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UAS Test Site Partnerships Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) & Call #1

What is a BAA?

The BAA is a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration requesting scientific or developmental white papers and proposals (two-step approach) from U.S. entities to advance the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) integration the National Airspace System (NAS), which may lead to a contract award(s). With this type of acquisition vehicle, the FAA has the ability to post Calls announcing opportunities to conduct applied research and/or non-system specific development as funding becomes available.

What is a Call?

With an established BAA, FAA has an acquisition vehicle to post Call documents on the FAA Contract Opportunities (FAACO) website. The Call document will request white papers and provide information about contract opportunities with specific information about eligibility, topics of interest, documentation requirements, funding, award information, and instructions on how to prepare and submit the required documentation.

What is Call #1?

Call #1 is the first Call posted by the FAA under the subject BAA. Refer to the post in the FAA Contract Opportunities (FAACO) website. https://faaco.faa.gov/

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Call #1 Requirements

Who is eligible to participate in Call #1?

The Applicant must be a Qualified Commercial Entity (QCE).

What is a Qualified Commercial Entity (QCE)?

While there is no single definition of a QCE, the intent of Congress in Pub L 116-6 was included in a March 6, 2019 letter from Senators Warner and Hoeven. The letter specified two requirements:

  1. Company should have the technical proficiency to demonstrate or validate the technologies or a compelling use case for UAS technology that the FAA identifies as essential to the UAS integration effort.
  2. Company should have an existing contractual relationship with a test site OR demonstrate that FAA funding would enable it to enter into a contract with a test site.

To be classified as a QCE, the Applicant must:

  1. Have the technical proficiency to demonstrate or validate the technologies or a compelling use case for UAS technology that the FAA identifies as essential to the UAS integration effort;
  2. Have an existing contractual relationship with an FAA designated UAS Test Site (UASTS) or demonstrate that FAA funding would enable it to enter into a contract with the UASTS;
  3. Have the ability to match the federal funding to be requested.

Can an Institute of Higher Education (College / University) participate in Call #1?

While Public Law 116-6 silently excluded Institutes of Higher Education and public (Local, State, and Tribal government) entities as qualified commercial entities, they may participate as members of a team.

Can an Institute of Higher Education (College / University) or a local governmental entity participate in Call #1?

"Yes, but not as the lead or prime applicant. Congress specifically directed the FAA to provide matching funds to ‘qualified commercial entities’. Colleges, Universities, and local governmental entities have core missions that are outside the scope of commercial endeavors, therefore they may not apply to a Lead Applicant for this program. A college, university, or local government entity may however be a team member/sub-contractor to a lead applicant that is a Qualified Commercial Entity."

Can the QCE be a team?

Yes. However, there MUST be a Prime contractor (or Lead Entity) that will be the contractor to the FAA. Other team members will be sub-contractors to the prime. The Lead Entity will manage other sub-contractors (team). Team members supporting the Lead Entity may also provide to the required matching contributions. The FAA designated UAS Test Sites MUST be a sub-contractor.

The Prime contractor (or Lead Entity) presents a white paper on topics addressed in the BAA and Call 1 to the FAA. The Prime/Lead establishes teaming agreements base upon their capabilities and the topic(s) selected. Subcontractors may include, but are not limited to, industry, educational institutions, small businesses, and small disadvantaged business concerns, historically black colleges, university, and minority business enterprises and institutions, interested in assisting the FAA with integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.

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How will the Applicant demonstrate that they have or will have a contractual relationship with an FAA designated UAS Test Site (UASTS)?

The Applicant MUST submit a Letter of Attestation, signed by a UASTS official, with their application package confirming that a contractual relationship between the two entities exists or will be executed should the Applicant be awarded a Contract with the FAA.

Is the Applicant required to test at the UAS Test Site if they have their own test area?

Yes. This is a Congressional requirement (P.L. 116-6). The Applicant MUST test at one or more of the FAA designated UAS Test Sites. The Applicant MUST send ONE (1) application package PER UASTS use.

Who are the FAA designated UAS Test Sites?

The FAA designated UAS Test Sites are:

  1. University of Alaska Fairbanks (AK)
  2. North Dakota Department of Commerce (ND)
  3. New Mexico State University (NM)
  4. State of Nevada (NV)
  5. Griffiss International Airport (NY)
  6. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TX)
  7. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (VA)

The Applicant will find the UASTS contact information list in the following URL:
https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/test_sites/contacts/

How will the Applicant demonstrate the ability to match the requested federal funds?

The Applicant MUST submit the FAACO provided Matching Contribution Form with their application package.

What type of contributions can the Applicant use to match the requested federal funds?

The Applicant should refer to 2 CFR §200.306. Applicants MUST at least match the requested federal funds dollar for dollar. Here is a list of potential types of matching contributions:

  1. Non-federal Cash
  2. In-Kind Contributions:
    1. Volunteer services furnished by third-party professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor;
    2. Donation of property from third parties may include such items as equipment, office supplies, laboratory supplies, or workshop and classroom supplies;
    3. Donation of buildings or land for construction/facilities acquisition projects or long-term use.

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What are the Essential Integration Technologies Topics?

In Call #1, the Essential Integration Technologies Topics are:

  1. Develop and enforce geographic and altitude limitations (Geo-fencing);
  2. Provide for alerts by the manufacturer of an unmanned aircraft system regarding any hazards or limitations on flight, including prohibition on flight as necessary;
  3. Sense and avoid capabilities (DAA);
  4. Beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations (BVLOS);
  5. Night time operations;
  6. Operations over people (OOP);
  7. Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems; and
  8. Unmanned aircraft systems traffic management (UTM);
  9. Other critical research priorities (C-UAS excluded in Call #1); and,
  10. Improve privacy protections through the use of advances in unmanned aircraft systems technology.

What is the BAA two-step approach?

The BAA is a two-step approach that includes:

Step 1: The Applicant will first submit a white paper (7-pages maximum) along with the application cover, Letter of Attestation, Matching Contribution Form, and completed Technology Readiness Calculation Form to the FAA Contract Officer (CO). The FAA will review this white paper package and decide if they will select it for further action based on package completeness, technical importance, and funding. Any Applicant proposing testing at multiple UASTSs must submit a unique white paper for each UAS Test Site individually. The Applicant SHALL NOT submit a proposal at this time; the FAA will not review it. The FAA encourages the Applicant to work closely with the UASTS and submit their white paper package as soon possible and not wait until June 28, 2019 (due date).

Step 2: If the FAA accepts and approves the white paper package, the CO will contact the Applicant to submit a full proposal. The FAA encourages the Applicant to work closely with the UASTS and submit their proposal package as soon possible and not wait until July 31, 2019 (due date). The FAA will review this proposal package and decide if they will select it for further action based on package completeness, technical importance, program management, funding, and other. A successful proposal package will lead to a contract award if funding is available. Contract awards will be on a rolling basis.

What do I need to complete and submit my White Paper Package?

The Applicant must complete and submit the following required documents as part of their White Paper Package:

  1. Application Cover Form
  2. White Paper
  3. Letter of Attestation signed by a UAS Test Site Official
  4. Completed Matching Contribution Form
  5. Completed TRL Calculation Form

Refer to the FAA contracting web site for Call #1 instructions on how to prepare and format the package. If any of these documents are missing, the FAA will reject the application.

Where do I send the White Paper Package?

Email the application package to Stephen.Jenniss@faa.gov.

What do I need to complete and submit my Proposal?

The FAA Contracting Officer (CO), will contact the Applicant to request the Proposal after he has reviewed and approved their White Paper Package. The CO will provide the Call #1 instructions on how to format and prepare the Proposal. The Proposal will have two Volumes:

  1. Volume I: Technical / Management
  2. Volume II: Cost / Price

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Where do I send my Proposal?

Email the Proposal package to Stephen.Jenniss@faa.gov.

Whom do I contact if I have questions regarding the White Paper, Proposal, and/or award?

Contact the CO at Stephen.Jenniss@faa.gov.

Where do I email technical questions about BAA Topics or for other questions?

Send your questions to 9-AFN-UAS-BAA@faa.gov.

What are Technology Readiness Levels?

The FAA is using Call #1 to develop, demonstrate, or validate UAS technologies or a compelling use case for UAS technology that the FAA identifies as essential to the UAS integration effort. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a method of estimating technology maturity of critical technology elements of a project during the acquisition process. There are nine (9) levels; the levels start with the transition from scientific research to applied research (TRL 1) and end with the actual system "mission proven" (TRL9).

The Call #1 effort will address the development of non-specific systems of a Technical Readiness Level (TRL) between 5 and 7 (post-applied research). Next, are the definitions of TRL 5-7:

  1. TRL 5: the basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so it can be tested in a simulated environment.
  2. TRL 6: a system/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment; it represents a major step up from TRL 5 in a technology's demonstrated readiness.
  3. TRL 7: the testing and evaluation of a prototype near, or at, planned operational system (pre-initial operating capability). Represents a major step up from TRL 6, requiring demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment such as an aircraft, vehicle, or space.

How much FAA funding is available in Call #1?

Under this call, the FAA intends to award seven or more contracts to QCEs considering the seven FAA designated UAS Test Sites (equitable distribution). The anticipated total funding across all awarded contract for this call is approximately $6 million. Once the total obligation across all contracts awarded for this call reaches $5,950,000, no additional awards will be made. Awards under this call are expected to range from $425,000.00 to $850,000.00; however, the Government reserves the right to award smaller or larger contracts or assistance instruments. The Applicants must provide $5,950,000 in matching contributions; the Call #1 effort will have a total value of approximately $12M when these matching contributions are included.

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/broad_agency_announcement/faq/