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Autonomous Tools and Technology Challenge


NAWC seeks participation in the 2021 NAWC ANTX (May 2021) in the area of UAS Autonomy Technologies and Autonomous Tools arena to support Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) under the Joint War At Sea (JWAS) initiative. NAWC is seeking UAS autonomy technologies autonomous tools and technology that can support the various missions on manned and unmanned platforms to conduct to fulfill broad and specific use cases and applications including anti surface and surveillance missions. As capability and complexity increase, the need for autonomy becomes increasingly important. Mundane tasks such as route navigation, holding, and maintaining operations within the limits of the UAS are now performed autonomously. More complex tasks, such as image recognition, decision-making, and cooperative operations to allow crew to focus on mission and offload tasks are being are desired. The Navy is seeking autonomous tools and technology for manned/unmanned platforms to conduct to support various broad and specific use cases and applications including anti surface and surveillance missions. Focus areas include:

  • Sense and Avoid: Other aircraft, natural, and manmade terrain
  • Mission Execution: Navigation, decision making, cooperative operations, including a platform agnostic watchdog that monitors autonomy code and ensures the commands don’t exceed safety limits
  • Platform Agnostic: Standardized software and hardware modular interfaces for flight control and autonomy architecture that provide common flight control user interfaces and autonomy architecture across multiple platforms; a common ground control station modular across multiple UAS types (quadcopter, fixed wing, hybrid, underwater, and surface unmanned vehicles)
  • Synthetic systems to train Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Language (ML) to train AI image classification algorithms: Algorithms that enable image classification “training” from synthetic images including Deep Neural Networks and Deep Learning
  • New and innovative application of commercial UAS technologies


Application Deadline. Applications for participation in the NAWC ANTX (May 2021) will be accepted until 2359 EST on 28 February 2021. Invitations to participate in the experiment are anticipated to be issued via e-mail no later than 2359 EST on 27 March 2021. Responses to invitations will be due no later than 2359 EST on 10 April 2021.

As part of the initial application to participate in the NAWC ANTX event, prospective candidates will need to submit the following:

  • Online web application
  • White paper (template available here) not to exceed 6 pages, describing their system/technology. The submitted technologies will be evaluated on; (1) estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL), (2) the system’s potential uses for NAVAIR, and (3) applicability to the warfighter. Therefore, submitted white papers must address these factors.
  • PowerPoint packet (template available here) includes one quad chart slide, and four (4) additional slides that can be used for any additional pictures or videos.


All submitted applications will be reviewed by the Government. Technologies that will be targeted will be determined following review of the white papers by the Government for inclusion in the NAWC ANTX event. Not all applications will be given the opportunity to participate in the ANTX event.

The Government will coordinate NAWC ANTX event range set-up and provide coordination assistance for airworthiness certification and frequency allocation as required.

The NAWC ANTX event venue is located at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland or Webster Outlying Field (WOLF) in Saint Inigoes, Maryland.

Successful participation in the NAWC ANTX event may result in the award of an Other Transaction (OT) agreement (under authority of 10 U.S. Code Section 2371 or 2371b) or award of a procurement contract for experimental purposes (10 U. S. Code Section 2373) or a combination of these authorities. The Government reserves the right to make multiple, one, or no awards as a result of this event.


Terms and Conditions:

These terms and conditions apply to all participants in the NAWC ANTX event.

Agreement to Terms. By responding to this announcement, the participant agrees to comply with and be bound by the rules (including these terms and conditions) of this NAWCAD ANTX event and the decisions of the Government. Rules and decisions are binding and final in all matters relating to this event.

Security Requirements. By responding to this announcement, the participant agrees to comply with the DoDM 5200.01 (all volumes) and the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (DoD 5220.22-M) and any revisions to those manuals.

Participation by Government Support Contractors. Government support contractors will assist in the planning and execution of the ANTX events. All decisions related to performance will be conducted by Government personnel.

By participating in this event, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) warrants and assures the Government that any data used for the purpose of submitting an entry for the NAWC ANTX event, were obtained legally through authorized access to such data.

Eligibility Requirements. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate. Only U.S. companies or companies with U.S.-based offices are eligible to participate. Eligible and interested applicants should submit applications via this website using the links below. Participants must be in compliance with NDAA Section 848 and 889 as well as Title 10 U.S.C 2350a(a)(2).

Eligibility is subject to verification by the Government. Participants (residents or entities) who are designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control are not eligible. Participants who are listed, or become listed, on the Excluded Parties List found on, have any active exclusions, or are otherwise unable to be deemed responsible in accordance with FAR 9.1 based on information available in FAPIIS, are not eligible to participate in the event.

Federal employees, including NAVAIR/ NAWC employees and NAVAIR / NAWC support contractors acting within the scope of their employment, are not eligible to participate in the challenge. Federal employees and contractors acting outside the scope of their employment should consult their ethics official and appropriate management before applying for participation in this demonstration.

Government Right to Cancel, Suspend or Modify the Event. The Government reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend or modify the NAWC ANTX event. The Government further reserves the right to select no technology/systems if it is not in the best interest of the Government.

Responsibility for Costs Incurred. The NAWC is not responsible for any vendor costs incurred by participating in the ANTX event including coordination for participation in the event. Nothing in these stated terms, to include information on the websites publicizing the NAWC ANTX event, may be interpreted as authorizing NAWCAD to reimburse any costs, regardless of type or how incurred.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. Upon invitation to participate in the ANTX event, and prior to said participation, all non-Government participants will be required to execute a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. The example CRADA is available here.

Release of Claims. The participant agrees to release and forever discharge any and all manner of claims, equitable adjustments, actions, suits, debts, appeals, and all other obligations of any kind, whether past or present, known or unknown, that have or may arise from, are related to or are in connection with, directly or indirectly, this event or the participant’s submission.

Liability. By participating in this event, the participant agrees to assume, and thereby has assumed, any and all risks of injury or loss in connection with, or in any way arising from participation in this event, or development of any submission.

Indemnification. The participant indemnifies the Government and its affiliates, directors, officers, employees against all liabilities, damages, losses, costs, fees (including legal fees), and expenses relating to any allegation or third-party legal proceeding to the extent arising from:

 (a) The participant’s acts or omissions in relation to the NAWC ANTX event (including the participant’s breach of these Terms); and

 (b) The participant’s submissions violating any rights of any other person or entity or any obligation the participant may have with them.


Compliance with Laws. The participant agrees to follow and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies.

Disclaimers. All content provided by the Government is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis. The Government disclaims all representations and warranties (express or implied), including any warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Government is not responsible for any incomplete, failed, or delayed transmission of your application information or submissions due to the internet, including interruption or delays caused by equipment or software malfunction or other technical problems. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government.

Severability. If any term (or part of a term) of these terms or rules is invalid, illegal or unenforceable, the rest of the terms will remain in effect.

Translations. In the event of any discrepancy between the English version of these terms and a translated version, the English version will govern.

Governing Law. This event is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms will be governed by the federal laws and regulations of the United States of America.

Evaluation Criteria. The following evaluation criteria will be used to determine which technologies should be offered an opportunity to participate in the NAWC ANTX:

  • Technology readiness level;
  • Applicability to warfighting capability
  • Warfighting impact and relevance, and ability to demonstrate/ experiment with that capability


These criteria will be used to evaluate applicants and select those who will receive invitations to participate. The Government will evaluate participant systems on these criteria in order to determine which systems could potentially provide value to the Government. The stated criteria is not listed in order of importance. The Government reserves the right to conduct a tradeoff analysis to determine participation in the ANTX event. The Government reserves the right to select alternate participants to the extent determined reasonable and appropriate.

Web Application

To apply for participation in the NAWC ANTX event, please complete the application form below and submit by clicking on the “Submit” button at the end of the form.


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