PATUXENT RIVER: The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO (U&W)) hosted an industry day April 16 to help companies learn about the service’s future technology needs.

PEO (U&W) leaders, representatives from NAVAIR’s small business office and Navy and Marine Corps requirements officers gave presentations throughout the day to more than 230 attendees, the majority from small businesses, at the Bay District Volunteer Fire House in Lexington Park, Maryland.

Mike Williamson, PEO (U&W)’s advanced development lead, opened up the event and stressed the importance of bringing companies together to share new and innovative ideas to support the future of Navy unmanned air system and weapons programs.

“This is a great networking opportunity,” he said. “We are sharing ideas with the best and the brightest and together we can come up with solutions for our future science and technology needs.”

PEO (U&W) is currently leading the development for the next-generation strike weapon and an unmanned carrier-based system. With the development of these new programs and maturation of existing systems, Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, who oversees the PEO (U&W), stressed the need to improve speed, range, autonomy and lethality within our systems to meet the today’s ever-changing threat.

“I want you to hear from us about what our priorities are within the U&W portfolio,” he said. “That’s what today’s all about.”

Darrah said he was excited by the number of small businesses in attendance. One of NAVAIR’s goals is to give small businesses an opportunity to understand government’s requirements so they can provide ideas for creative and affordable solutions and participate as both prime and subcontractors.

As a follow on to industry day, PEO (U&W) will host idea days, based on topics submitted and interest by program offices, from June through September to give businesses a chance to pitch ideas on how they propose to meet the PEO’s priorities.