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By Debbie Gregory.

Senior artificial intelligence managers with tech giant Google recently participated in a day-long Air Force event to trade ideas on how best to curb hypoxia-like events from happening to pilots, giving Air Force officials a glimpse into how the services can leverage developing technologies faster.

The Joint Physiological Episodes Action Team, or J-PEAT, has already fostered a collaboration between the Air Force and the Navy, which until now have been separately trying to find the causes of, and solutions to, the so-called unexplained physiological episode (PE) events.

Pilots, physiologists, data scientists, engineers and maintenance personnel were joined outside of the nation’s capital in December by Google managers at the event known as an AF PEAT hackathon, to assist pilots flying aircraft such as the T-6 Texan II, F-22 Raptor, F-15 Eagle, F-35 Lightning II and A-10 Thunderbolt II.

For each type/model/series aircraft, the J-PEAT team is using a methodology called root cause corrective action analysis to trace fault trees, allowing a thorough, data-driven and methodical approach to identifying causes of PE events.

“Working closely with the Navy, NASA and other industry partners, the Air Force is making huge strides to better understand and solve issues,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan, the AF PEAT team lead. “We are in a period of very positive, but disruptive, innovation. There are hundreds of efforts across the human physiology and aircraft ecosystems moving in many directions.”

The symptoms, including disorientation, shortness of breath, confusion and wheezing, mimic both hypoxia, deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues, and hypocapnia, which is reduced carbon dioxide in the blood.

“Physiological episodes happen to people, not equipment,” said Jennifer Farrell, chief engineer for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Human Systems Program Office. “We must focus on design that enhances the human element.”

The symptoms experienced by pilots, including disorientation, shortness of breath, confusion and wheezing, mimic both hypoxia, deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues, and hypocapnia, which is reduced carbon dioxide in the blood.

DoD Begins New Year by Awarding a Number of Contracts

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Department of Defense (DoD) kicked off the new year by awarding a number of eight-figure contracts on behalf of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

On January 2nd, the DoD awarded Risk Mitigation Consulting Inc. a $95,000,000 maximum amount, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for mission assurance assessments of installation/facilities infrastructure and facility-related control systems for the Department of the Navy. The work includes, but is not limited to, the collection and evaluation of data concerning the criticality of facilities, utilities, industrial control systems, and supporting infrastructure based on mission impacts, probable threats and hazards, and degrees of vulnerability to determine the overall risk posture of the asset. The company is based in Destin, Florida.

On the same day, the DoD also awarded Raytheon Co. a contract for $81,224,627 for modification P00007 to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive=firm-target contract (N00019-17-C-0042). This modification provides for the procurement of 228 configuration components required for completion of Configuration D Retrofit Component engineering change proposals for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft for the Navy and the government of Australia. The company is based in El Segundo, California.

Additionally, January 2nd saw Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, awarded a $28,882,337 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-5102 for AEGIS Baseline 9 Integration and Delivery, TI-08 CG Upgrade, AEGIS Baseline 9 Capability Development, Capability Improvements, Baseline 9 Sea Based Non-Cooperative Target Recognition Development and Radar Engineering.

The Army contracts included O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Co. LLC, of Fairfield, Ohio, awarded a $60,736,752 firm-fixed-price contract to procure Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles protection kits and Endeavor Robotics Inc., Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was awarded a $32,400,000 firm-fixed-price contract for reset, sustainment, maintenance, and recap parts for Robot Logistics Support Center technicians to support the overall sustainment actions of the entire Endeavor family of small, medium, and large robots.

The only contract awarded on behalf of the Air Force was a $22,500,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for the formation of a collaborative working group of various industry partners to work as single extended entity to develop, evolve, update via pre-planned product improvement initiatives, as well as manage and provide configuration control of the open mission systems and universal command and control interface standards, collectively referred to as the Open Architecture Standards. This contract is a joint venture between BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration; The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.; Goodrich Corp., UTC Aerospace Systems, ISR Systems; Harris Corp., Electronic Systems, Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems; Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.; Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, ; and Raytheon Co.

By Debbie Gregory.

Recognizing that the Pentagon must do business at the speed of ideas, the U.S. Air Force will hold its first “Pitch Day” on March 6th in New York City. The event offers startups the chance to win small awards for their innovative ideas.

Many mind-blowing ideas are being birthed in U.S. startup companies, but the Pentagon largely misses out on them.

“Pitch Days are new fast tracks for startups to work with the Air Force.” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. “Modeled after commercial investment pitch competitions, our goal is to award $40 million to startups using one-day, one-page contracts. These awards use convenient credit card payments— we want partnering with the Air Force to be easy and energizing!”

The Air Force previously did a trial run and awarded 104 contracts in 40 hours using government purchase cards.

Here’s how it works:

• The Air Force posts problems online through February 6th at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org
• Submissions for pitches will continue through February 6th
• For the next week, the Air Force will review the submissions and invite finalists
• On Pitch Day, March 6th, the Air Force will select same-day winners and award payments, up to $158,000, via government purchase cards

Companies have until 8:00 pm ET on February 6th to submit their applications at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org. The Air Force will notify selected companies for in-person pitches by February 15, 2019.

The three areas of particular interest are:

• Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Network Technologies
• Battlefield Air Operations Family of Systems Technologies
• Digital Technologies

Participant companies must be U.S.-based, with no more than 500 employees, and over 50 percent of its owners must be U.S. citizens or legally reside in the country.

For further information, click here to visit their site.

The service has allocated up to $40 million for the event.

We encourage all of our members and other small businesses to participate in this opportunity.

Great Film To See

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By Debbie Gregory.

Did you enjoy “Unbroken” the 2014 film that ended with ended with Olympic athlete and Army Air Forces officer Louis Zamperini returning home after surviving his incarceration in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. It was a Hollywood ending to a big-budget Hollywood movie, but it didn’t really capture what Zamperini considered to be the miracle of his own life.

The movie that Zamperini would want all of us to see is now out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital and follows his life as he meets and woos his wife Cynthia and his life collapses as he struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Zamperini conquered his demons after a religious conversion at a Billy Graham crusade, and this movie ends as he embraces Christianity and puts his life back on track. It is called “Unbroken: Path To Redemption”.

In the film, Samuel Hunt takes the role of Louis Zamperini from Jack McConnell, and Merritt Patterson plays Cynthia. The evangelist Will Graham takes a rare acting role, playing his grandfather Billy Graham. “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is the story of one war hero’s attempts to overcome PTSD. Luke Zamperini acknowledges that Christianity may not be a solution for everyone, but it worked for his dad.

Let us know what you think of this film and if you enjoyed it more than “Unbroken” that was produced and directed by Angela Jolie.

New Device Helps Fighter Pilots Urinate And Save Lives

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By Debbie Gregory.

Bladder relief systems are important to fighter pilots, especially female pilots, who fly aircraft for many hours. Omni Medical Systems is working with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Human Systems Division to update and improve bladder relief systems.

AMXDma, the Aircrew Mission Extender Device started delivering over 600 devices to the field operations and another 1,500 are scheduled for delivery over the next six months. The new devices are hands-free, battery-operated and worn underneath uniforms. These devices collect urine in a cup for males, a pad for females and pumps the urine into a collection bag. The device detects urine in one second and embeds it with special sensors then pumps it into the collection bag which holds 1.7 quarts of urine.

Did you know that Urinary Relief Devices are the number one priority of female air crews for mission equipment? These devices are a huge improvement over what the crews are currently using too with a longer battery life, the ability to hold more urine, better pads and cups, and more anatomically accurate.

Updated technology can save lives because pilots can focus on their flight missions. Better devices also stop pilots from practicing “tactical dehydration” which can be a fatal error and limits their water intake and urine output during a flight. Dehydration can fatally impact G-tolerance situational awareness and decision-making ability for pilots flying fighter jets. AMXDmax allows pilots to properly hydrate and relieve their bladder midflight without interruption of the mission.

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