Air Force's AFWERX program aims to connect with academia and industry to fund tech development

March 20, 2024
AFWERX collaborates with a diverse array of stakeholders to drive advancements in technology and bolster the Air Force's operational capabilities.

WASHINGTON - The AFWERX program, launched by the United States Air Force (USAF) under its Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) division, acts as a catalyst for fostering innovation within the military sphere. Serving as a collaborative platform, it aims to expedite the development of solutions to tackle challenges encountered by the Air Force. AFWERX collaborates with a diverse array of stakeholders - including industry, academia, entrepreneurs, and government entities - to drive advancements in technology and bolster the Air Force's operational capabilities.

The main objective of AFWERX is to streamline the process of identifying, funding, and implementing novel technologies and ideas. This is achieved through a range of initiatives, such as challenges, innovation hubs, accelerators, and partnerships with startups and established companies. 

AFWERX says it places a strong emphasis on collaboration and open communication, encouraging participants to exchange ideas, collaborate on projects, and leverage expertise and resources. 

Related: AFWERX, NASA collaborate to develop digital Advanced Air Mobility operations center

The AFWERX program reflects the Air Force's dedication to embracing innovation as a means of addressing emerging challenges, enhancing efficiency, and furthering its mission to safeguard the nation's interests across air, space, and cyberspace domains. Through its innovative approach and collaborative spirit, AFWERX continues to catalyze transformative change within the Air Force and beyond.

AFWERX is made up of four divisions, including AFVentures, Spark, Prime, and SpaceWerx. AFVentures is the program's funding arm and aims to attract and expand small business participation in developing technology for the government. 

Spark enables connection for Airmen and U.S. Space Force Guardians and commercial companies for collaboration, training, and networking. 

Related: Pyka delivers first large-scale autonomous electric cargo aircraft to AFWERX

AFWERX notes that "Prime expands technology transition paths to accelerate emerging technology markets by leveraging government resources for rapid and affordable fielding, attracting and optimizing external funding and talent." 

SpaceWERX is the innovation arm of the Space Force for the identification, acquisition, and integration of novel technologies for the space-focused branch. 

Since 2019, AFWERX has executed 6,028 new contracts for military and non-military projects worth more than $4 billion. 

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