Slingshot Aerospace wins USAF SBIR award
Slingshot Aerospace, Inc., of El Segundo, CA, announced on March 26 that the United States Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) awarded the company a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract, which encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) to pursue high-tech innovation that has the potential for commercialization. In conjunction, Slingshot Aerospace venture capital backers ATX Venture Partners and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund matched the government’s funding as part of the RAPID Innovation Fund, a program at the United States Department of Defense that seeks to accelerate fielding of promising technologies into military systems.
The combined $3 million will support rapid development and deployment of Slingshot EDGE, the company’s Artificial Intelligence-powered EDGE platform for use with small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), in particular with software development, engineering and system tests. Slingshot EDGE will help enable Air Force Special Operations forces to pivot from manually intensive situational awareness processes to a more tactical, timely and autonomous decision-making solution.
“This partnership is a groundbreaking testament to the power of government working with technical and financial innovators,” said Melanie Stricklan, CSO and co-founder of Slingshot Aerospace. “Our team looks forward to focusing our advanced EDGE development on meeting the high standards set by the U.S. Air Force. This award will undoubtedly accelerate real-time situational awareness on the battlefield and provide a unique opportunity for us to take a validated product that provides decision advantage to entirely new markets.”
Slingshot Aerospace pursued the RAPID program and contract funding after successfully demonstrating the technical feasibility of Slingshot EDGE during the first phase of the SBIR application.
The Air Force’s drive to increase the speed from development to commercialization through endeavors such as the Air Force Pitch Day has been led by Dr. Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
“The thing we wanted to prove with Pitch Day is that it’s tough to do change in government, but not impossible,” said Dr. Roper. “This Pitch Day is about keeping a competitive EDGE and keeping a competitive mindset in acquisition that refuses to allow a technology that exists to be developed faster by any adversary.”
Source: Slingshot Aerospace