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29 Association of the United States Navy JOHN F. WILLIAMS completing and qualifying an actual system through test and demonstration, Kurdian said. e Rapid Innovation Fund is designed to tran- sition mature technologies into defense acquisition programs. e average Rapid Innovation Fund award is $2.1 million; 90 percent of Rapid Innovation Fund awards go to small businesses and 75 percent of those were awarded to SBIR participants. "e Army made some additional minor adjust- ments to the hardware configuration to 'connectorize' it to their air vehicles, and they have many thousands of them — as ubiquitous as the capability they are trying to connect to," Kurdian said. "And they are enabling other more compact products and packaging them in such a way that is useful to the warfighter, such as an individual soldier connected to a network." During the Rapid Innovation Fund effort, different organizations contributed to the test to achieve results that met their needs. "ey wanted to integrate MAGNA to their specific platforms to make sure it worked," Kurdian said. Kurdian said the Navy works with small companies to help them succeed. "e Navy helps them draw that path from science and technology (S&T) to fielding. We worked with Mayflower to plan ahead for transi- tion before the [Rapid Innovation Fund project] was awarded." While the SBIR programs yielded the necessary MAGNA capabilities, Joo said the Rapid Innovation Fund program provided the means to fully integrate the critical technologies, perform the core qualification tests, and produce a production representative article with high TRL. MAGNA-F is on two platforms and flying missions today for Special Operations Command against a real threat. MAGNA-I will be integrated into the Army's Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle program and the Navy's Fire Scout. "As of February 2018, the MAGNA-F has over 5,200 hours of flight time in an operational environ- ment and successfully accomplishing the mission. Recently, the MAGNA-I has been integrated and flown on a small UAS and is heading to the oper- ational environment within the next couple of months," said Thomas. Kurdian is now assigned to the Navy Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, where he is the director of engineering and product support. "MAGNA is probably the biggest single success story of my naval career, at least from an acquisition perspec- tive. I'm still excited about the prospect of getting it out there." Joo said that small companies can take a lesson from MAGNA. "Do not force a solution on the war- fighter," he said. "Address the needs of the warfighter and adapt your solution in a novel manner that you may not have foreseen." n CAPT Edward Lundquist, USN (Ret.), writes for naval and maritime trade and professional journals. RADM David Hahn, chief of Naval Research, moderates a panel on innova- tion during the Department of the Navy Forum for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) April 9 held in conjunction with the Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, Md. Now in its 18th year, the forum has been a long-standing venue for connecting SBIR/STTR-funded technologies with warfighters, government acquisition and technical personnel, large primes, system integrators, and other potential partners and collaborators.

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