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The Air Force is working to develop a faster and smarter strategy in technology investments and partnerships with new and non-traditional entrants to the defense space. In order to boost the U.S. competitive advantage in technology, this new process aims to make the Air Force an inspiration and early adopter of cutting edge technologies from companies of all shapes and sizes.

Recognizing that long cumbersome processes and paperwork have deterred our acquisition community from taking advantage of the great opportunities within the SBIR program, we have strived to simplify and expedite paperwork, to provide an easy and streamlined means to add optionality for risk reduction and technology innovation within our core development portfolio.

The revamped “Special Topics” execution of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) is designed to make to make technology exploration and prototyping easier than ever, providing a funded avenue for program offices and operators alike to investigate technologies that will contribute to the smarter, faster, stronger Air Force we aim to achieve.

See these changes in action and discover agile, small businesses with new technologies by joining us in New York City on March 7.

Please contact the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Office with any questions at afsbirsttr-info@us.af.mil.


  • 3 Mo, $50-158k awards
  • Encourage design thinking
  • Validate relevance, military utility, and modification requirements of proposed commercial tech Broad open topics inviting innovation ideas to enhance capability in a mission area
  • GOAL: Optionality – connect to as many ideas as possible


  • Between $1.5 -$3M prototype/demo projects
  • GOALS:
    • Design solutions we need
    • Use SBIR to ‘bridge” the gap as we align funding for program integration or procurement


  • Flexible contract vehicle (services, procurement, R&D, etc.)
  • Allows multiple funding sources
  • Protective benefits to small business IP
  • NOTE: Can choose to subcontract company to prime instead!

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