HSVTOL Concept Challenge

HSVTOL Concept Challenge Now Open for Submissions

In partnership with the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), AFWERX recently launched the High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge, a crowdsourcing effort aimed at advancing solutions to achieve optimal agility in austere environments. Experts in business, academia, and government are invited to participate in the call for submissions, which is open now through June 22, 2021.


“USAF and USSOCOM are seeking groundbreaking ideas that will further strengthen operational effectiveness and efficiency in contested, resource-constrained, and runway-independent settings,” said Reid Melville, Chief Innovation Officer, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office. “The AFWERX Challenge program has consistently yielded successful outcomes for other high-priority military initiatives, and it’s well-equipped to spark new innovation in the HSVTOL industry.”


The near-term challenge goal is to produce an HSVTOL conceptual framework that maximizes the trade space of speed, range, survivability, payload, size, and flexibility to carry out missions across the full spectrum of conflict and political scenarios. Critical mission profiles include Infiltration and Exfiltration of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Equipment; Personnel Recovery; Aeromedical Evacuation; and Tactical Mobility.


Submissions will be accepted in two overarching categories: Integrated Solutions applicable to system conceptualization, design, and architecture; and Subsystem Solutions, such as advanced propulsion and novel technologies. Relevant capabilities and technologies for each focus area are outlined in the challenge statement.


AFWERX encourages prospective participants to attend its upcoming HSVTOL webinar series and learn more about challenge objectives, guidelines, and evaluation criteria. Following the June 22 submission deadline, a panel of subject matter experts will select top-tier candidates for inclusion in the challenge showcase, a multi-day event dedicated to solution refinement, networking, and collaboration.


“This challenge gives leading-edge innovators, from small entrepreneurs to global enterprises, the chance to pursue a streamlined path to government funding,” said Mark Rowland, Innovation Actualizer for AFWERX’s Las Vegas Hub. “It’s a unique opportunity to team up with visionaries in the U.S. Department of Defense ecosystem while accelerating independent endeavors in the HSVTOL space.”