Reaper support contract awarded

The Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces Directorate’s Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft System Division recently awarded a $5.9 million Commercial Solutions Opening contract to American Data Solutions, to support the operational delivery of an innovative Technical Data Viewer and Conversion solution for the MQ-9 Reaper Program.

When an aircraft such as an MQ-9 is fielded, it is delivered with technical data to include installation and maintenance manuals. This is generally delivered as a pdf document and source data for electronic viewing, which doesn’t follow any specific formatting. This contract effort takes that source data, converts it to a U.S. Air Force compliant, industry standard format, which provides Airmen with faster and more comprehensive access to verified accurate data, in an always-up-to-date and intuitive viewer.  

The one-year contract award marks one of the first utilizations of the streamlined CSO pilot program in order to support an immediate operational requirement. This demonstrated the contract structure’s opportunity to deliver innovative capabilities at the “speed of relevance”.

Utilizing the streamlined process enabled a contract award within 124 days of requirements identification, and nearly a 70 percent reduction in time-to-execute, compared to traditional methods.

An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft takes off on a training mission, May 13, 2013. The Reaper is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. A fully operational system consists of several sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft, ground control station, Predator Primary Satellite Link, and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions. (Air Force photograph)

The CSO Pilot Program, as outlined in the fiscal year 2017 NDAA, provides expedited access to commercial vendors who can present innovative solutions to existing requirements. 

This program is intended to reduce the procedural burdens often associated with traditional Defense contracting strategies, in order to invite more non-traditional defense contractors to introduce new uses to their commercial technologies. 

While previously more prevalent in the Research and Development environment, the MQ-9 Program’s utilization of the CSO structure to support immediate operational needs, highlights the significant value this strategy can provide to the warfighters.

“Our incredibly dedicated team of acquisition warriors pioneered a new way of thinking and applying CSOs,” said Col. Michael Jiru, Senior Materiel Leader, Medium Altitude UAS Division.  “It’s a tremendous success that allows us to quickly get after a user experience pain-point.  It’s another example in a long line of outside-of-the-box thinking that enables world class support of MQ-9 Reaper operations around the world.”

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