The Navy's Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons [PEO (U&W)] has launched a new program, known as Innovation and Modernization-Patuxent River (IMPAX), to hasten the pace of rolling out emerging technologies and capabilities to the fleet.
IMPAX uses the existing concept of a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) -- which allows nonfederal government intermediaries to coordinate and solicit ideas from nontraditional science and technology sources, small businesses, individuals, and academia -- in order to bring forth ideas from parties not usually able to contribute directly to military solutions.
Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, who oversees PEO (U&W), said of the initiative: "This new concept is intended to gain access to technologies and ideas from sources that might normally not have access to defense programs. Beyond access to those technologies, we are seeking a more rapid manner to solve unique problems and deliver capabilities to the warfighter in a much faster timeline. We hope to reduce the technology development timeline to several months versus several years."
The first IMPAX project was awarded in September to Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI); the initial project is focused on integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
While PEO (U&W) is hosting the initial trial of this process at NAS Patuxent River, the Navy hopes that this method will spread throughout other areas of the naval aviation enterprise.