Command and Control of Multiple Unmanned Air Vehicles in Anti-Access Area-Denial or Highly Limited Communication Bandwidth Environment
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-020
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-020 TITLE: Command and Control of Multiple Unmanned Air Vehicles in Anti-Access Area-Denial or Highly Limited Communication Bandwidth Environment

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Information Systems, Electronics


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Design and develop software that provides the capability to autonomously and dynamically adapt to varying Anti-Access Area-Denial (A2AD) bandwidth-limited environments to ensure the transmission of critical information content for Command and Control (C2) decisions, as well as other mission critical data, in a multiple unmanned vehicle mission environment.

DESCRIPTION: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations require bandwidth that can vary for a variety of reasons, including different mission phases, different geographic locations and attenuation of signals (both intentional and unintentional).

To maximize the use of finite resources for C2 and make the systems more resilient, a software-defined tool that monitors behavior and dynamically allocates bandwidth utilization to optimize critical messages in a multiple UAV mission environment is needed. The software tool should be designed to interface with program of record systems, like Automated Digital Network System (ADNS), that can handle the actual routing of digitized C2 information.

It is prudent before proceeding to examine current technology regarding this bandwidth-limited operational capability. Many technical references are available that focus on the A2AD bandwidth limitation topic, but a software tool in support of C2 for multiple UAV missions within A2AD or bandwidth limited environment does not currently exist. Current technology often builds upon basic concepts like quality of service and solutions are desired that provide more robustness, flexibility and higher performance.

Development should be focused on enabling applications to utilize existing and evolving standards, like Naval Interoperability Profile Standards (NIOPS), for both multiple unmanned vehicle control and mission management. The desired software tool should be able to automatically react to changes in bandwidth by both prioritizing and optimizing the data being transmitted within the operational context of the supported unmanned vehicles. The software should also automatically transmit previously established prioritized information in varying levels of bandwidth restricted environments. Methods could involve reduced frequency of transmission, reducing the type and/or fields of data transmitted, or other techniques that would allow the tool to react to the variability of the limitations and thus maximize available bandwidth.

Additionally, the tool should allow the operator the option to override the autonomous dynamic functionality and manually control settings related to throughput or rate of transmission. All user interfaces should be simple and intuitive to reduce operator workload.

The software tool is expected to be integrated into the Common Control System (CCS) which is developed and managed by PMA-281, a NAVAIR Program Office responsible for strike planning and mission execution systems.

Note that due to the distribution restriction, the NIOPS standards document, titled "Vehicle Management Advanced Command and Control (VM-ADV-C2) Navy Interoperability Profile (NIOP)", will be provided to companies awarded a Phase I contract.

PHASE I: Complete initial design and development activities to prove feasibility of a software tool capable of identifying bandwidth limitation and automatically adapting bandwidth allocation in order to transmit critical information for C2, as well as other mission critical information in support of operating multiple unmanned vehicles.

PHASE II: Develop a software prototype based on Phase I effort using conceptual techniques and demonstrate in a simulated bandwidth-limited environment.

PHASE III: Finalize, operationally test and transition the software tool as a functionality/application within the Unmanned Vehicles CCS.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: This tool will be suitable for all commercial and government unmanned vehicle applications. Multiple government agencies, not limited to DoD, operate UAVs that can leverage this technology to enable more reliant and flexible communications. Commercial UAVs routinely operate in austere environments with limited bandwidth, or are subject to inadvertent degradation of signals, and will also find multiple applications of this specific technology.

1. Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap, FY2013-2038. Retrieved from

2. Howard, C. (2013). UAV Command, Control and Communication. Military and Aerospace Electronics, Volume 24(7). Retrieved from

3. Stansbury, R. S., Vyas, M. A., & Wilson, T. A. (2009). A Survey of UAS Technologies for Command, Control, and Communication (C3). Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems. Volume 54(1-3), 61-78

4. Code 31 Strategic Science and Technology Plan 2012. ONR C4ISR Department Publication. Retrieved from

5. Navy Information Dominance Roadmap. Retrieved from Last accessed 03/18/2014.

KEYWORDS: Command And Control; Unmanned Vehicles; Anti-Access; Communication; Area-Denial; Bandwidth Limitation

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