Next Generation Tactical Aircraft (Next Gen TACAIR)

Capability Request for Information (CRFI) Version: 1.0 1 Nov 2010

Solicitation Number: XR_Next_Gen_TACAIR_Technology

Response Due Date: Dec 17, 2010 5:00 pm Eastern

Notice Type: Presolicitation

SYNOPSIS: The Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) Capability Development and Planning Division (XRX) is conducting market research analyses to examine applicable materiel concepts and related technology for a Next Generation Tactical Aircraft (Next Gen TACAIR) capability with an initial operational capability (IOC) of approximately 2030.  The envisioned system may possess enhanced capabilities in areas such as reach, persistence, survivability, net-centricity, situational awareness, human-system integration, and weapons effects.  It must be able to operate in the anti-access/area-denial environment that will exist in the 2030-2050 timeframe.

This capability request for information (CRFI) is open to all companies.  No contract is intended to be awarded as a result of this CRFI, however any follow on announcements/contracts related to a Next Gen TACAIR system will be restricted to US companies or those meeting the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) requirements for foreign owned companies with Defense Security Service (DSS) approved mitigation for performing classified work.

Responses to this CRFI are due no later than 17 Dec 2010.  Those interested are encouraged to submit cost data if available.  Industry is encouraged to respond with information not constrained by proprietary data rights; however, if any information is considered proprietary, then the cover page and pages containing such information must be marked accordingly.  Multiple responses, each addressing a concept or family of concepts are encouraged (but not required) from each party.

TITLE: Next Generation Tactical Aircraft (Next Gen TACAIR) Materiel and Technology Concepts Search

CAPABILITY DESCRIPTION: ASC/XRX is conducting market research analyses to examine applicable materiel concepts and related technology for a Next Gen TACAIR capability with an IOC of approximately 2030.  The envisioned system may possess enhanced capabilities in areas such as reach, persistence, survivability, net-centricity, situational awareness, human-system integration, and weapons effects.  The primary mission in the future Next Gen TACAIR definition is Offensive and Defensive Counterair to include subset missions including Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Close Air Support (CAS) and Air Interdiction (AI).  It may also fulfill airborne electronic attack and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capabilities.

This is not an all-inclusive list and the Next Gen TACAIR definition will mature and sharpen as the market research and Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) unfold.  The ongoing CBA is assessing potential capability gaps, while this CRFI will support a concurrent market research assessment.  The future system will have to counter adversaries equipped with next generation advanced electronic attack, sophisticated integrated air defense systems, passive detection, integrated self-protection, directed energy weapons, and cyber attack capabilities.  It must be able to operate in the anti-access/area-denial environment that will exist in the 2030-2050 timeframe.

ASC is issuing this CRFI to support Air Combat Command (ACC) in their effort to establish potential weapon system concepts and future operating environment definition, establish a common understanding of future capability needs, and define key enabling technologies and their path to maturity.  This CRFI will support requirements generation/refinement and provide decision-making products (including cost analyses) required to estimate operational benefits.

The Government is issuing this CRFI to conduct market research in accordance with Part 10 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.  This market research is for information and planning purposes only.  Before submitting any information to the Government, be advised that the Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this request or to otherwise pay for the information you provide.  Your responses will be treated as information only and will not be evaluated as a proposal.

However, respondents’ information may be used, not attributed to a particular respondent, as a basis to engage with appropriate USAF organizations to inform and clarify the Next Gen TACAIR concept and mission needs.  Not responding to this CRFI does not preclude participation in any future announcements/contracts related to a Next Gen TACAIR system.

Submission of Proprietary Information Caution:  The government appreciates that interested firms may not be able to respond to this CRFI without disclosing information deemed “proprietary” or “competition sensitive”.  Data submitted in response to this CRFI will be widely distributed and discussed within the Government as it will be used to assist in developing an acquisition strategy for any future ACC Next Gen TACAIR program.

It is the responsibility of respondents to mark submitted information with appropriate restrictive markings.  The Government’s analyses of responses will require disclosure of your responses to contractor personnel who directly support the Government.  The analysis team will be reminded of their obligation to protect submitted information to the maximum extent permitted or required by the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 1831 et seq., and other applicable statutes or regulations.

In addition, Government members will be reminded of their obligations to afford protection under the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905. All support contractor members are required to protect the information by the terms of their contracts.  The Government Project Manager determined the support contractor personnel have no organizational conflicts of interest that could adversely affect protection of the information.

APPROACH: The Government’s objective is to develop a range of promising options at several capability and affordability levels.  The Government is interested in responses from industry in the following format(s):

1.       Materiel Concept – Provide a clear and thorough description of materiel concepts that may define a Next Gen TACAIR system with capabilities to accomplish counterair missions in a 2030 operating environment.  Correlate each concept to applicable technology white papers (see below).  The concepts should be based on sound operational analysis/experience, and be grounded in current concept of operations (CONOPS) and/or plausible future CONOPS circa the 2030+ environment.  Respondents may provide multiple materiel concepts.  Each concept should be provided as a separate white paper.

2.       Technology Concept – Provide a description of the technology concept and the operational benefit it will add to a Next Gen TACAIR system.  Estimate and explain the reasonable likelihood of the technology meeting Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 by the 2020 timeframe.  Provide an assessment of the current TRL based on the scale provided in the Technology Readiness Level table below.  For planning purposes, estimate budget needed to advance the technology from its current state to TRL 6.  Discuss risks and technical challenges that must be resolved to reach TRL 6.

Identify any enabling technologies which must also be developed to ensure successful implementation of the applicable technology concept.  Describe any demonstrations, experiments, testing and/or prototyping performed to date.  Summarize resulting data and conclusions.  Describe technology objectives and key technical metrics for future development.  Discuss potential cost issues.  State whether these programs are currently funded through TRL 6 maturity, and broadly identify funding sources (DoD-funded, independent research and development-funded, etc.).

Predict system integration risk and operational limitations in an operational TACAIR environment.  Please provide a separate white paper for each technology concept or family of related and complimentary technology concepts; multiple white papers may be provided.  Of key interest to the Government is technology which is applicable to the following areas (these interest areas are not all inclusive and may change depending on the outcome of the CBA):

a)  Air Vehicle

b)  Vehicle/Sensor Protection

c)  Propulsion

d)  Warning and Situational Awareness

e)  Sensors

f)   Data Fusion

g)  Offensive/Defensive Systems

h)  Automatic Target Recognition (Ground and Air)

i)   Communications, Networks, and Data Links

j)   Kinetic Weapons

k)  Non-kinetic Weapons

l)   Electronic Warfare and Information Operations

m) Secondary Power Generation, Storage and Management

n) Thermal Management and Heat Rejection

o)  Human System Integration (HSI)

p)  Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Optionally Manned Systems

Technology Readiness Level Description
1.  Basic principles observed and reported. Lowest level of technology readiness.  Scientific research begins to be translated into technology’s basic properties.
2.  Technology concept and/or application formulated. Invention begins.  Once basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented.  The application is speculative and there is no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumption.  Examples are still limited to paper studies.
3.  Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept. Active research and development is initiated.  This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology.  Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.
4.  Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment. Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together.  This is relatively “low fidelity” compared to the eventual system.  Examples include integration of “ad hoc” hardware in a laboratory.
5.  Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment. Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly.  The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the technology can be tested in simulated environment.  Examples include “high fidelity” laboratory integration of components.
6.  System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment. Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond the breadboard tested for level 5, is tested in a relevant environment.  Represents a major step up in a technology’s demonstrated readiness.  Examples include testing a prototype in a high fidelity laboratory environment or in simulated operational environment.
7.  System prototype demonstration in an operational environment. Prototype near or at planned operational system.  Represents a major step up from level 6, requiring the demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment.  Examples include testing the prototype in a test bed aircraft.
8.  Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration. Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions.  In almost all cases, this level represents the end of true system development.  Examples include developmental test and evaluation of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if it meets design specifications.
9.  Actual system proven through successful mission operations. Actual application of the technology in its final form and under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluation.  Examples include using the system under operational mission conditions.

RESPONSES AND PAGE LIMITATIONS: This CRFI is open to all companies.  No contract is intended to be awarded as a result of this CRFI, however any follow on announcements/contracts related to a Next Gen TACAIR system will be restricted to US companies or those meeting the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) requirements for foreign owned companies with Defense Security Service (DSS) approved mitigation for working on classified work.

Responses to this CRFI are due no later than 17 Dec 2010.  Those interested are encouraged to submit cost data if available.  Each response should include two (2) hard copies and two (2) Windows compatible CDs with electronic data files.  Responses should not exceed 20 pages per white paper, although multiple white papers may be submitted.  Please label each white paper as either “Materiel Concept” or “Technology Concept”.

Firms responding to this announcement should indicate their business size in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) standard. Ensure that the submission provides the company name, address and a point of contact with e-mail address and telephone number.

Responses (UNCLASSIFIED and CLASSIFIED up to SECRET) should be sent/delivered to:

ASC/XRX, 2275 D Street     Attn: Mike Wilke

Bldg 16, RM 0053

Wright-Patterson AFB 45433-7224

Related Links:

FedBizOps: CRFI Notice

AF Magazine: The Sixth Generation Fighter

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