Offering a brief look at the vital research and development contributions made by
the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program in direct support of the Air Force mission.
Air Force SBIR Update
by Stephen Guilfoos, Air Force SBIR Program Manager
Raising the Bar
The Air Force SBIR Phase II Enhancement Program – Revisited
In our 3rd Qtr 2000 Air Force SBIR The purpose of the enhancement program is to address
unanticipated technical barriers that are keeping the SBIR
Advantage newsletter, we discussed the small businesses from meeting their intended Phase II
objectives. One of those objectives is to commercialize
their technology through Phase III contracts. By
initiation of the Air Force SBIR Enhancement
“commercialization” we mean the selling of their SBIR
product or service to military customers. Because of the
program. Since that time, we have modiﬁed risky nature of SBIR, there are many unknowns. Some of
those unknowns grow into barriers for small businesses
the enhancement process to bring it more that cannot be broken down without additional
development work. As such, the small business will
in concert with the needs of the Air Force. not be able to commercialize their technology without
additional work. This additional work is usually outside
the scope of the original Phase II contract.
continued on page 4...
SBIR Tech Issues
Tech Issues is intended for personnel directly involved in the operation and support of the AF SBIR program.
Shopping Mall’s “new look” and increased capabilities
CBD, and OSD agency topics which are managed by the Air
Force. In this latter regard, you can search the Tech Mall by
any of the applicable agencies or use the default setting for
“all” agencies combined. Since this is a new capability, the
Tech Mall contains detailed instructions for using the agency
search options. Please note that the Army and Navy also
manage selected MDA, CBD, and OSD SBIR/STTR topics,
but those topics are not part of our Technology Mall.
Electronic Library – Thumbnail Images
When folks visit their local community
Mouse-over message tips libraries, it is a common practice to take new
books off the display shelf for a brief glance
Starting with the Home Page of the cover and book jacket. In a virtual
If you haven’t visited the Shopping Mall during the past sense within the Shopping Mall’s Electronic
few months, you are in for a pleasant surprise that begins Library, you can now view the opening
once you open the home page. You will notice that the pages of SBIR Advantage Newsletters,
artistic layout has been modiﬁed to give the Mall a richer Impact and Transition Stories, and brochures
color contrast, along with eye-catching graphics. However, and publications. This is accomplished
there is no learning curve for the user in that we retained the through use of “thumbnail images,” which
same basic menu and navigational structure. Further, we appear to the left of publication titles, with the option of
recently added mouse-over message tips, containing brief expanding the thumbnails to full screen view by double-
text descriptions associated with each of the menu headings clicking them with your mouse button.
to assist you in readily identifying the appropriate Mall
Small Business Area –
concourse so that you can readily ﬁnd the information For Small Business Firms Only
you are seeking. If you are not a small business ﬁrm registered
Expanded Technology Mall – Agency Searches on the DoD SBIR/STTR submission website,
The Tech Mall is where you can ﬁnd small business ﬁrms’ then you do not need access to the Small
award abstracts, summary reports, and Impact/Transition Business Area. This section of the Shopping
stories relating to Mall is password controlled since its purpose
speciﬁc SBIR/STTR is to collect and convey ﬁrm-speciﬁc
topic numbers. Over information. Think of the Small Business
the past year, more Area as a business communication hub for
and more Phase I and ﬁrms wishing to submit summary reports, draft Impact and
Phase II summary Transition stories, and Phase II enhancement and Fast Track
Quick way to narrow your search reports are starting data. Further, ﬁrms can receive proposal status debrieﬁngs
to appear, providing once SBIR/STTR awards are made. For small business ﬁrms,
updated R&D narratives the Small Business Area is now an electronic SBIR/STTR
beyond that initially business practice.
contained in the award Come and See for Yourself!
abstract proposals. The above represents some of the highlights of the
Moreover, we have dynamically evolving Shopping Mall. In addition to the agency
expanded the Tech search expansion within the Technology Mall, the Small
Mall to include not only Business Listing is growing by leaps and bounds as more
Air Force “agency” ﬁrms add their R&D mission summaries. The Small Business
SBIR/STTR abstracts Listing is a great data resource for customers searching for
and summary reports ﬁrms’ core competencies. Best of all – since the Shopping
but also selected MDA, Mall is a 24/7 public website – you can visit the Mall at your
If searching by ALL, it will convenience and see for yourself.
indicate the agency to the right
of the listing.
AF SBIR Transition Impact
SB I R Project Aids Development
of New Optical Technology for
Testing On-board I R Sensors
Air Force Requirements using the collimator to
The test and evaluation support the Airborne Laser
of installed IR sensors (ABL) program. The future
on-board modern military use of this test capability of a collimator of this kind Real-time, large format
IR scene generators
aircraft presents new will enable pre-mission/pre- especially challenging. The
challenges for the ground ﬂight as well as post-ﬂight resulting test equipment require high ﬁdelity
test environment. Current check out of installed IR and associated software and versatile optical
development of real-time, sensors to reduce ﬂight provided by OPTICS 1 coupling to serve
large format, IR scene hours needed to debug added capability that has modern military aircraft.
generators and free space systems, to provide a beneﬁted a number of other The resultant optical
projectors require optically secure test facility, and company state-ofthe-art collimators are being
coupling between the to provide a controlled, electro-optical programs. used on a number of
The work performed for DoD programs. The Air
projector and the installed repeated test environment
Force has proposed
sensor to simulate an IR for post-ﬂight debugging. the Air Force Flight Test
this SBIR supported
scene which is observed by This will result in more Center (AFFTC), Edwards system to support the
the sensor with sufﬁcient capable IR sensors at AFB was later leveraged in Airborne Laser (ABL)
ﬁdelity such that the sensor a reduced cost from a the development of a multi- program.
behaves as if it were Test and Evaluation (T&E) spectral imaging system
observing the outside world approach. currently being delivered
during a ﬂight. under a Phase III SBIR SBIR Topic
Company Impact Number:
contract with another DoD
SBIR Technology The SBIR project presented AF95-245
This SBIR effort addressed a unique set of challenges
the critical shortfall in test to assure the level of The opportunity to design Optical Coupler Between
capability by analysis, performance needed by the and implement a state- IR Scene Emitter &
design, and manufacture Air Force. While OPTICS 1 of-the-art test system
of various IR optical had prior experience in signiﬁcantly advanced the Contract Number:
collimators to provide zoom lenses, this program company’s capabilities and 04611-96-C-0071
compact, high ﬁdelity, added signiﬁcantly to the design methodologies. This
low proﬁle, and versatile, company’s speciﬁc knowledge is used on a OPTICS 1 Inc.
interfaces between an understanding of thermal continuous basis in other Westlake Village, CA
IR two-dimensional, free infrared zoom optics. This SBIR projects, in non-SBIR
Technical Project Office:
space IR emitter and the knowledge and experience government work and in AFFTC/412TW/EW-MA
sensor unit under test. contributed to OPTICS 1 commercial and industrial Edwards AFB, CA
winning of a subsequent Air systems.
Transition Payoff Force development contract
The resultant optical for a wide-angle infrared
collimators have been collimator.
used to provide a proof- Optical test equipment
of-concept demonstration must typically perform
with an IR Maverick missile 2 to 4 times better than
and have been used by the system under test.
the Navy to test Forward This makes the design
Looking Infrared sensors. and implementation
The Air Force has proposed
the IR projector system
Air Force SBIR Update Continued from front page...
The enhancement Will We Accept
program will extend Other Government
existing Phase II Money?
contracts for up Under extenuating
to an additional circumstances, the
year and add more enhancement program
money to pay will allow other non-
for the additional military government
development that is needed to break down these money to be used as matching money when other
technological barriers. The Air Force SBIR program will potential customers of the technology are interested in
add up to $500,000 of SBIR money matched to other helping fund the enhancement.
non-SBIR government money. Some examples of other non-military sources:
Special grants from state agencies
WHY Government Money?
Other federal agencies
One of the goals of the DOD SBIR program is to transition
And in rare instances, prime contractors.
technology into operational use within the military. This is
part and parcel of the small business’ commercialization The Phase II enhancement program is executed by the
plan. When a technology barrier is discovered, we realize AFRL technology directorates and at the logistics and test
that this technology transition goal might not be met. To centers. The ﬁnal decisions are local. In special situations,
enhance the potential of transition to a military weapon these organizations may waive the requirement that the
system or subsystem, and to demonstrate the interest matching money be fully equal to the Air Force amount of
of the military in using the technology, we are looking for enhancement money. We allow the ﬂexibility to leverage
military acquisition ofﬁces to invest their non-SBIR money the matching money.
toward that SBIR effort. The reasoning here is simple. If
a military acquisition ofﬁce is willing to invest its money, Bottom Line
they usually have a high level of interest in actually using The Air Force has set aside more than 10% of our SBIR
this technology in their systems and subsystems. budget for use on Phase II enhancements. We are ﬁrmly
A secondary reason for government money, speciﬁcally committed to helping small businesses break down
military money, is that we can put the money directly on technological barriers that keep their technology from
the SBIR contract and control how the small business being successfully transitioned into operational use. We
spends those additional dollars. When the matching want to do more than just develop technology – we want
money comes from non-military sources, the money goes to increase the potential of the technology being actually
to the small business through other avenues outside the used in the military marketplace.
SBIR program. Hence, the SBIR program losses control
over how that money is actually spent.
Research Laboratory AFRL Air Force SBIR Program SBIR Advantage is published
Science and Technology for Tomorrow’s Air and Space Force AFRL/XPTT quarterly by the Air Force SBIR
2275 D Street Program office. This publication
Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433-7226 offers an overview of AF SBIR issues
and information. The purpose of
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SBIR Advantage is to provide Air Force,
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DoD, and other government leader-
ship with additional insight into the
vital contributions made by the SBIR
The goal of the Air Force SBIR Program program to Air Force R&D.
is to serve the technology needs of Air
SBIR Advantage is available online at:
Force warfighters. It accomplishes its
mission as part of the Air Force Research
Laboratory’s (AFRL) integrated research Contents of this newsletter are not
necessarily the official views of, or
and development (R&D) team. AFRL’s are endorsed by, the U.S. Government,
mission is leading the discovery, devel- DoD, or Department of the Air Force.
opment, and integration of affordable
warfighting technologies for our air
& space forces.