Submarine Meteorological Sensor
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-038
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-038 TITLE: Submarine Meteorological Sensor

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS435, Submarine Electromagnetic Systems

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: Develop an innovative approach to collect meteorological data for deep-diving submergible vessels in real time.

DESCRIPTION: The Navy is developing tools requiring access to meteorological data, such as humidity, wind, and temperature, for use aboard submergible vessels (1,4). Currently, a naval vessel can receive weather reports which may contain inaccurate or untimely data (2,3). Weather has a significant impact on undersea vehicle mission execution. Outside of its impact on navigation, weather is an umbrella term for a set of parameters that defines the atmospheric medium in which electromagnetic signals pass, be it radar signals, satellite signals, communication signals, and imaging signals, all of which are functions that are required within the mission space of an undersea vehicle. Undersea vehicles, either unmanned or submarines, currently have extremely limited ability to collect meteorological parameters. The capability proposed would be part of a command tool that would improve targeting, command and control of mission payloads, and situational awareness.

The Navy desires an innovative approach to obtain the following weather information in real time � humidity, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, and sea/air temperature. Any sensors used would have to be survivable on a deep-diving vessel (and the inside of the submarine sail is free flooding), although data could be collected on the surface. Current state of the art sensors are not able to survive deep submergence. The solution could be a new survivable sensor, but making use of existing radar, antenna, or imaging systems has appeal as an approach as these systems do not require new components. In addition, disposable buoys, which make use of the existing ability to launch expendable three inch diameter buoys, would be an acceptable solution if cost effective. (less than $3,000 per unit in mass quantity).

The challenge for submarine-mounted meteorological sensors is to find a way for the sensors to survive the rigorous environment of submarines if left to the elements, and then be able to operate when exposed above the water's surface. The physics of meteorological sensors is predicated on the sensors being dry. Therefore, a way to keep the sensors dry or to have them quickly dry is paramount. Furthermore, the desired sets of meteorological parameters are not just localized to the near field (within a few feet), but also far field (i.e. out several miles). It would also be advantageous to vertically sample the atmosphere to locate and identify changes in atmospheric turbulence and properties over the viewable distance, which can impact electronic warfare operations and radar signals. The solution should be able to measure humidity, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, and sea/air temperature in real time with an accuracy similar to state of the art land based sensors, can make use of existing sensor and launch systems if appropriate, and must cost under $3000 in mass quantity of a disposable sensor.

The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work. The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, and NAVSEA will support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access.

PHASE I: The Company will develop a concept for meteorological data collection aboard submergible vessels that meets the requirements described in the description section. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and will establish that the concept can be feasibly developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by testing and/or analytical modeling.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II contract statement of work, the company will develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meteorological data collection with similar accuracy for the parameters listed in the description. Performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods. The exact method of testing will vary depending on the design provided, but would include integration with land based submarine system test facilities if the design utilized these systems, testing with a land based three inch launcher (if appropriate) or localized in-water testing. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: The Company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the Submarine Meteorological Sensor technology for Navy use. The company will develop the sensor in accordance with the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Approaches to atmospheric data collection will be applicable to all seaborne vessels and remote or unmanned vessels operating in ocean environments.

1. Estival, Remi, Valérie Quiniou, and Christophe Messager. "Real-Time Network of Weather and Ocean Stations." Sea Technology March (2013).

2. Trees, Charles. "Application of Gliders for Near-Real Time METOC Data Collection Capability for Battlespace Characterization." Office of Naval Research.

3. Stanton, Tim. "NPS Autonomous Ocean Flux Buoy Program." Naval Postgraduate School. 2007.

4. Hosom, D. S., R. A. Weller, R. E. Payne and K. E. Prada. "The IMET (improved meteorology) ship and buoy systems." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 12:527-540. (1995).

KEYWORDS: METOC; Meteorological Sensor; Atmospheric Sensor; Radiometric Data Collection; Remote Sensing; Expendable Buoy

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