The FirePoint Innovations Center at Wichita State University is hosting its first-ever FirePoint C3 Challenge, inviting university students from around the U.S. to submit their best designs for the Army's future unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) intended for next-generation combat and defense.
To enter, teams must first register and submit an Intent to Compete by Oct. 18. The entire program runs through February 2021, when the final reports and demonstration of the completed UAV will be presented to the U.S. Department of Defense, along with other industry experts in aerospace, aviation and manufacturing.
The C3 Challenge brings together teams of the best and brightest student designers, engineers and innovators, along with the U.S. Army and industry partners, to converge, collaborate and create advanced technologies to fuel the Army Futures Command's product and workforce development initiatives.
With a total prize package of up to $35,000, the C3 Challenge asks students to submit a design proposal for a specific component within a UAV subsystem — either lift, energy or structure. Up to 10 teams will then be selected to develop a proof of concept and finally collaborate to design and fabricate an integrated working prototype for final presentation to the Army.
With the help of industry partners led by Dassault Systemes, C3 teams will get to collaborate remotely with one another using the company's world-class 3D design and modeling platform, simulating how real-world development and problem-solving happen in modern engineering.
In addition, teams will participate in on-site meetups and get behind-the-scenes access to see the design and production floors in action at some of the biggest, most well-known companies in American aviation, manufacturing and aerospace. They'll also learn first-hand about some of the challenging career opportunities available in these organizations, as well as in the Army aviation community.
"This is a unique and exciting opportunity for aspiring engineers and innovators to work with some of the most advanced tools and design and manufacturing techniques employed in industry and see firsthand how modern engineering problem-solving happens on a global scale," said Steve Cyrus, manager of Technology Collaborations with FirePoint. "The learnings and networking opportunities will be valuable as participating C3 students move forward into their career-building process."
The competition aims to develop the STEM workforce of tomorrow by giving students hands-on, real-world experience and networking opportunities in the aerospace industry, while also surfacing for the Army the most innovative designs currently residing in university labs around the country.
"Our mission with C3 is twofold. First, our primary directive is to develop the next generation of engineers and innovators to fuel the Army's talent pipeline, and there's no better way to do that than by exposing students to the technologies, techniques and career opportunities available," said Cyrus. "Second, by building partnerships between the U.S. Army and universities across the country, we hope to bring some of the best university technology to market where it can support both U.S. military and American manufacturing superiority."
The C3 Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Army's Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation and Missile Center (CCDC AvMC), with support from Dassault and the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University. Additional companies interested in becoming a C3 Challenge partner and tapping into and supporting the future of the aviation engineering workforce development may contact FirePoint directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.