Help the DoD gain a strategic advantage against adversarial EM technologies to win part of $150,000.


The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is launching a prize challenge to identify capabilities that utilize electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) technologies to gain a strategic edge in EM targeting, as well as to provide protection against adversarial EM targeting capabilities. A team of subject matter experts will evaluate applicants and select up to 15 companies as finalists for participation in the virtual Pitch Day in July 2024. A total of $150,000 in awards will be awarded to the top performing company/companies.

This competition is one of three synchronized competitions being held through Pillar II of the Australian, United Kingdom (U.K.), and the United States (U.S.) (AUKUS) security partnership as one part of the inaugural AUKUS Pillar II trilateral prize challenge. The three competitions are presented by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) in Australia, Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the U.K., and DIU in the U.S.

Problem Statement

The EMS presents a congested and competitive environment, requiring low-cost, disposable, and highly autonomous capabilities for an asymmetrical advantage. This challenge is focused on the DoD’s ability to leverage EMS technologies for both offensive and defensive purposes. Key capabilities sought include:

  1. Find: Identification of targets using the EMS.
  2. Fix: Location of targets via the EMS.
  3. Track: Monitoring of target movement using the EMS.
  4. Target: Selection and application of EMS assets and enabled weapon systems.
  5. Engage: Application of EMS assets and enabled weapons.
  6. Assess: Evaluation of attack effects using the EMS.

Key Dates

Benefits of Participating

  • $150,000 in awards to the top performing company/companies
  • Exposure to leaders across multiple branches of the DoD
  • Potential for follow-on opportunities such as Other Transaction (OT) agreements, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and others


  • U.S.-owned and operated companies
  • Active registration in
  • Early- to mid stage ventures (i.e., companies with few or no DoD contracts, equal to or earlier than Series A); OR non-traditional defense contractors, as defined in the 2023 DoD OT Guide
  • Ventures able to demonstrate the solution’s capabilities by July 2024

Apply Now

Participants must apply for the DIU Presents: AUKUS Electronic Warfare Challenge via the link below.

Apply Now

Judging Criteria

Applications and Pitches will be judged on six major criteria:

  • Technical Soundness and Innovation: Soundness, technical merit, innovation of proposed approach, and feasibility of the proposed solution.
  • Team Qualifications: Qualifications of proposed principals, support staff, and consultants.
  • Commercial Viability: Company has a technology solution that is viable in non-defense markets.
  • Quality of Pitch: Company presents a clear and concise overview of its company and technology, demonstrates how its technology solves one or more of the defined problem areas, and effectively answers questions from strategic advisors.
  • Operational Alignment: Proposed solution aligns with listed features and capabilities.

Technical Features List

The listed features aim to help industry concentrate efforts on high-impact capabilities, including but not limited to:

  1. Sensors: Enhancing sensor quantity and quality for target identification, location, monitoring, and assessment. (To enable Find, Fix, Track, and Assess phases)
  2. Closed loop targeting: Employing existing EW sensor data and predetermined parameters for swift cueing and engagement. (To enable Target and Engage phases)
  3. Electronic attack: Disrupting adversary Command, Control, Communication and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Electronic Warfare systems (C4ISREW) and EMS-enabled weapons. (To enable all aspects of the targeting cycle)
  4. EMS access: Dynamically accessing EMS for resilience, stealth, and reduced spectrum conflicts. (To enable Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, and Assess phases)
  5. EMS deception and denial: Preventing adversary exploitation of emissions or understanding of true intent to enable blue force projection and blue force protection, to counter all aspects of the targeting cycle.

Capability Considerations

We seek innovative proposals with fast delivery capabilities, prioritizing rapid problem orientation and iteration over current TRL level. Proposals should prioritize:

  1. Agility: Systems with multi-spectral, distributed, high dynamic range, wide/multi-band capabilities, allowing rapid reprogramming and real-time data updates.
  2. Multi-functionality: Systems addressing multiple areas of interest.
  3. Interoperability: Systems adhering to common data standards and flexible defense integration, and can cooperate with existing data and systems.
  4. Interchangeability: Systems easily integrated with AUKUS partners.
  5. Connectivity: Systems operable in a denied, degraded, intermittent and limited environment.
  6. Cost Effectiveness: Low-cost, easily manufacturable, and disposable/attritable systems.
  7. Sovereignty: Domestically manufactured (or have the potential to be) with a secure, resilient and reliable supply chain.
  8. Range: Adaptable for close-range to over-the-horizon operations, with protection to operate within proximity of adversaries.
  9. Time: Varied operational speeds and durations.
  10. Autonomy: Minimal training required, reducing reliance on human resources.
  11. Projection: Easily projected from existing platforms and deployable into contested environments with minimal modification.
  12. Domain: Applicable in the physical domains (air, land, space, maritime [surface and subsurface]), or across multiple domains.

Pitch Deck Submission Requirements

Teams will submit a pitch deck outlining their technology capabilities that addresses the required and desired features above. Pitch decks should meet the following format requirements:

  • Sized 16:9 (1920x1080 pixels)
  • Horizontal presentation
  • PDF file
  • Maximum 10 slides


AUKUS is a trilateral defense and security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States aimed at strengthening the security and defense capabilities of the three countries, and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Announced on 15 September 2021, AUKUS is supporting Australia’s acquisition of a conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarine capability, building an enabling environment for our defense and innovation communities, and harnessing our innovation enterprises and industrial bases to deliver advanced warfighter capabilities. The strategic alignment of our national defense strategies and national security objectives, underpinned by our shared values, creates an unprecedented opportunity for deep and wide technological collaboration across all three nations.

About Defense Innovation Unit

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) strengthens national security by accelerating the adoption of commercial technology in the Department of Defense and bolstering our allied and national security innovation bases. DIU partners with organizations across the DoD) to rapidly prototype and field dual-use capabilities that solve operational challenges at speed and scale. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, Chicago and Washington, DC, DIU is the Department’s gateway to leading technology companies across the country.

About National Security Innovation Network

NSIN is a program office in the U.S. Department of Defense, nested within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). We are set up to collaborate with a wide variety of innovators to include universities, researchers, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups. We create opportunities for collaboration across communities and connect those that might not traditionally work in national security. Together, we help drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.

Intellectual Property Considerations: Applicants retain ownership of existing Intellectual Property (IP) submitted under this Challenge and agree that their submissions are their original work. Applicants are presumed to have sufficient rights to submit the submission. For any submission made to the Challenge, you grant DIU a limited license to use this IP for testing and evaluation for efforts specifically related to the Challenge. DIU will negotiate with individual competitors in the event additional usage, integration, or development is contemplated.

Other Transaction Authority: This DIU Challenge public announcement is an open call to small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors seeking innovative, commercial technologies proposed to create new DoD solutions or potential new capabilities fulfilling requirements, closing capability gaps, or providing potential technological advancements, technologies fueled by commercial or strategic investment, but also concept demonstrations, pilots, and agile development activities improving commercial technologies, existing Government-owned capabilities, or concepts for broad Defense application(s). As such, the Government reserves the right to award a contract or an Other Transaction for any purpose, to include a prototype or research, under this public announcement. The Federal Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the applicant before award and is under no obligation to pursue such Other Transactions.

Satisfying Competition Requirements: This DIU Challenge Open Call Announcement is considered to have potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects 10 USC 4022 and Research 10 USC 4021, Prizes for advanced technology achievements 10 USC 4025, and/or Prize Competitions 15 USC 3719. The public open call announcement made on the IdeaScale website is considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 4025(b), 15 USC 3719 (e) and 10 USC 4022 (b)(2). Accordingly, FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b).