AFWERX Challenge

Join Us to further strengthen our Air Force and Space Force

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Funding Award
    Contracting Opportunities
  • Submission Deadline
  • Program Duration
    3 Months
  • Industry Focus
    Challenge Topics Vary
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

AFWERX Challenge is a rapid, high-quality market research program that can help the Air Force get solutions to problems from collaboration with industry and academia. The process is designed to bring together government, business, academia, and military to help advance operational readiness within the Department of the Air Force and also extended to the Department of Defense.

The AFWERX Challenge process is all about accelerating change, it has reduced typical acquisition timelines for sourcing and acquiring solutions to Air Force problems from several years to six months. The AFWERX team utilizes our expansive network of innovators and non-traditional defense partners to source technologies from companies that previously have no experience with working with the government. Our robust market research tools can identify companies that have relevant, game-changing technologies, and our unique contracting strategies create one of the easiest and most expedient pipelines for the USAF to partner with these companies. If you have a problem that industry can assist with and that typical acquisition strategies have been unable to solve, AFWERX can help you rapidly source and acquire solutions with unprecedented agility.

The AFWERX Challenge process is essentially the typical acquisition process flipped upside down. We have gathered some of the leading minds in industry, academia, and the DoD to create a proven crowdsourcing platform that casts a wide net for industry and academic innovators to apply their latest technologies and solutions to government problems and accelerate the path from idea to deployed solution. Through design thinking workshops, interactive networking, and webinars, transparent crowdsourcing, showcases AFWERX Challenge is a fresh approach to market research and prototyping.

Listen to what challenge sponsors and industry have to say about AFWERX Challenge.

AFWERX Challenge is a high-quality market research program. We use design thinking workshops, crowdsourcing, collaboration showcase event and innovative contracting pathways to case a wide net for industry and academic innovators to apply their latest technologies and solutions to government problems and accelerate the path from idea to deployed solution.

Benefits of AFWERX Challenge

A fast and efficient way to engage with the government, and also to collaborate with other companies, academia and investors

Access to Government End-Users and Decision-Makers

If you’re looking to expand your products to other markets, including the government, AFWERX Challenge is an effective way to quickly get your solution in front of government decision-makers, investors, end-users, and potential partners.

You’ll have access to workshops, webinars, networking events, and private pitches throughout the crowdsource campaign. This means more face-to-face interactions with government decision-makers, investors, and other individuals focused on driving innovation in areas you are interested in.

Accelerated Decision Making and Feedback

AFWERX Challenge is built for speed and to accelerate change. Every aspect of our process has aggressive timelines to get decisions made quickly so the DoD can benefit as soon as possible from the solutions submitted. From the start of the submission process to the awarding of a contract is usually only 16 weeks.

Contracting Opportunities

Immediately after the Showcase, the Challenge Sponsor team decides which teams they would like to contract with. The next step is typically a Request for a Proposal and a Statement of Work submitted by the solution provider.

In addition to the Challenge Sponsor, there are other contracting opportunities with other Department of the Air Force customers and end-users using the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) if one is available. The CSO is open to anyone in the Department of the Air Force, as a contracting pathway.

Easy to Understand Challenge Statement

Government and military personnel have a unique language riddled with acronyms and terms specific to their field. AFWERX Challenge acts as a conduit between the government and industry to translate government jargon into a more accessible language. Our Challenge Statement is a 2-page document that is written in plain English.

Open to Anyone

As long as you are from a country allied to the United States, AFWERX Challenge is open to you. You could represent a large company, a small company, a defense contractor, or just be someone who has never previously worked with the government, in the US or overseas. Typically, 70% of submissions received to a Challenge have never worked with the government before, so if this is new to you, you are not alone!

Credibility for Your Company

If you are selected for a Showcase, kudos to you and your team. You were selected in the top 10-20% of all submissions by a team of subject matter experts. You could let your existing customers know and potential investors may see this as an opportunity.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.