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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

PMA-263 Tactical Resupply UAS Challenge

Autonomously transport a water-filled five-gallon Jerry Can over a 10 km course to win cash prizes.

Department of Defense

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $225,000
Type of Challenge: Technology
Partner Agencies | Federal: Program Manager Air (PMA-263), Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS)
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: IMPAX
Submission Start: 09/27/2019 08:00 AM ET
Submission End: 10/18/2019 11:59 PM ET


Winners Announced

The Department of the Navy has announced the winners of the PMA-263 Tactical Resupply UAS Challenge as follows:

  • First Place:  SURVICE Engineering
  • Second Place: Chartis Federal
  • Third Place: Autonodyne


This multi-phase prize challenge will be conducted during the period of 27 September 2019 through 31 January 2020.  During Phase-1 of the challenge, the Government sponsor will review applications and white papers to select Phase-2 invitees. Phase-2 will involve a fly-off competition during the week of 27 January 2020 in Yuma, Arizona.  This fly-off will help to evaluate the state-of-the-art in relevant technologies, inform future acquisition strategies, and satisfy merit-based competition for potential Other Transaction (OT) awards for prototyping and procurement.  

Invited participants who compete in the Phase-2 Fly-Off will receive a monetary award of $10,000 to help defray the costs of participation.  Additionally, three cash prizes will be awarded at the completion of the Fly-Off to the winners selected by the Government sponsor:  $100,000 for first place, $75,000 for second place, and $50,000 for third place.

Prize challenge participants will be required to demonstrate ground set-up and flight preparation procedures for their UAS, perform a refueling/battery replacement demonstration, and perform up to three autonomous flights.  During the first flight, participating air vehicles must transport their maximum payload via GPS waypoints to a landing site 5km away, detach the cargo (either manually or automatically), then return to the original launch site.  During the second flight, participating air vehicles must fly with a Government provided plastic water-filled 5-gallon jerrycan over a closed course to demonstrate the maximum range of the vehicle.  Participants will be given the opportunity to perform an optional ungraded third flight to demonstrate unique features or capabilities. The air vehicle must complete each flight without refueling or recharging.

Winners will be determined by the Government using a best value approach, which includes evaluation of the application white papers, the Fly-Off Rubric score, and the estimated single unit production cost of participating air vehicles.  The Fly-Off Rubric will be provided to competitors along with their Phase-2 Fly-Off invitation package.


Submission Start/End: 8:00am EDT on 27 Sep 2019 until 11:59pm EDT on 18 Oct 2019.

Judging Start/End: 8:00am EDT on 21 Oct 2019 until 11:59pm EST on 31 Jan 2020.

Winners Announced: No Later than 31 Jan 2020.


Total Prize Pool


  • First Place: $100,000
  • Second Place: $75,000
  • Third Place: $50,000


The air vehicle must autonomously launch, navigate, and recover. The air vehicle must transit at an airspeed no less than 25 knots and an altitude no greater than 1000 feet above ground level (AGL). The air vehicle must be capable of launching and recovering without a catapult, arresting net or cable, or other mechanical launch or recovery equipment. Participants shall ensure that their air vehicle is equipped with a transponder with a minimum of a Mode-3/C capability.  Additional points will be awarded to air vehicles that integrate autonomous airborne sense & avoid, landing zone assessment, and ground obstacle avoidance capabilities.

Participants will be required to provide the Government with lost-link/return-to-home procedures to support range safety requirements. Participants will also be required to provide the Government with technical information to support coordination for civil landing permits, frequency spectrum authorization, Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) waiver approvals, and Government facility access. Participants will provide data that validates the maximum theoretical range of their air vehicle with a 45 pound payload. 

As part of the initial application to participate in this prize challenge, prospective competitors will submit a 3-5 page white paper that describes their technical approach to solving the challenge and the technical maturity of their solution. Applicants will also be required to provide a video clip of their air vehicle in flight while carrying a payload of at least 45 pounds.

Participation in this prize challenge will be on an invitation-only basis, based on the Government’s review of each application submitted.  Only U. S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate. Only U.S. companies, or companies with U.S.-based offices are eligible to participate. 

Terms of Service: U.S. Government support contractors will assist in the review of data provided by applicants and competitors.  A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been signed by support contractors with the U.S. Government that precludes them from disclosing any proprietary data outside of the U.S. Government. If prize challenge applicants desire a separate non-disclosure agreement with supporting contractors, applicants should submit a NDA form, along with instructions, with their prize challenge application. It is the responsibility of participants to clearly mark proprietary material.

The Government will be solely responsible for determining which applicants will be extended an invitation to participate in the Phase-2 Fly-Off and the selection of prize challenge winners.

At the Government sponsor’s discretion, the winners of this prize challenge may receive an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) award (under 10 U.S. Code, Section 2371 or 2371b) or award of a procurement contract for experimental purposes (10 U. S. Code, Section 2373) or a combination of these authorities. In the case of an award under 10 U. S. Code, Section 2371b, a successful prototype project may result in the further award of a follow-on production agreement or contract without additional competition.  In the case of an award under any of the authorities mentioned significant quantities may be needed for field testing.  The Government may make an award, even if all performance goals aren’t fully met. 

Judging Criteria

The Fly-Off scoring rubric will be provided to competitors with their invitation to the Phase-2 Fly-Off challenge event.

How To Enter

Eligible and interested applicants should visit to learn more about the conduct of the prize challenge, evaluation criteria, information that must be provided, and to apply for participation. Applications for participation will be accepted until 2359 EDT on 18 October 2019.  Invitations to participate in the Phase-2 Fly-Off will be issued via e-mail no later than 2359 EDT on 25 October 2019.  Responses to invitations will be due no later than 2359 EST on 8 November 2019.