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A--Packaging of Small Food and Water Items for Aerial Dispersion

Solicitation Number: WARPAD-RFI-AD001
Agency: Department of the Army
Office: Army Contracting Command
Location: ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS)
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Sources Sought
Added: Nov 16, 2012 10:00 am
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, is conducting a market survey for technical information from US and/or foreign vendors on packaging of small food and water items for dispersion from a cargo parachute system onto an active population. This is intended to provide the United States with a rapid humanitarian assistance response capability, allowing the US to assist populations in need within 24 hours of a natural disaster. NSRDEC is currently investigating a humanitarian airdrop system to deliver food and water directly onto a population in need with minimal to no risk of human injury. This system utilizes a flexible container bag that falls under a parachute to a pre-determined altitude, normally in the range of 1,000 feet to 5,000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL). At this altitude, the container bag tips over and dumps out the contents. The contents then free fall to the ground. The system is targeted so that the contents will disperse directly onto the population. This market survey is looking for food and water packaging methods with the following characteristics: * Ability to contain or package a US Agency for International Development (USAID) bar or a 4-oz water packet * Minimal to no risk of injury if the item impacts a person in free fall * Aversion to clumping when released from the aerial delivery system in large quantities (1,000+ items) * Dense enough to be contained in the airdrop container and meet minimum airdrop requirements * Ability to be mass produced at a low cost The USAID bar weighs approximately 55 grams and has dimensions of 2.5 quote mark x1.5 quote mark x0.5 quote mark . The water packet contains 4.227 ounces of water and is approximately 6 quote mark x3.75 quote mark x0.5 quote mark . The packaging for the food item does not need to be the same as the packaging for the water item. However, both of these items should fall at the same descent rate, so that after dispersing from the aerial delivery system and falling to the ground, both will share the same dispersion footprint. Minimal to no injury risk is determined as keeping the maximum peak impact force at or below 3,100 Newtons (~700 lbs). A decelerated descent rate, impact attenuation or cushioning or other impact reduction methods are within the trade space. Clumping has been seen in thin, flat packets when dispersed in large quantities. Mechanisms within the aerial delivery system have been tested, but are unable to fully disperse the items. If items clump together, they fall faster and impact harder, normally reaching well above the 3,100 Newton (~700 lbs) impact limit. This also reduces the survivability of the items. In order for an aerial delivery system to be deployed off the ramp of a cargo aircraft, it must meet a minimum loading requirement. Based on this requirement and the size of the system, a starting guideline for the item density would be greater than 14 lbs/ft3. This number is not to be taken as a hard requirement, but rather a guideline to indicate that large items with very low density are not likely feasible. The aerial delivery system is intended to be used in a mass resupply scenario. This requires thousands, if not millions, of food and water packages to be produced and stored, ready for immediate use. It is important that these items can be produced on a large scale at low cost. Proprietary information will not be disclosed outside the U.S. Government. All interested firms, regardless of size are encouraged to respond to this request for information. It should be noted that this is a market survey and not a pre-solicitation notice. Nothing shall be construed herein or through the market survey process to commit or obligate the Government to further action as a result of this market survey. Firms responding to this market survey shall bear all risk and expense of any resources used to provide the requested information, and all information submitted in response to this request shall become the property of the Government and will not be returned to the submitter. Respondents must submit their product brochures, technical data, or other information concerning performance and cost within 30 days of this publication. Responses may be sent via email to or by regular mail to US Army RDECOM, Natick Soldier RD&E Center, ATTN: RDNS-WPA-T (Riley), Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760. No solicitation document exists at this time. This market survey is for information and planning purposes only. This is not an Invitation for Bid (IFB) or a Request for Proposal (RFP) and is not to be taken as a commitment by RDECOM-NSRDEC.
ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS), ATTN: CCRD-NA, Building 1, Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760-5011
Warfighter Protection & Aerial Delivery Directorate ATTN: RDNS-WPA-T, Kansas Street Natick MA
Allison Griffin, 508-233-4495

ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS)