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ASTRO: The Drone/UAV Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss Blog Feature
Haley Lawrie

By: Haley Lawrie on January 9th, 2020

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ASTRO: The Drone/UAV Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss

Government Business Development | Technology | 5 Min Read

[This article was last updated on June 27, 2020]

It’s no secret that the U.S. federal government has a great need for Drone and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in today’s day and age. If your company offers these products, then your 2020 resolution should be to get involved with the ASTRO program!

What is ASTRO?

ASTRO is a Multiple-Award (MA), Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract sponsored by the Department of Defense. The Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) organization within the Assisted Acquisition Service Organization of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service has been commissioned by client organizations to establish this multiple award IDIQ contract program to support existing and future requirements. The program is code-named ASTRO. This vehicle will be awarded and administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Assisted Acquisition Service (AAS), Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM).

The scope of ASTRO is intentionally broad. ASTRO’s scope includes operations, maintenance, readiness, development, systems integration, business support, mission support, research and development, for manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms, as well as the services that support those systems, robotics, and platforms.

Within their RFI #3 Question and Answer, Will Fortier, the Director of FEDSIM Support at GSA, stated: “essentially, if a person flies it, drives it, sails it, dives it, orbits in it, or controls it… or if the platform does any of these things itself, that is what we are talking about.” That leaves room for a lot of opportunities!

FEDSIM task orders start at $100 Million and sometimes exceed $1 Billion. FEDSIM anticipates approximately 20 task orders per year to start and they expect that number to grow year to year. A 5-year ordering period with one 5-year extension option that may extend the ordering period to 10 years is anticipated for ASTRO. Task orders could be placed until the end of the ordering period and those task orders could last for up to five years after the ordering period is expired.

If your company is involved with drones and/or UAVs, this would make for a great opportunity to expand into the realm of government work! If your company has the resources to successfully perform on requirements of these dollar levels, FEDSIM strongly encourages you to submit a proposal. If you are a small business, you should look into small business subcontracting opportunities. FEDSIM is trying to maximize subcontracting opportunities for small businesses!

How is ASTRO Structured?

ASTRO will be functionally separated into 10 groups, which are called “Pools.” Each Pool will be an individual ASTRO MA-IDIQ task order contract. It is unclear at this point how many awards are anticipated in each Pool, but with dollar amounts as high as those projected, you can anticipate multiple awards will be made in each of the 10 Pools. A single Offeror can compete for more than one ASTRO Pool. The Pools are as follows:

    1. Data Operations Pool: Data Operations includes all data collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination activities associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms supporting mission performance. This includes traditional labor services as well as “as a service” support.
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 541990
      • The small business size standard is: $16.5M
    2. Mission Operations Pool: Mission Operations includes all non-data collection and analysis services associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned systems, robotics, and platforms supporting mission performance. This includes traditional labor services as well as “as a service” support.
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 541990
      • The small business size standard is: $16.5M
    3. Aviation Pool: Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned aircraft
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 488190
      • The small business size standard is: $32.5M
    4. Space Pool: Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned space platforms
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 488190
      • The small business size standard is: $35M
    5. Maritime Pool: Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, and unmanned maritime vehicles
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 336611
      • The small business size standard is: 1,200 employees
    6. Ground Pool: Maintenance, repair, and overhaul of manned, optionally manned, unmanned ground vehicles, and Industrial Machinery
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 488999
      • The small business size standard is: $8M
    7. Development/Systems Integration Pool: Systems integration, systems improvement, and/or systems engineering associated with manned, unmanned, and optionally manned platforms that falls under one of the NAICS code exceptions for NAICS 541330
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 541330 Exception A/B/C
      • The small business size standard is: $41.5M
    8. Research and Development Pool: All research and development associated with manned, unmanned, optionally manned, and counter UxS platforms.
      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 541714
      • The small business size standard is: 1,000 Employees

9. Support Pool: All support services (except training) required for successful execution of a product, program, project, or process regarding platforms, robotics, and/or systems for land, air, sea, or space; the planning necessary to support operational missions; and the analysis of the results of an operational mission.

      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 541990
      • The small business size standard is: $16.5M

10. Training Pool: All training services required for successful execution of a product, program, project, or process regarding platforms, robotics, and/or systems for land, air, sea, or space.

      • The NAICS Code for this acquisition is: 61699
      • The small business size standard is: $12M

To understand how you will be scored on your abilities to fulfill the ASTRO requirements, be sure to check the RFI #4, which drafts the ASTRO Evaluation Criteria and the ASTRO Scoresheet. Will Fortier announced in an ASTRO scoring update that ASTRO will be more difficult than OASIS, another GSA on-ramp vehicle, to score highly due to the limitations of relevant experience projects, individual Pool scorecards, functional factors, etc.

No one knows what the scoring will look like on ASTRO including FEDSIM, so if you're eligible you should respond to this opportunity!

Do I Need to Have a GSA MAS Contract to Respond?

You are not always required to have a GSA contract in order to sell to the government. With regards to the ASTRO opportunity, you do not have to have a General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule contract to respond. While a GSA contract may not necessarily be a requirement to get this new governmental opportunity, having a record of fair and reasonable pricing such as that required on a GSA contract will never be a negative when bidding on federal opportunities.

In the RFI Q&A, Will Fortier stated that: “we do consider proven, demonstrated experience to be superior to potential performance.” If you’ve already done the work to prove that you are a reliable contractor under the GSA contract vehicle, then you have made yourself even more competitive when bidding on the ASTRO opportunity!

How Long Do I Have to Respond to ASTRO?

Several Requests for Information (RFIs) for ASTRO have already been posted in 2019. The draft Solicitation for ASTRO was released in February 2020, and a new draft for Section C of the Solicitation was released in May 2020. The Solicitation is expected to be officially released in August 2020.

Continue to check the ASTRO Community Page to get updates on the draft solicitation, tips on project submittal, scoring, and other FAQs. Will Fortier answers industry questions through this page in order to provide clarification when possible, and the page is an excellent forum for discussion about ASTRO.

If your company provides drones or UAVs, ASTRO is a huge opportunity for you to get into the federal buying sphere. Working with the Department of Defense on a 5 to 10-year IDIQ could be a game changer for your company. Be sure to check it out! Have questions about ASTRO? Give us a call!

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About Haley Lawrie

Haley Lawrie is a consultant in Winvale’s Government Contract Services Department. She is originally from Lynchburg, VA and graduated from James Madison University with a degree in International Affairs and Spanish.

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