WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - An increasingly popular Air Force
event is expanding to provide small companies with even more opportunities
to refine their technology.
The annual Operation Tech Warrior exercise - conducted by the Air Force
Research Laboratory and sponsored by the Air Force Small Business Innovation
Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program - is now part of a
year-round enterprise administered by Wright State University's National
Center for Medical Readiness in Fairborn, Ohio.
Operation Tech Warrior continues as the capstone event while two other
programs, Tech Warrior OPS and Tech Warrior CONNECT, are also available to
assist small businesses as part of an expanded Tech Warrior Enterprise.
Held in the fall, Operation Tech Warrior combines combat simulations with
technology integration and demonstrations. The event allows AFRL scientists
to observe, and sometimes even step into the warfighter role, while small
businesses gather feedback from their AFRL peers and push the limits of
promising new systems by integrating them in a relevant setting.
Similar in nature, the new Tech Warrior OPS event will be held at the center
earlier in the year with warfighters and first responders in the training
and exercise roles. Small businesses will be able to ask questions and
gather specific data by interviewing the operators of their technology.
Tech Warrior CONNECT is a year-round program that places technology from
small businesses into the hands of potential users, who then conduct offsite
evaluations for up to several days. This demonstration environment is
tailored to suit individual small business needs.
Participation in the Tech Warrior Enterprise is free for companies that
"Tech Warrior has been a tremendous asset to both the Air Force and the
small business community," said David Shahady, director of the Air Force
SBIR/STTR Program. "We hope this expansion allows companies to have an even
better understanding of their Air Force customer and create an even more
impactful demonstration of their technology."
A webinar on the new Tech Warrior Enterprise, as well as an introduction to the National Center for Medical Readiness, was recently recorded and can be replayed by clicking here.
The National Center for Medical Readiness has a wide variety of assets and
capabilities to assist small businesses in technology development including:
traditional classrooms, as well as a nontraditional classroom that can be
used as an emergency operations center; breakout and SIM lab space; a
multi-level industrial complex that can simulate a variety of environments
and scenarios; and 60 acres that provide settings for mission and disaster
"The National Center for Medical Readiness is proud to come alongside the
Air Force and the small business community to help grow this vision," said
Jim Gruenberg, deputy director of the center. "We look forward to helping
innovation become reality for our nation's warfighters."
The upside of the Tech Warrior Enterprise is that businesses get to "play"
in an environment without the fear of their products and services not
working as planned.
"We encourage companies through the Tech Warrior Enterprise to fail early
and fail often because that exposes what needs to be fixed and is the best
way to quickly mature products and technology," Shahady said.
Any small businesses with an Air Force research and development contract,
especially those involved in the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program, may request to
participate in the Tech Warrior Enterprise by working with its government
contact or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Air Force SBIR/STTR Program and its small business partners strive for
advancements that support Air Force Major Commands and meet near-term
critical needs while filling the pipeline with potential game-changing
technologies. In stressing innovation over invention, the program works to
drive down costs, get the best new technology to the warfighter and boost
the economy through small business growth.