U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Eric Rosales, 62nd Attack Squadron crew chiefs, works on an MQ-9 Reaper on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 18, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – 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 (CSO) contract to American Data Solutions, to support the operational delivery of an innovative Technical Data Viewer and Conversion solution for the MQ-9 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 USAF 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.
The CSO Pilot Program, as outlined in the FY17 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.”