Navy planning prize challenge for MUX

By Mallory Shelbourne / May 7, 2019 at 12:28 PM

The Navy is planning a prize challenge to help the service pursue its Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Expeditionary program.

Naval Air Systems Command in a May 6 special notice posted to Federal Business Opportunities described the prize challenge as "the first phase of the MUX development strategy."

"Marine Corps desired capabilities for the MUX UAS dictate that it will be a multi-mission platform capable of operating from Air Capable ships, including Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG), or austere environments ashore and that it will have expansive range and endurance to provide persistent wide area coverage," the posting reads.

According to the posting, the initial phase will feature six individual prize challenges, including four for "individual mission payloads, one for payload adapter designs, and one for system architecture designs." The second phase will be a prize challenge for "air vehicle designs that, at the discretion of the Government," would utilize payloads included in the first phase.

"At the discretion of the Government, development of a prototype and fielding effort for selected products may follow," the posting continues.

Rear Adm. Brian Corey, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, told reporters at the Navy League's 2019 Sea-Air-Space conference yesterday the service could utilize other transaction authorities for the prize challenges.

"What industry -- how they respond will change how we move through the prize challenges, so this first prize challenge is to get people going," he said.

"It will be a segment of the problem that we have to solve to go forward and as we move forward the problem will get bigger, the prizes will get bigger and hopefully we will get closer to what the Marine Corps ultimately needs to meet their fleet requirement," Corey continued.

Inside Defense previously reported the Marine Corps' plans to ask Congress for $21 million in research and development funds for the MUX program in the Navy’s fiscal year 2020 budget request.

-- Additional reporting by Justin Katz