McQ Logo
Tough Sensors for an Insensitive Planet
shadow corner spacer

AFWERX selects McQ for Fusion Challenge

McQ takes great pride in supporting our Federal Government

AFWERX Fusion is the combination of the defense, academic, startup and small business worlds to collaborate through challenges and live events.

Established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force and reporting to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, AFWERX is a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement across industry, academia and non-traditional contributors to create transformative opportunities and foster an Air Force culture of innovation. The ultimate aim is to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the Air Force.

AFWERX is an initiative of the Air Force to fast track solutions and enhance capabilities through deployed solutions. Fusion is one of many 'products' created by AFWERX to drive change by bringing people together to collide and collaborate.

Read John McQuiddy's submission below.

Temporary Security/Surveillance Without Using Infrastructure

Executive Summary:

New technologies for sensors, communications, networking, data management, and information distribution open the door to a dramatic improvement in temporary security systems. Advanced security capabilities detect targets anywhere on the globe; classify, locate, track, and image them to provide situation awareness with no costly infrastructure investment. The sensors link through new satcom services to "cloud" info management processing then provide live target data with video to users anywhere.

Specific Problem Statement:

Rapid global deployment of temporary security and surveillance capabilities with tailored information delivery can meet a wide variety of user information requirements.

Idea Description:

The new Iridium NEXT constellation is under DOD/DISA contract to provide secure connectivity anywhere in the world for information distribution to DOD users from ground based systems including new McQ small, battery powered global sensor systems McQ is developing as an Iridium/Next Partner company.

Customer Benefit:

Eliminating ground comms and user information systems infrastructure removes 50 to 75% of security/surveillance system costs while providing direct satcom connectivity and IP network distribution enables "Big Data" fusion and better target tracking and identification.

Security Objectives:

Avoid threats (they don't know we are there), Deter (even if enemy is aware of presence, no attack), Detect (we know all threats), Delay (slow access from threat), Deny (completely prevent or halt access by threat, without neutralizing), Defeat (neutralize threat).

Ease of Use:

System support and training for terrestrial infrastructure requires more manpower and cost than the security/surveillance sensors components of a system. Requirements to deploy security/surveillance capabilities rapidly are stymied by having to install or access support infrastructure and then maintain it. Advanced performance, low cost satcom linked sensor systems are now under development for McQ for tactical and strategic programs. Technology demonstrations are available to show the benefits.<

Prototype to Production:

McQ is currently working on a variety of prototype sensors to provide target detection, classification, location, tracking, and identification of friend or foe. These sensors for Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps can be airdropped from unmanned aircraft. They include seismic, magnetic, acoustic, micro radar, EO, and LWIR imagers with target processing. They include new info security technology with denied GPS position/location. Transition to production can be performed in nine months.


Eliminating all infrastructure requirements reduces the support efforts to upgrading or replacing sensors. The sensors do not have to be maintained. They can have extended life in most applications to at least 3 years and longer. Target cost for the McQ RANGER advanced sensor is $500 to enable reseeding versus maintaining. All sensors can be solar powered to eliminate battery replacement for long mission life. Imaging units cost more but fewer are required and they do not need maintaining.

Environmental Impact:

The sensors use small, lithium ion batteries which are sealed and will not result in exposure to the environment.