MUX Program Prize Challenge


The Navy announced a prize challenge May 22 for its future Marine Air/Ground Task Force, Unmanned Aerial System, Expeditionary (MUX), a ship-based, long endurance UAS. 

The MUX IPT intends to use all available methods of engineering and test to decrease time to field and increase first pass yield on its material solution. They intend to use best of breed model based systems engineering, capabilities based test and evaluation and mid-tier acquisition as tools to decrease cycle time. 

The Navy’s Multi-Mission Tactical UAS program office (PMA-266) at NAVAIR will oversee MUX.

In order for NAVAIR to meet its aggressive fielding date, PMA-266 will award prize challenges in two phases. The first phase will seek design concepts for payloads and modularity, emphasizing minimal size and weight while maximizing performance. The challenge submissions will be scored and evaluated by a panel of judges. Vendors will receive $700,000 for first place; $200,000 for second place; and $100,000 for third place.

The results of the first phase will inform a second prize challenge for airframe and power plants. The Navy expects to award a series of up to eight prize challenge awards for MUX.

The Marine Corps is looking to field MUX in 2026 on its guided missile destroyers. For more information on prize challenges visit

Official Rules for the MUX prize challenges

Airborne Early Warning (AEW) Payload Prize Challenge Official Rules

Data Relay (DR) Payload Prize Challenge Official Rules 

Electronic Warfare (EW) Payload Prize Challenge Official Rules

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Payload Prize Challenge Official Rules

(as of Oct.30, 2019)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  On the NAVAIR website, there are detailed instructions for 4 of the 6 challenges (EW, Data Relay, AEW, and ISR Payloads) with an Initial Application date of 03 Jun.  However, the 2 remaining (Mission Systems Architecture and Payload Adapter) are not listed on the Challenge website yet.

Can you provide information on when these 2 challenge details/rules will be promulgated and when the Initial Applications will be due? 

A: The initial application period for the four challenges that have already been posted ends 11:59 pm EST on 03 June 2019. However, the initial application period for the two challenges you mentioned (Mission Systems Architecture and Payload Adapter) does not end until 11:59 pm EST on 26 September 2019 and therefore have not yet been posted. Please refer to the applicable FBO posts for all other dates related to those challenges and please continue to monitor for any additional MUX prize challenges.

Q:  Can participants submit one application to address more than one challenge or must they apply separately for each challenge?

A:  Yes, you can submit one application to cover multiple challenges. However, please explicitly address which challenges you are applying for and please note that some prize challenges request different information than others in the initial application.

Q: I cannot open the starter model that was delivered with the prize challenge invitation.

A: The instructions for opening .mdzip files are as follows:

  1. Open your Cameo Systems Modeler application (or Cameo Enterprise Architect)
  2. Go to "File", click on "Open Project"
  3. Navigate to the location on your computer where the .mdzip file was saved
  4. Click on the file and then click the “Open” button
  5. The file will then be opened

MUX Industry Day – 11 July 2019

Industry Day Presentation


The following provides answers and clarifications to questions that were received from industry, including questions that were posed during Industry Day on July 11, 2019. If any of the written responses contained below in any way contradict or conflict with responses previously provided by the Government, the written responses below shall take precedence and supersede any prior answers provided. In all cases, the Official Rules for the respective Prize Challenges shall take precedence and supersede any answers provided.

1. Q: What software should be used in developing the models?
A: Models must be developed in CAMEO Enterprise Architecture V19.0 or later versions.

2. Q: Will the government accept unsolicited white papers?
A: Yes, the Government will accept all feedback to inform the MUX requirements.
If you are considering submitting an unsolicited proposal as defined in FAR subpart 15.6, unsolicited proposals will be considered in accordance with FAR subpart 15.6, but will not be eligible for any prize challenge award. All unsolicited proposals must be submitted in accordance with FAR subpart 15.6. NAVAIR’s agency point of contact for unsolicited proposals is Mr. Brad Fields ([email protected]).
In order to be considered for the prize challenges, participants must provide submissions in accordance with the Official Rules of the specific prize challenge.

3. Q: Will the government be using OTA’s to access non-traditional companies?
A: The Government intends to open the aperture to non-traditional companies. OTA’s provide a potential path to reach these non-traditional companies. The Government has not yet determined what contract types will be used in the future, but is willing to consider all options.

4. Q: More details for the timeline for the Air Vehicle Prize Challenge. How do we get an invite to participate?
A: The Government anticipates that the Air Vehicle Prize Challenge Official Rules will be publicized in or around July 2020. The Government intends to follow the same process for the Air Vehicle Prize Challenge that it has used thus far for the various payload prize challenges. Interested participants will submit an initial qualification application to be considered for an invitation to participate. The Government will evaluate responses and invite qualified applicants to participate. The Government intends to release an initial announcement publicizing the prize challenge (e.g. FBO posting) in or around April or May 2020.
5. Q: Can the Government provide a list of attendees to help companies look for teammates?
A: The Government does not intend to provide a list of attendees, but will consider providing in future prize challenges.

6. Q: Information provided has indicated the MUX POR will be looking at ~ 80-100 AV for USMC requirements. Is the Government considering exportability?
A: For now, the focus is on USMC requirements and not FMS.

7. Q: The discussion for MUX has included looking at Cyber, but will the Government also focus on Anti-Tamper?
A: Yes, Anti-Tamper considerations will also be important in the future.

8. Q: How do companies get to source data? Will there be a secure library portal for Table 1? How will the Government transmit information, is there a central library for Table 1?
A: “Table 1” describes the MUX operational and functional desired capabilities for all payloads currently contemplated by the Government. This table is captured in the official rules for each of the four (4) payload prize challenges that were posted to and

9. Q: The Government is using MBSE and MOSA, but will it also be looking at other models to address high O&M (sustainment) costs (e.g. Virtual Digital Twin, automated conditioned based maintenance, ALIS, HUMS)?
A: The Government has not made those determinations yet. Requirements for the Air Vehicle Prize Challenge are still being defined. The Government will explore all possible solutions going forward.

10. Q: How much mission system definition will be provided in the AV prize challenge in July 2020? Also, will there be any capability/requirement updates or changes between the July 2020 Prize Challenge and the July 2021 award?)
A: The Government anticipates including the payload, architecture and modularity information in the model for the purpose of the AV prize challenge. The Government does not anticipate making additional updates to the model after July 2020.

11. Q: In 2021 will there be one award for Prototype development?
A: The current plan is to start the evaluation of AV responses in July 2021 and to choose a winner from evaluated responses. In FY22, the plan is to move to some form of contract or agreement to build the prototypes. The selection of a winner does not guarantee that the Government will proceed to a prototype effort. The Government is still determining how this acquisition process will proceed, and there will be multiple meetings with industry to ensure that there are no surprises.

12. Q: What is the value placed on modularity and SwaP-C considerations in input, value from providing subsets or combinations of payloads to meet/provide operational value. Can additional guidance be provided on how to mix and match as far as payloads on AV?
A: This will depend upon the results we receive from the current prize challenges that are underway. We are also conducting studies to determine what mix of capabilities will always be required in the aircraft. While the USMC would prefer to have all mission systems available at all times, we are currently seeking the realm of the possible from the results of the prize challenges.

13. Q: During the PEO Industry day, the Naval Aviation Consortium was discussed. Will MUX efforts fall under that?
A: We are currently not using the Consortium for the prize challenges, but will consider all possible avenues for future MUX requirements.

14. Q: How ironclad are the Navy requirements for MUX – the requirement to be compatible with the DDG hangar?
A: The current intent is that the MUX will be compatible with the DDG. However, there is nothing written that says this intent will not change in the future. However, it is likely an enduring requirement. Any changes to that requirement would be provided to industry.

15. Q: How can industry provide feedback on the prize challenges?
A: If industry has recommendations for how the Government can improve the prize challenges, we want to hear about it. Please submit all feedback to the MUX email address: [email protected]


ADDITIONAL Q&As (as of Sept. 13, 2019)

1. Q: Section “p” of the instructions for the written report states the following: “The participant shall describe the peak power requirements for the proposed AEW mission system payload.” Is peak power defined as the peak prime power required to operate the AEW mission system payload or is it defined as the peak output power of the AEW mission system payload.
A: Peak power is defined as the peak power required to operate the payload(s) (this includes standby and all operational modes).

2. Q: [The updated rules dated 04 September 2019] require a significant amount of changes/additional content to be generated in order to be compliant. Will there be an extension to the submission timeframe?
Additionally, as previously identified, the Rubric formulas do not accurately calculate the total score for certain weighted functions; resulting in a scoring flaw. Would the Gov’t please advise as to whether they will be providing an updated rubric to contractors, or if we should submit using the current rubric?
A: The rule updates were largely administrative or clarifying in nature and the Government will not authorize extensions for prize challenge submissions. Updated rubrics were sent to participants on 13 September 2019 correcting all known scoring flaws. Please utilize those rubrics for your self-scoring submissions.

3. Q: We have a concern with using the US Mail and getting proper assurances the Government “received” the input by the 3:00pm Deadline on Monday the 23rd, we have no way of knowing for certain once we put in in the mail. Are there alternative approaches for an on time submission?
A: The rules were updated on 13 September 2019 to allow submissions via USPS or through a commercial carrier. The Government recommends requesting a delivery receipt from USPS or your chosen carrier. In addition, participants may request a verification of submission receipt by emailing the MUX inbox after delivery.

4. Q: While we recognize the U.S. Mail requirement and deadline, we wanted to reach out to understand whether we would be allowed to Hand-Deliver our submission to the Government so long that it is before 3:00PM ET deadline?
A: Hand delivery is not an acceptable method of submission. The rules were updated on 13 September 2019 to clarify that this form of submission is not allowed.

5. Q: The updated guideline on the AEW Payload Prize states that “Because the final submission will include classified information, in order to be considered for the Prize Challenge awards, participants must provide two (2) copies of their final submission on
CDs or DVDs via U.S. Mail and received by the Government by 3:00 pm ET on September 23, 2019”
This differs from the previously published guidelines, where submissions could also be made unclassified and electronically, and differs from the most recent ISR Payload Prize, where submissions can still be made unclassified.
[We] do not plan to submit a classified response to the AEW Payload Prize, in accordance to past guidelines. Would the Government still accept an unclassified submission? If yes, can this submission be performed electronically (rather than via mail), like all other current Payload Prizes?
A: Please review the latest prize challenge rules posted here:
The AEW/EW classification requirements have not changed. The original AEW and EW prize challenge rules stated: “Instructions for how to make submissions will be provided with the invitations.” The AEW and EW invitations required classified mailing procedures for all submissions. The Government incorporated the invitation submission instructions into the official rules for clarity and consistency only. The classification requirements for AEW/EW submissions were never changed.

The Government had originally intended for unclassified submissions to be delivered electronically via AMRDEC SAFE. However, AMRDEC SAFE was permanently disabled in August 2019. AMRDEC’s replacement, DOD SAFE, does not allow non-Government users to send a package without first receiving a time-limited invitation link from a Government user. Given the logistical complexity of that process, all prize challenge rules (AEW, EW, DR, ISR) were updated on 04 September 2019 to require submissions via USPS. All prize challenge rules were updated again on 13 September 2019 allowing submissions via USPS or any commercial carrier.

6. Q: [The rules] state that “Participation in this Prize Challenge will be at participant expense. The Government will not be responsible for any costs incurred by the participant, to include submission costs, travel costs, technology demonstration or development costs or any associated costs.” Does this mean that a contractor is precluded from following its standard charging practices to include technical marketing, bid and proposal expenses, etc. that are handled in accordance with their disclosure statement practices and which may ultimately be recovered through General and Administrative expenses?
A: This language was intended to address that no payment will be made to cover any direct costs as a result of these prize challenges. Participants should continue to follow their approved disclosure statement practices for purposes of bid and proposal expenses.