The US Air Force’s (USAF) commercial investment group AFVentures has released its fiscal year (FY) 2020 annual report.

The report details efforts to build a defence industrial base.

It also carries details of AFVentures’ successes in maintaining the USAF’s innovative capabilities by ‘matching operator needs with private-sector solutions’.

AFVentures was established in 2018 and since then has used an ‘Open Topic’ approach to attract financing proposals.

Open Topics approach is used in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the AFRL and the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (AF SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence.

This approach is based on the AF SBIR/STTR processes.

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The report highlights that the Open Topic programme was used to attract SBIR/STTR proposals leading to 2,300 contract awards.

It also states that AFVentures’ portfolio companies have received $2.22bn in private sector investment after receiving Open Topic contract awards.

AFVentures director major Jason Rathje said: “In the pursuit of commercially derived technological development, we intend to grow the industrial base, increase the transition of commercial technology to the DoD, increase commercialisation derived from our investments and partner with private capital to enhance defence.

“We measure our success by how well we met our objectives. As a taxpayer-funded investment group, the public is our board. Our reports represent our results, the successes and failures, to you, the public, with the intent of achieving radical transparency.”

Since last March, AFVentures has played a key role in the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.