSEC. The Showcase was a raving success, with 26 vendors submitting two minute videos highlighting their innovative technology projects. The Showcase drew a crowd of hundreds and facilitated initial introductions between government and industry. The Showcase videos are accessible to view through the vIITSEC platform in the Simulators Pitch Day Booth until March of 2021.
On December 18th, the Simulators Pitch Day Team awarded $10 million to ten innovative small businesses. The ten innovative awards totaling $ 9,994,199 are:
- CORVID Technologies, LLC - Airwake modeling algorithms for virtual training simulations for air-to-air refueling for the B-52 and Air Force Global Strike Command. Corvid was founded in 2004 and is presently staffed with over 140 engineers. Corvid’s main campus is in Mooresville, N.C.
- Ingalls Information Security, LLC – Cybersecurity process and toolset for accreditation of containerized development and continuous integration delivery for lightweight training and simulation applications. Ingalls Information Security is a small, cyber security firm founded in 2010, and based in Woodworth, La.
- Pison Technology Inc. – Modular and extensible system architecture for a lightweight aircrew training simulator, working with AFLCMC/XA and future designs for Man-in-the-Loop simulators. Pison is a Boston, Mass. based firm founded in 2016.
- Netrist Solutions, LLC – Application of CAC authentication for extended reality training and simulation applications. Netrist Solutions has been working in the security and authentication space since 2010 and is based in Charleston, S.C.
- Soar Technology, Inc. –Automatic speech recognition technology in a deployable module for multi-user aircrew training simulators, initially for the AWACS aircrews. Soar was founded in 1998 and resides in Ann Arbor, Mich. They specialize in modeling of human behaviors and software that “thinks the way people think.”
- Aero Simulation, Inc. – Lightweight virtual reality aircrew training device utilizing a containerized aircraft Operational Flight Programs (OFP) for the B-1 Cockpit Procedures Trainer. Aero Simulation, Inc. is a Tampa, Fla., based flight simulator founded in 1983.
- Trek10 – Containerized cloud deployed refactoring of a multiplayer training and simulation engine for use by ISR/SOF platforms. Trek10 is located in South Bend, Ind. and specializes in cutting edge utilization of AWS platform services.
- Contact Control Interfaces, LLC – High fidelity haptic hand controls with exotendon and vibrotactile feedback in virtual reality aircrew training for the MC-12. This is a West Chester, Ohio based small business founded in 2014, whose primary focus is in the development and adoption of hand/finger focused haptic technologies.
- 3D Media – Immersive virtual reality gamified system for multiple crewmember preflight coordination training for weapons loading, initially for the B-52. 3D Media, founded in 2016, is a Thibodaux, La. small business and leader in development of VR/AR technologies for the defense and space industries.
- Moth + Flame – Immersive virtual reality multi-user, multi-aircraft training simulator for emergency procedures, formation flying, and multi-participant tactical scenarios for the MQ-9. Resolution Imagery, Inc., dba Moth + Flame, was founded in 2015 and resides in NYC. The company specializes in VR/AR/NLP and deploying experiential content at needed scale.
For small businesses looking to get involved in future projects, the Simulators Division works with AFWERX and the Air Force SBIR/STTR program. The Simulators Division releases focus areas under the “Open Topic” calls; information is available at https://www.afwerx.af.mil/sbir.html. Contracting opportunities for are announced at https://beta.sam.gov/, including the upcoming Training Systems Acquisition (TSA) IV pre-solicitation announcement. For general information about working with the USAF Simulators Division see our webpage at https://www.aflcmc.af.mil/simulators/.