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AFRL Shares AgilePod Data With Industry to Further Development

Lab(s):
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
The AgilePod, the first physical system to be trademarked by the Air Force, is a multi-intelligence, open architecture, flight-line reconfigurable pod designed for the intelligence community. A new effort to develop a suite of platform-agnostic AgilePods in various sizes is currently in progress, teaming AFRL with industry partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Dixon)
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The Air Force Research Laboratory is sharing the technical data package for AgilePod with the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) community to further the development of compatible sensor products.

AgilePod is a multi-intelligence, open architecture, reconfigurable prototype designed for the ISR and Air Force Special Operations communities. The system is comprised of multiple modules with each module configured to accommodate electronic systems, subsystems, or both, associated with ISR and non-ISR mission requirements. The system can be specifically tailored to each mission.

The technology has been hailed as a “game-changer” in several news stories in the past year. In order to continue the momentum and provide the best system options to warfighters, the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate entered into 14 different information transfer agreements with commercial companies to share the AgilePod technical data package.

A technical data package provides a description of the performance requirements and procedures required to ensure adequacy of item performance. It consists of applicable data such as models, drawings, associated lists, specifications, standards, performance requirements, software documentation and packaging details. The technical data package is a valuable tool for companies wanting to develop products and systems that are compatible with Air Force technology.

“These agreements allow companies to get in on the ground floor and grow with AgilePod as it becomes the new standard,” said Capt. Blake McCollum of the AFRL/RX Electronics and Sensors Branch. “They can design sensors that integrate as ‘plug and play’ into AgilePod as it becomes a program of record.”

An information transfer agreement is a technology transfer mechanism that allows the government to share government-developed software that is related to design and manufacturing activities with other entities. Typically, software executable files, source code, 3-D CAD models, and system analysis are shared under ITAs.

“These ITAs are vital to getting the AgilePod specifications into the right hands,” said McCollum.

While the main goal of the agreements was to allow commercial companies the chance to develop compatible systems, the ITAs have also resulted in valuable feedback on the AgilePod and the technical data package.

“These ITAs have allowed industry partners to identify areas of improvement for AgilePod such as cooling in the pod; which we are now working on,” said Captain McCollum. “With these types of inputs, we are ultimately able to develop a better product for the warfighter.”

The partners have also identified gaps in the technical data package document allowing the Air Force to rectify the problem and improve the documentation.

“This leads to a wholly complete package,” said Capt. McCollum. "Without ITAs, the robustness/completeness of the document could not have been verified. Now one of our ITA partners is using it to build an AgilePod; this will be the ultimate test of the TDP, all not possible without these agreements.”

To learn more about technology transfer options, please contact the Air Force Technology Transfer Program office at (937) 904-9830 or af.techtransfer@us.af.mil.



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