ULS-A Prize Challenge
Prize Challenge Background
Program Manager Air (PMA-263), Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS), desires to accelerate the identification and evaluation of air vehicles and enabling technologies, prototyping development, and field evaluation of potential solutions for the Marine Corps Unmanned Logistics System- Air (ULS-A) mission. During the week of 27 January 2020, PMA-263 will sponsor a prize challenge competition in Yuma, Arizona to demonstrate and evaluate potential Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) solutions.
Three cash prizes will be awarded at the completion of this challenge competition: $100,000 for first place, $75,000 for second place, and $50,000 for third place.
Prize challenge participants will be required to demonstrate ground set-up and flight preparation procedures for their UAS, perform a refueling/battery replacement demonstration, and perform up to three autonomous flights. During the first flight, participating air vehicles must transport their maximum payload via GPS waypoints to a landing site 5km away, detach the cargo (either manually or automatically), then return to the original launch site. During the second flight, participating air vehicles must fly with a Government provided plastic water-filled 5-gallon jerrycan over a closed course to demonstrate the maximum range of the vehicle. Participants will be given the opportunity to perform an optional ungraded third flight to demonstrate unique features or capabilities. The air vehicle must complete each flight without refueling or recharging.
The air vehicle must transit at an airspeed no less than 25 knots and an altitude no greater than 1000 feet above ground level (AGL). The air vehicle must be capable of launching and recovering without a catapult, arresting net or cable, or other mechanical launch or recovery equipment. Participants shall ensure that their air vehicle is equipped with a transponder with a minimum of a Mode-3/C capability. Additional points will be awarded to air vehicles that integrate autonomous airborne sense & avoid, landing zone assessment, and ground obstacle avoidance capabilities.
Participants will be required to provide the Government with lost-link/return-to-home procedures to support range safety requirements. Participants will also be required to provide the Government with technical information to support coordination for civil landing permits, frequency spectrum authorization, Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) waiver approvals, and Government facility access. Participants will provide data that validates the maximum theoretical range of their air vehicle with a 45 pound payload.
As part of the initial application and to participate in this prize challenge, prospective competitors will submit a 3-5 page white paper that describes their technical approach to solving the challenge and the technical maturity of their solution. Applicants will also be required to provide a video clip of their air vehicle in flight while carrying a payload of at least 45 pounds.
During Phase-1 of this challenge, all applications will be reviewed by the Government. Following the Phase-1 review, the Government will select up to six invitees plus two alternates for participation in the Phase-2 Fly-Off in Yuma, AZ. Upon appearing for and participating in the Phase-2 Fly-Off, all contestants will receive a monetary award of $10,000 to help defray the costs of participation. Additionally, upon completion of the Phase-2 Fly-Off, the Government will award first, second, and third place prizes to competitors selected by the Government sponsor.
Winners will be determined by the Government using a best value approach, which includes evaluation of the application white paper, the final score using the Fly-Off Rubric, and the estimated single unit production cost of participating air vehicles. The Fly-Off Rubric will be provided to competitors along with their Fly-Off invitation package.
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.
Technical questions may be submitted in writing to the points of contact listed at the end of this announcement. Questions and answers related to the prize challenge will be posted and updated on this website.
Applications for participation will be accepted until 2359 EST on 18 October 2019. Invitations to participate in the Phase-2 Fly-Off will be issued via e-mail no later than 2359 EST on 25 October 2019. Responses to invitations will be due no later than 2359 EST on 8 November 2019. The first and second alternates will be notified and will receive invitations in the event that primary invitees decline invitations.
The Government, with assistance of contracted support personnel, will coordinate prize challenge range set-up and provide coordination assistance for airworthiness certification and frequency allocation as required.
The prize challenge venue is located in a remote location, approximately 25 miles from the nearest hotels and restaurants. Secured storage facilities, forklifts, and electrical generators, and weather shelters will be provided onsite. Additional information on the prize challenge venue and available services will be provided to invitees with their invitation package.
Successful participation in this prize challenge 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. In the case of an award under 10 U. S. Code, Section 2371b, a successful prototype project may result in the further award of a follow-on production agreement or contract without additional competition. In the case of an award under any of the authorities mentioned significant quantities may be needed for field testing. Some or all of the field tested units may be retained as a residual operational capability. The Government may make an award, even if all performance goals aren’t fully met.
Terms and Conditions for the Prize Challenge
The following terms and conditions apply to all participants in the Challenge.
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 prize challenge and the decisions of the Government. Rules and decisions are binding and final in all matters relating to this Challenge.
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 review of any data provided by participants. However, the Government will be solely responsible for determining which applicants will be extended an invitation to participate in the prize challenge. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been signed by the support contractors with the Government that precludes them from disclosing any proprietary data outside of the Government. If participants desire a separate NDA with the Government support contractors, participants should submit an NDA form, along with instructions, with their initial application.
By participating in this Challenge, 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 this Challenge, were obtained legally through authorized access to such data.
Eligibility Requirements. Eligibility is subject to verification by the Government before cash prizes are awarded. Participants (residents or entities) who are designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control are not eligible to receive any cash prize in the Challenge. Participants who are listed, or become listed, on the Excluded Parties List found on www.sam.gov, have any active exclusions, or are otherwise unable to be deemed responsible in accordance with FAR 9.104-1 based on information available in FAPIIS, are not eligible to receive any cash prize in the Challenge.
Only U.S. citizens and entities incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States are eligible to receive cash prizes in this Challenge.
Federal employees, including NAVAIR employees, and NAVAIR support contractors acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate in the challenge. Likewise, members of their immediate family (spouses, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, parents, step-parents), and persons living in the same household, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate in any portion of this Challenge. Federal employees and contractors acting outside the scope of their employment should consult their ethics official and appropriate management before participating in the Challenge.
Individuals and organizations that are funded by NAVAIR to support PMA-263 including, but not limited to, any Federally Funded Research and Development Centers and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), or private-sector personnel whose scope of work includes Tactical Resupply UAS technical development or administrative support are not eligible to participate in the challenge.
Taxes. Tax treatment of prizes will be handled in accordance with U.S. Internal Revenue Service guidelines. The winners must provide a U.S. taxpayer identification number (e.g. a social security number) to receive the cash prize.
Payment. Participants selected as award winners must submit all required taxpayer identification and bank account information required to complete an electronic payment of the monetary prize. Failure to provide the Government required documents for electronic payment within 30 days of notification by the Government will result in a disqualification of the winning entry.
Government Right to Cancel, Suspend or Modify Challenge. The Government reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend or modify the Challenge. These rules may be changed without prior notice, and all participants should monitor this website for the latest information. The Government further reserves the right to select no winners and award no prize money if the Government determines, in its sole discretion, that an award is not in the best interest of the Government.
Decision Authority. The PMA 263 Program Manager will be the final decision authority for all matters concerning the Challenge.
Responsibility for Costs Incurred. Nothing in these rules, to include information on the websites publicizing the award, may be interpreted as authorizing the incurrence of any costs, or modifying the statement of work or authorizing work outside the terms and conditions of any existing agreements or contracts with the Government.
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 prize challenge or the participant’s submission.
Liability. By participating in this challenge, 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 challenge, 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 Challenge (including the participant’s use or acceptance of any prize and 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 or rules will remain in effect.
Translations. In the event of any discrepancy between the English version of these terms and rules and a translated version, the English version will govern.
Governing Law. This prize challenge 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.
Availability of Funds. The Government’s obligation for prizes under 10 U.S.C. 2374a is subject to availability of appropriated funds from which payment for prize purposes can be made. No legal liability on the part of the Government for any payment of prizes may arise unless appropriated funds are available to the United States Navy for such purposes.
Points of Contact
The evaluation criteria listed below represent the minimum required performance expected from participating systems during the prize challenge. These minimum criteria will be used to evaluate applicants and select those who will receive invitations to participate. During the prize challenge, the Government will evaluate the extent to which participant systems meet or exceed these minimum criteria in a way that provides value to the Government. A more detailed scoring rubric will be provided to each competitor with their prize challenge invitation package.
Mission Profile: The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) shall autonomously launch from a fixed shore base, navigate through a series of GPS-defined waypoints, to a fixed geographic delivery site five kilometers away, then return to the original launch site. The air vehicle must make the round trip without refueling or recharging.
Payload: The UAV shall be capable of carrying a water-filled five-gallon Jerry Can, which will be provided by the Government at the prize challenge. The Jerry Can will be carried to the delivery site and return with the UAV to the original launch site. The UAV must be capable of carrying this payload without the use of a suspension cable or traditional external sling mechanism, such that the vehicle can land with the payload. The payload may be carried internal to the air vehicle or rigidly connected to the exterior of the air vehicle.
Launch and Landing: The UAV must be capable of launching and recovering without a catapult, arresting net or cable, or other mechanical launching or recovery equipment.
Navigation: All UAV navigation will be performed autonomously, without human pilot inputs. Specialized navigation and approach systems may be installed by the participant at the launch site and delivery sight to support autonomous launch and recovery, but extra credit will be awarded to solutions that do not require equipment other than systems integrated into the air vehicle.
Weather Capability: Must be able to operate in a daytime visual flight rules environment.
Size: Participant UAVs max gross take-off weight must not exceed 1320 pounds.
Operating altitude: At or below 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL)
Cruise speed: No less than 25 kts.
Range: Participants shall provide data that validates the maximum theoretical range of their air vehicle with a 45 pound payload.
To apply for participation in the ULS-A Prize Challenge, please complete the application form below and submit by clicking on the “Submit” button at the end of the form.