Slingshot Aerospace uses artificial intelligence technology to analyze data collected by satellites and aerial drones. Credit: Slingshot Aerospace

WASHINGTON — Slingshot Aerospace has won a $1.5 million U.S. Air Force contract matched by $1.5 million in private funds to expedite the deployment of artificial intelligence-driven data analytics to the Air Force Special Operations Command, the company announced March 26.

Slingshot Aerospace, based in Austin, Texas, and El Segundo, Calif., uses AI algorithms to analyze data collected by satellites and aerial drones for defense, disaster response and commercial applications.

The $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research award was matched by $1.5 million from ATX Venture Partners and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, both of which were already investors in the company.

The contract is to develop and deploy Slingshot’s Edge software with the Air Force Special Operations to analyze in real time imagery streamed from small drones.

Under a program called Rapid Innovation Fund, DoD awards SBIR contracts to companies that have technologies that can be rapidly inserted into acquisition programs to meet specific defense needs. Part of the selection criteria for Air Force SBIR contracts is to have investor matching, which signals commercial viability.

Chris Shonk, managing partner at ATX Venture Partners said this program is a “unique partnership in the venture capital community to be able to partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to help quickly drive a critical technology like Slingshot Edge to market.”

Steve Case, founding partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, said in a statement that the fund is “excited to be able to help propel Slingshot to market while benefiting Air Force Special Operations Forces in the process.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...