DARPA’S IMPROV PROGRAM

imageThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Improv program is soliciting innovative research proposals for prototype products and systems that have the potential to threaten current military operations, equipment, or personnel and are assembled primarily from commercially available technology.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Improv program is soliciting innovative research proposals for prototype products and systems that have the potential to threaten current military operations, equipment, or personnel and are assembled primarily from commercially available technology.
The program definition of “commercially available technology” is largely unrestricted and ranges from generic and widely available technology such as cell phones, to highly specialized, domain-specific technology such as construction, salvage, or surveying equipment.
The technology scope of Improv is broad, and the program is structured to encourage participation by a wide range of technical specialists, researchers, developers, and skilled hobbyists. Proposers are free to reconfigure, repurpose, program, reprogram, modify, combine, or recombine commercially available technology in any way within the bounds of local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Use of components, products, and systems from non-military technical specialties (e.g., transportation, construction, maritime, and communications) is of particular interest.
The specific mechanisms for preserving the central role of commercially available technology in the program are: (1) constrained budgets, and (2) short development periods between award and prototype delivery. The purpose of these mechanisms is to keep the focus of each individual project on the integration of easily procured technology rather than on developing completely new technology. However, new technology development activity – within the bounds of the Improv program structure – is acceptable and encouraged.
1.2 Program Structure
DARPA’s intent for the Improv program is to fund a short feasibility study phase, during which performers will compete for the opportunity to build their proposed prototype. Following the prototype construction phase, some of the prototypes will be selected for evaluation. If performance warrants, DARPA may then further the development of countermeasures or capabilities of interest in separate follow-on programs.
The five sequential steps of the Improv program are illustrated in Figure 1 and further detailed below. Note: the first two steps occur during the solicitation period (i.e., are pre-award).

Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-16-22

Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Location: Contracts Management Office

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