Minimized Space, Weight and Power Network Architecture Solution
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-015
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-015 TITLE: Minimized Space, Weight and Power Network Architecture Solution

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Information Systems


OBJECTIVE: Develop a single card/box network solution with minimal Space, Weight, and Power (SWaP) requirements that is compatible with existing aircraft data links architecture and provides data routing, switching, optimization, security, and monitoring.

DESCRIPTION: Advanced airborne sensor systems provide highly detailed and accurate data for detection, identification and targeting. This data can be very valuable to distributed platforms that are connected together in Internet Protocol (IP) and other networks. Radar, signals intercepts, imagery, and other electromagnetic data can be highly valuable when shared between multiple platforms simultaneously. Data fusion and data correlation systems can build highly accurate tactical situational awareness when aggregating data from multiple sensors, but data must be aggregated in real-time or near-real-time over airborne networks to enable these systems and contribute to the Integrated Warfighting Capability (IWC) of the Navy.

Using multiple network paths increases the availability of real-time communications and can increase the potential throughput or quantity of data that can be shared. Aircraft currently use both satellite and line-of-sight (LOS) links to move data between aircraft and shore and surface platforms. IP networking over multiple paths is a widely used tool for interconnecting platforms. Recent advances in networking technology have enabled IP networks to work more effectively with load balancing over multiple links, dynamic failover, data prioritization, acceleration and optimization. Networking technology has also reduced space, weight, and power requirements with the ability to host multiple functions in a single device. Security controls have seen significant advances in the commercial environment with improved firewall, encryption, and data segregation capabilities. Network protocols have realized advances that can minimize overhead and increase useful throughput. Radio-aware protocols are able to shape traffic more effectively to improve the ability of the network to react to dynamic connections in variable environments. Employment of these advanced networking techniques will contribute to a more secure and flexible networking solution.

Develop an advanced networking capability that improves the ability of aircraft to share sensor data over networks with higher throughput, lower latency and increased reliability. The resulting solution should be ruggedized to meet military avionics requirements including: MIL-STD-704F (power), MIL-STD-461F (electromagnetic compatibility), and MIL-STD-810G w/ CHANGE 1 (environmental: temperature, vibration, shock, aircraft carrier catapult launch and arrested landing). The SWaP footprint should be minimized and designed to fit within existing aircraft. Rack mounted hardware, single board computers, and Air Transportable Rack (ATR) chassis components may be considered for the hardware design. Specific hardware configuration will focus on E-2D. Software-based networking solutions may also be considered for this SBIR. Advanced development of software or hardware solutions should include multiple functional areas including routing, switching, optimization, security and monitoring.

Combination of these functions into a networking solution that can transition to multiple aircraft installations would be highly desirable to the Navy and enable multiple aircraft or other mobile platforms to share information in a distributed environment.

PHASE I: Investigate, analyze and design a robust multi-link networking solution for aircraft utilizing discrete components for routing, switching, optimization, security and monitoring. Conduct a feasibility analysis of various physical footprints and explore the minimal SWaP footprint required to maintain network connectivity with other Navy platforms. Identify Concepts for Operations (CONOPS) that will be impacted by utilization of the system. Conduct a business case analysis of transitioning multiple platforms to the system.

PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate and validate a small form-factor prototype that embeds the key networking functions in a single device. Test the prototype in a laboratory simulated operational environment and identify metrics to validate the system´┐Żs advantages over legacy network components.

PHASE III: Transition final design into an E-2D aircraft. Support the Navy with certifying and qualifying the Minimized SWaP Network Architecture Solution system and develop plans to transition to additional Navy and commercial aircraft.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Small form factor networking solutions are becoming increasingly important for industries such as software, data-centers, and/or vehicles. This innovation should deliver a low SWaP solution that is applicable to both military and commercial aircraft, land and surface vehicles, and if constructed to minimize power consumption could minimize the support tail and carbon footprint of large networks and data centers.

1. Shahriar, A.Z.M., Atiquzzaman, M., & Ivancic, W. (2010) Route Optimization in Network Mobility: Solutions, Classification, Comparison, and Future Research Directions. IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, 12(1), 24-38. doi:10.1109/SURV.2010.020110.00087

2. Hart, D. (1997) Satellite Communications. Retrieved July 27, 2104, from

3. Shakkottai, S. & Srikant, R. (2007) Network Optimization and Control. Foundations and Trends in Networking, 2(3), 271-379. doi:10.1561/1300000007

4. MIL-STD-704F, "Aircraft Electric Power Characteristics," 12 March 2004.

5. MIL-STD-461F, "Requirements for the Control of Electromagnetic Interference Characteristics of Subsystems and Equipment," 10 December 2007.

6. MIL-STD-810G (w/ CHANGE 1), "Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests," 15 April 2014.

KEYWORDS: Optimization; Aircraft; Networking; SWaP; routing; LOS

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