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RAPIDx Team awards contract with $90 million ceiling

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82d Training Wing

The 82d Contracting Squadron RAPIDx team negotiated an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for immersive training solutions that makes extended reality training development available to the entire Air Force and Space Force. The IDIQ contract, which was awarded September 2023, has a three-year period of performance and a $90 million ceiling.

The contract has roots in Detachment 23’s Maintenance Next program, a proof of concept developed with the 362d Training Squadron that promoted XR training to transform how new maintainers learned their trade by augmenting classroom and physical trainers with virtual reps and sets.

Lt. Col. Jesse Johnson, Deputy Director of 19th Air Force A4, was the commander of Detachment 23 during the transition from the Maintenance Next concept to the new contract. According to Johnson, the previous contracting team was dissolved during a restructure of the detachment. That’s when the 82d CONS stepped in.

“We pivoted and started working with the RAPIDx team in the 82d CONS primarily because we had been running the program with the Maintenance Next program in the 362d for the last three years,” he said. “DET 23 had been funding it and supporting it and growing it in the 82d TRW. Carrie Martin and her team having a RAPIDx capability made it the most reasonable option. It ended up being just the grace of good luck. The right team to do that job.”

Two members of that team, Steven Taylor, Contracting Section Chief, and Kimberly Rico, Contract Specialist, negotiated the deal.

According to Taylor, an IDIQ contract was the best option in this case because it gives users the flexibility to order exactly what they need when they need it. Additionally, the price is fixed, and progress is not slowed by further negotiations every time a new training module is created.

“We established the prices up front, so we have a whole menu,” he said. “It's a collaboration between the customer that's making the order and the contractor to say, ‘this is what we want to do.’  The contractor then looks at the menu and says, ‘okay, based on what you want to do, here's how you order our from our menu,’ kind of like a restaurant menu.”

The training modules are customizable and can cover anything from an entire jet to a specific part of an engine.

Additionally, through a platform called EMPACT that is available to any Air Force or Space Force entity for the duration of the IDIQ, which is used as a “digital classroom” to view the assets and lessons created by instructors under the contract. All assets created through EMPACT are owned by the Air Force.

“This vehicle is actually open, because we've heard that they've had interest from all over,” he said. “So, we made the decision to set it up to make it available throughout the entire department, so Air Force, Space Force, anybody can use it. We have all the information posted on our squadron SharePoint, and in the contracting filing system, KT File Share, that everyone in Air Force contracting uses. We've thrown it up there so that way, anybody can see it, they can order from it. We try to make it as easy to find as possible.”

Taylor added that contracting at 82d CONS has a strong bias toward action.

“Our charge as a contracting squadron, and the contracting career field as of late, has been to be mission focused business leaders; not the people that are sitting around waiting for you to bring us your requirements and then we'll help you,” he said.

Rico, who was recognized by the Air Education and Training Command for an individual award for Innovation in DAF Contracting, did the bulk of the work for the IDIQ. She was tapped for this contract because of her experience with other IDIQs. She enjoys the challenges and rewards of working in contracting.

“The most rewarding thing is to see some of these things that are seedlings of ideas come into the classroom,” she said.

The $90 million contract was awarded to HTX Labs.