High Energy Laser (HEL) Flexible Prototype

UPDATE: The Request for Solution (RFS) for the High Energy Laser (HEL) Flexible Prototype posted on 12 December 2018 is cancelled and is no longer required at this time. No agreement award will result from this notice. Please continue reviewing the TReX website for future opportunities."


Request for Solutions:

High Energy Laser (HEL) Flexible Prototype

11 December 2018

1.0 Purpose

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) seeks a prototype ground- based Laser Weapon System (LWS) demonstration that will be exercised in air base defense and/or aircraft defense scenarios. This demonstration will enable warfighters to evaluate technology readiness and operational viability for a future integrated airborne LWS. The goal of the HEL Flexible Prototype is to validate and verify the full kill chain (find, fix, track, target, engage, and assess) capability of a LWS. The Government will evaluate proposed solutions and may award an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to up to two Vendors, under the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX).

2.0 Summary and Background

2.1 The 2017 USAF Directed Energy (DE) Weapons Flight Plan, signed by the SECAF and CSAF, supports operationalization of DE weapons. The top-level characteristics of Laser Weapon Systems (LWS) and the Government concepts for their development are detailed in the DE Weapons Flight Plan. It has been shown that when a high energy laser is integrated into an air vehicle, the resulting LWS has great potential to provide a transformational capability to rapidly defeat various threats.

2.2 AFLCMC has been directed to execute a project that integrates current LWS technologies into a flying prototype to be evaluated against relevant airborne threats to aircraft and/or air bases. In 2018, the AFLCMC’s High Energy Laser Flexible Prototype (HFP) team completed extensive market research and has determined that industry currently has LWS technology solutions of interest and of appropriate maturity for near- term aircraft integration. Thus, the HEL Flexible Prototype team is seeking a capability solution from industry. As such, the Air Force does not possess “build to” requirements for vendors. Unlike more traditional programs, the Air Force is requesting industry to identify the most appropriate technical objectives, characteristics, and capabilities, based upon the intent of the 2017 USAF DE Flight Plan. Ultimately, the HEL Flexible Prototype effort will enable warfighters to investigate mission critical attributes and determine the viability of future airborne laser weapon systems.

2.3 HEL Flexible Prototype is planned to be executed in phases. Completion of the first phase is marked by system-level ground test. This phased approach is intended to reduce risk while informing Government evaluators as to the potential for follow-on phases. Phase 1 is anticipated to be completed within 12 months of agreement award. If the Government determines Phase 1 a success, aircraft integration and flight testing phases may follow.

2.4 The Government anticipates a follow-on contract or agreement may be awarded to the Vendor for this effort without the use of competitive procedures if this prototype project is successfully completed as outlined within this awarded agreement.

2.5 Vendors interested in responding to this Request for Solutions (RFS) must be members of the Training and Readiness Accelerator (TReX) consortium.

3.0 RFS Responses

3.1 The proposed solution shall detail the vendor’s applicable prior accomplishments and current integration, testing, and operational use of any non-chemical oxygen iodine laser (non-COIL) LWS(s) potentially suitable for operations in a flight environment.

3.2 The submission shall describe the Vendor’s approach to delivering a solution to the HEL Flexible Prototype demonstration. The solution shall detail how the Vendor plans to complete a system-level ground test within 12 months of contract award.

3.3 To expedite the solution, all detailed technical characteristics, capabilities, and objectives of Phase 1 will be defined by the Vendor, and shall be derived from the 2017 DE Weapons Flight Plan.

3.4 The proposed HEL Flexible Prototype must be integrated with sensor systems that will enable rapid detection, tracking, identification, targeting, and engagement of airborne targets.

3.5 The solution shall provide for a LWS suitable for future flight operations, and not merely subsystems or components of a LWS. Additionally, the solution shall not offer merely acquisition management services, such as to serve as prime integrator, without also providing for the core engineering design, integration, and ground testing of HEL Flexible Prototype.

3.6 Whether the proposed HEL Flexible Prototype solution is comprised of modular subsystems, or is a single self-contained unit, the size weight and power, software, command and control, and all other key subsystems are desired to be compatible with and reasonable for integration into larger class manned and/or unmanned air vehicles. The Vendor will describe the type and class aircraft, within the existing USAF inventory, the proposed solution is intended to address.

3.7 The Vendor shall ensure all essential safety systems are in place and measures are completed prior to conducting any LWS testing.

3.8 The solution shall provide a detailed project schedule, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), risk assessment and mitigation plans, and a breakout of all pricing estimates required to complete Phase 1.

3.9 The Vendor will provide formal updates to the customer at the following Phase 1 milestones:

• Program Kickoff Meeting: The Government and Vendor teams will meet to formally start the effort. This will provide for an opportunity for both teams to review the contract documentation and resolve any questions.

• Initial Program Review: The Initial Program Review should be held not later than 30 days from the Program Kickoff Meeting. For this review, the Vendor will perform an analysis of the 2017 USAF Directed Energy Weapons Flight Plan’s Use Cases 1 and 3, and will define objectives for the most practical operational use of the current technology. The Vendor will provide a detailed description of the ground phase design, development, integration, testing, and evaluation steps. The Vendor will detail top technical risks and an associated risk mitigation strategy. The Vendor will propose detailed performance parameters and exit criteria suitable for future operational use. The DE Flight Plan analysis, risks, performance parameters, and exit criteria shall be presented for Government approval at the Initial Program Review.

• Design Review: The HEL Flexible Prototype LWS shall be designed with an emphasis on modularity, scalability, and open architecture for growth capacity. The system shall have size, weight, and power capacity for eventual airborne application, full kill-chain mission systems, and precision sensors to enable the acquisition, pointing, and tracking of targets. The system must be designed to meet a threshold operational relevance for an air base air defense role and an objective operational relevance for an aircraft defense role. The Vendor shall present the design at a Design Review, where the Government will evaluate the design for its capability to achieve project objectives.

• Test Readiness Review: The Vendor shall prototype a high energy LWS for ground testing at either a Government or Vendor provided test range. The Vendor shall develop a detailed ground test plan that will demonstrate through ground testing the military utility of this technology. Prior to testing, a test readiness review will occur with both Vendor and Government teams.

• Demonstration Test: The Vendor will demonstrate system functionality, reliability, maintainability, and supportability, during a multi-day ground test event in real-world conditions at either a Government or Vendor provided ground test range. Test metrics for evaluation will be established by the appropriate Government and industry test teams. The test results will be documented and delivered to the Government for an evaluation to determine if the LWS technology is mature enough to proceed to the aircraft integration phase, or if the technology should off-ramp for additional S&T development. A successful ground test event will show that HEL Flexible Prototype has a threshold mission capability rate of 95% when operated within adequate and reasonable atmospheric conditions, at acceptable ranges, and against appropriate airborne targets. The ground test results will be used to inform future concepts of operations/employment, and tactics, techniques, and procedures for an integrated airborne LWS.

3.10 The solution shall include a technical supplement that details all significant technical objectives for the LWS, to include but not limited to:

◻ Target acquisition, fire control, and battle management system integration

◻ Power and thermal management

◻ Beam control tracking performance

◻ Laser output power and beam quality

◻ Anticipated on-target laser irradiance (kW/cm2) and fluence (J/cm2) at various distances/ranges

◻ Environmental requirements and limitations

◻ Size, weight, volume

◻ Reliability, maintainability, and sustainability of the LWS

◻ Critical LWS vulnerabilities and limitations

◻ Effective range(s) and time(s) required to destroy/disable the targets at realistic altitudes and environmental conditions

◻ Potential future military targets of the LWS

◻ Effective range(s) and time(s) required to destroy/disable the targets at realistic altitudes and environmental conditions

◻ Future airborne platform integration requirements

3.11 The solution shall provide an integration and test plan overview of the future phases of aircraft integration and flight testing. This overview should not only convey the Vendor’s vision for these phases, but should also provide top-level pricing, schedule, and performance estimates to satisfy completion of the respective phases. The airborne HEL Flexible Prototype must be capable of being employed by an operator with minimal LWS experience.

3.12 The solution shall include the Vendor’s proposed intellectual property rights and rights in technical data to be delivered with the solution, clearly outlining any rights restrictions. At a minimum, the Government requires Government Purpose Rights, as defined in DFARS clause 252.227-7013 for all delivered data. If additional pages are needed, data rights assertions may be submitted as an appendix, which has no page limit and does not count against the proposed technical solution page limitation.

3.13 Vendors shall submit a detailed pricing plan for their solution to Phase 1. Vendors may separately submit rough order magnitude prices for anticipated follow-on efforts naturally flowing from Phase 1, but such submissions will not be considered in Phase 1 evaluations. While fixed price is preferred, alternative types (e.g. cost plus fixed fee) will be considered. If fixed price is proposed, milestone payments tied to clearly defined performance achievements shall be included. Pricing submission shall be submitted in a separate document with no pricing detail provided in the technical response. There is no page limit for the pricing submission.

3.14 Vendors will identify nontraditional business status or ability to meet the eligibility requirements of 10 U.S. Code § 2371b on the response cover page. Within the response, please check the applicable box which follows – with appropriate justification if needed.

◻ There is at least one nontraditional defense contractor or nonprofit research institution participating to a significant extent in the project.

◻ All significant participants in the transaction other than the Federal Government are small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors.

◻ At least one third of the total cost of the project is to be provided by sources other than the Federal Government.

*Nontraditional – an entity that is not currently performing and has not performed, for at least the one-year period preceding the solicitation of sources by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the procurement or transaction, any contract or subcontract for the DoD that is subject to full coverage under the cost accounting standards prescribed pursuant to 41 U.S. Code § 1502 and the regulations implementing such section.

3.15 In addition to any nontraditional business status, the cover page of the response shall also include the company name, Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code (if available), address, and primary point of contact including phone number and email address.

3.16 Access to the 2017 USAF Directed Energy Weapons Flight Plan will be provided upon request assuming the requesting entity possesses proper clearance authorization.

3.17 All questions related to this RFS should be submitted in writing to, with “HEL” used in the subject line. Questions must be submitted no later than TBD. Questions received after the deadline may not be answered. Questions shall not include proprietary data as the Government reserves the right to post submitted questions and answers to facilitate Vendor solution responses.

3.18 Responses shall be submitted no later than TBD. Responses should be submitted electronically to, with “HEL” used in the subject line. Any submissions received after this time on this date may be rejected as late and not considered.

3.19 Technical responses shall not exceed 25 pages in length, utilizing standard 12- point Arial font. Charts or figures directly relevant to the solution may be referenced and submitted as appendices and are not bound by the 12-point font requirement or page count. However, vendors shall not use this exception to “fit” a large amount of technical data in a small table or figure to meet the page count limit. Cover page and pricing documents do not count towards page count. Any pages submitted outside of this page length requirement, outside of standard charts and figures, will not be reviewed.

3.20 Responses shall be submitted as a PDF document, with company name listed as the first part of the name of the file submission. (e.g. “Company X – HEL”)

4.0 Follow-On Activities

Phase 1 is a risk reduction demonstration effort that may lead to future steps, and as a result, the Government does not anticipate a need to take possession of any ground phase hardware. For Phase 1 to be successful, a ground test of HEL Flexible Prototype must take place. Additionally, this ground test event should fully exercise the full kill chain capability of the HEL Flexible Prototype against a variety of airborne targets, each representative of potential military operational targets. Once engaged by HEL Flexible Prototype, the respective targets should be damaged or destroyed within a useful timeframe and at realistic ranges.

If the Phase 1 of HEL Flexible Prototype project is completed with a successful ground demonstration test, follow-on contract(s) or agreement(s) may be awarded/issued without the use of competitive procedures since competitive procedures are being used in this selection. Follow-on phases of HEL Flexible Prototype (to include production) are possible and will depend on multiple factors to include the demonstrated maturity of technology. Sustainment considerations will be addressed as appropriate for future efforts.

5.0 Selection Process

5.1 Responses will be evaluated with consideration given to the ability to ground test within 12 months, the technical merit of the response, the total project risk, and the proposed project price. The Government will evaluate the degree to which the submission provides a thorough, flexible, and sound approach as well as the ability to define and fulfill objectives as derived from the 2017 USAF DE Flight Plan.

5.2 In the event the Government finds two or more highly qualified technical solutions, further substantiating documentation or a product demonstration at Vendor cost may be requested to substantiate claims made about existing capabilities in the proposed solution.

5.3 The Government will award this project, via TReX, to the respondent(s) whose solution is determined to be most advantageous to the Government with price, schedule, technical risks and other factors considered.

5.4 If sufficient validation of the proposed solution is not evident from the response, the Government may reject the submission. Assessment of risks is at Government discretion. If the risk is obvious or the schedule seems overly aggressive, these will be considered in the Government’s total risk assessment.

6.0 Additional Information

6.1 The costs of preparing and submitting a response is not considered an allowable direct charge to any Government contract or agreement.

6.2 Research findings and technology developments arising from the resulting Solution may constitute a significant enhancement to the national defense and to the economic vitality of the United States. As such, in the conduct of all work related to this effort, the recipient will comply strictly with the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (22 C.F.R. §§ 120-130), the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (DoD 5220.22-M) and the Department of Commerce Export Regulation (15 C.F.R. §§ 730-774).

6.3 The Vendor should comply with foreign disclosure processes in accordance with Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5230.11, Disclosure of Classified Military Information to Foreign Governments and International Organizations; and DoDD 5230.20, Visits and Assignments of Foreign Nationals.

6.4 Submissions will be unclassified, but an annex not to exceed SECRET/NOFORN is permitted. Classified annex pages will count against the 25 page limit of the response.

6.5 Submissions containing data not to be disclosed to the public for any purpose or used by the Government except for evaluation purposes will include the following sentences on the cover page:

“This submission includes data that will not be disclosed outside the Government, except to non-Government personnel for evaluation purposes, and will not be duplicated, used, or disclosed -- in whole or in part -- for any purpose other than to evaluate this submission. If, however, an agreement is awarded to this Company as a result of -- or in connection with – the submission of this data, the Government will have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent agreed upon by both parties in the resulting agreement. This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained in sheets [insert numbers or other identification of sheets]”

6.6 Each restricted data sheet should be marked as follows:

“Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this submission.”

To view and download the RFS, click the hyperlinked text below.


Active TReX Membership will be required to submit a solution for this RFS.  To start your TReX Membership application and registration, please visit TReX Membership.

Any questions regarding the opportunity should be directed to