The mil/aero industry is alive with a flurry of grants activity. Various federal agencies and organizations are seeking high-end technology and research on a wide array of topics, largely with the goal of putting bleeding-edge electronics in the hands of warfighters to ensure their safety and mission success. A quick perusal of Grants.gov and Recovery.gov, among other relevant sites, provides significant proof that federal organizations are on the hunt for the latest and greatest innovations, and large and small, new and old players in the military and aerospace community are answering the call.
I enjoy working with mil/aero firms, helping deliver comprehensive information to organizations and agencies that have issued RFIs (requests for information), BAAs (broad agency announcements), and various other open solicitations. One thing that continues to perplex and dismay me, however, is the small (but growing) number of companies who employ electronic design and analysis tools in the process; rather, many firms responding to U.S. Department of Defense, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and other solicitations invoke the use of Photoshop or Illustrator to provide a two-dimensional (2D) representation (aka, guess) as to what the resulting end product might look like. (It’s more often than not a cartoony, non-realistic representation, at that.)
Those who deliver a grant proposal or white paper with a 3D, digital rendering of a potential component, device, or system are at a tremendous advantage from the get go. Combine that 3D representation with all the accompanying data (precise measurements, specifications, and test results) and the respondent has the potential to knock it out of the park. EDA tools are a definite competitive advantage, especially in crafting a comprehensive, informative, valuable, and well-received proposal.
I could go on and on, but I would rather hear from you. If there’s a dissenting opinion and some unforeseen value in submitting an artist’s rendering of a widget vs. an EDA or CAD/CAM model, I implore you to please educate this geek. I’d also love to see some sample widgets (non-proprietary, of course) on which any of you have worked or are working. Now, get out there and get some grant money to advance the state of the art in mil/aero environments! Best of luck!