Sikorsky Innovations celebrates five-year anniversary of Entrepreneurial Challenge by launching 8th competition


From Lockheed Martin

The Entrepreneurial Challenge, led by Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company (NYSE: LMT), is designed to accelerate innovators and disruptive technology concepts with applications in the aerospace market.  Since its inception in 2012, the competition has named 16 global awardees and is actively pursuing collaborations with a number of awardees in its portfolio. 

As part of the new competition, the organization is expanding its focus areas to include technology needs for platforms and programs across Lockheed Martin's Rotary and Mission Systems business.  The competition will continue to feature a non-dilutive $25,000 cash award for the winner(s) and an opportunity to collaborate with the leaders in global security and aerospace.

"The Entrepreneurial Challenge has proven an effective mechanism to engage with non-traditional partners and help expand the Innovations network," said Chris Van Buiten, vice president of Sikorsky Innovations.  "It's a truly unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, whether in a garage or in the offices of a medium-sized growth enterprise, to reach out and explore collaboration with a Fortune 100 enterprise that's invested in finding those partners that can add value for our defense and commercial customers."

For the 8th competition, Sikorsky Innovations, along with its competition partner the Stamford Innovation Center, is continuing its tradition of unveiling a new set of focus areas: (1) Distributed, Reconfigurable MEMS Sensor Network; (2) Adaptive Communications for Assured Data Exchange; and, (3) Advanced Sensor Fusion. These areas highlight current technologies the company believes represent disruptive opportunities for the aerospace market for which near-term opportunities exist for collaboration with Sikorsky and other Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems organizations.

To participate in the Challenge or learn more, visit the Challenge's competition's website at are due to the online portal by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 14.

Teams may submit applications to one or more of the questions. Applications will be judged on technical feasibility, value proposition, and team expertise.  Finalists will be chosen from the applicant pool, and will have the opportunity to present their technology to Lockheed Martin leadership and experts. Winners, Honorable Mention and/or Special Recognition awards will be granted based upon the quality of the presentations, which will enable ongoing interaction with Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin personnel.


Sikorsky Innovations holds the Entrepreneurial Challenge to highlight and support revolutionary ideas, ventures and innovators whose technology is highly relevant to one of its identified focus area.  Each focus area (outlined below) represents current company technology needs for production aircraft and processes.

Sikorsky is looking for agile technology leaders across all industry domains that embody the entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and management style to complement the qualities of an established industry leader. The company encourages individuals or teams incubating new ideas around the globe, whether working in a garage or in a Fortune 500 company, to apply.



The Winner of the competition will be eligible for a $25K non-dilutive cash prize.

Winners of the Entrepreneurial Challenge will also have the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate with Sikorsky to validate their products and explore opportunities.
  • Access mentoring programs, education workshops, and events across Connecticut's entrepreneurial network, CTNEXT, for one year.
  • Receive an investment evaluation from the Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Panel during incubation.

Most of all, Winners and Awardees of the Entrepreneurial Challenge will be able to leverage Sikorsky's industry knowledge and relationships.  In addition, Sikorsky reserves the right to name to other classes of award winners: Special Recognition and Honorable Mention.  These two classes of awardees will also have the opportunity to work with Sikorsky to explore opportunities.

All prizes and awards are subject to the Terms & Conditions found in the Application Package.



Distributed, Reconfigurable MEMS Sensor Network

  • Background: Modern aircraft rely on sensors to provide critical information on the current state of key components and systems to the onboard Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS). HUMS is fully integrated with the aircraft, and as a result are difficult and/or expensive to augment or change as new potential aircraft issues arise during the decades-long lifespan of the aircraft that would benefit from monitoring to keep the fleet flying.
  • The Requirement:  Environmentally robust (extreme operational temperature range, wet, high vibration), multi-functional, plug-and-play, interoperable sensors available in several modalities (strain, vibration, and temperature) and in a very small form factor that can augment existing HUMS network. Wireless data transmission preferred, but not required. Local energy harvesting, remote wireless power or battery powered with > 12 months of operating time preferred, but not required. Ease of network integration into existing aircraft, reconfigurability, and network weight are especially important. Hardware and software components that could be a critical sub-system of the final solution are also sought.

2.    Adaptive Communications for Assured Data Exchange

  • Background:  Increased use of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum can create issues for high bandwidth data and voice transmission between dispersed platforms, such as airplanes and ships. Such issues are not unlike those facing large commercial data networks today, including multi-path and fading issues experienced on 3G, 4G and emerging 5G capabilities.
  • The Requirement:  Hardware and software solutions sought that can increase data bandwidth and reliability. Unique waveforms, increased frequency recognition and switching, and situationally aware, cognitive radio technologies are all examples of potential solutions. Potential solutions do not need to be limited to FCC frequency restrictions.

3.    Advanced Sensor Fusion

  • Background:  Today’s sensors output a tremendous amount of raw data that must be correlated, synchronized and simplified in order to provide useful input to a pilot or automated control system. There’s the potential for significant increases in reliability of this data if sensors could be seamlessly integrated into a single, cohesive data environment.
  • The Requirement:  Software and algorithms capable of combining previously disparate sensor data into a single data stream for either output to display interfaces or used as an input to advanced navigation systems. Algorithms that can simultaneously correlate and cross-check for data validity would be ideal. Interoperability with existing, Sikorsky optionally piloted data architectures and APIs strongly preferred.



Keep up to date with all of the latest Entrepreneurial Challenge news and insights. Visit TechAloft, a blog curated by the Stamford Innovation Center, to keep up to date on all of the insights posted for each focus area by the Entrepreneurial Challenge team. Exclusive interviews and content from industry experts are posted regularly.


The current schedule for the 8th Entrepreneurial Challenge is as follows:

  • April 4, 2017: 8th Entrepreneurial Challenge Released
  • May 2017 (Details TBA): Webinar with Lockheed Martin Subject Matter Experts
  • July 14, 2017 (5 p.m. EST): Application Period Ends
  • August 2017: Final Round Contestants Notified
  • August – September 2017: Final Round Competition at Sikorsky Headquarters (Stratford, Connecticut)
  • October 2017: Winner Notified


For further information: Paul Jackson,, 203-386-7143


About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.


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