— SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, the U.S. Navy lab on Point Loma, has put out a call for something new. Its uniformed and civilian staff hope to delve further into new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.

It’s hoping to interest not just the big defense houses who normally bid on contracts, but a wider array of tech companies, big and small. Using a recently developed, streamlined approach to defense contracting, the Navy hopes to “widen the aperture on who can play,” a spokesman said.

SPAWAR Systems Center has kicked off a prototyping and experimentation campaign focused on its specialty: information warfare. The military calls it “Fight the Naval Force Forward” and everything is on an expedited timeline — 12 to 18 months.

Proposals for the campaign are due Oct. 12, and more information is available by contacting SPAWAR by email at fightforward_iw@navy.mil.

SPAWAR (a portmanteau of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command) is all about information warfare. SPAWAR concentrates on gathering, validating and sharing information.

SPAWAR Systems Center would not say exactly what it wants its new technology to do.

More clues to what the Navy and Marines want might be gleaned from military exercises demonstrating the proposed technologies. Those are scheduled for March and April.

The new defense contracting approach, called a commercial solutions opening, “is way cool and it’s wicked fast,” said Carly Jackson, senior scientific technical manager with SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. The point, Jackson said, is to get the people in uniform and the engineers collaborating more directly on projects.

Lack of a security clearance won’t keep a business out of the competition, according to a SPAWAR representative, who said the Navy can pair a business up with a company that has a clearance.