Vertical Take Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) Passive Acoustic Sensing and Magnetic Anomaly Detection for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-058
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-058 TITLE: Vertical Take Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) Passive Acoustic Sensing and Magnetic Anomaly Detection for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics, Battlespace

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 420, Mission Package Integration, Antisubmarine Warfare Mission Package

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 effective, flexible, and affordable submarine detection system consisting of acoustic sensing and a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) capability for a Vertical Take Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) to be used by any ship capable of launching and recovering a VTUAV (e.g., Fire Scout or equivalent capabilities).

DESCRIPTION: The current approach to air platform submarine detection is deployment of dipping sonars from MH-60 helicopters, full size sonobuoys (ref 2, 3) deployed from MH-60 helicopters and land-based P-3 aircraft, and Magnetic Anomaly Detectors (MAD) (ref 1) on fixed wing aircraft and helicopters (ref 1). While effective, these approaches are labor intensive, consume large amounts of fuel, and are costly. In addition, platforms such as the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) that carry only one ASW-equipped helicopter have a less than optimal ASW capability. The Navy has identified a need for an Ultra-lightweight Airborne Deployment/Retrieval Sensor acoustic sensor capability in a "podded" system. This system can then be installed and removed rapidly on an MQ-8C Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) to provide an adjunct ASW capability for the MH-60R. The proposed system will provide a low cost, lightweight, unmanned capability to complement current helicopter ASW operations.

This topic seeks a compact, affordable, energy efficient, acoustic sensing capability for a Fire Scout, or similar VTUAV. In addition, the VTUAV will use a Magnetic Anomaly Detector to complement the acoustic search for submarines. The desired system will increase the affordability of anti-submarine searches by lowering overall cost that currently requires a helicopter such as the MH-60. In addition, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) does not require an on-board crew. The proposed system should be usable by any ship capable of launching and recovering a VTUAV. The system would employ the VTUAV to perform acoustic sensing ahead of the host ship. The sensing could be "stand alone" or as part of a bi-static system, with the active source on the host ship or on a different platform. The system could employ a tethered approach for sensor deployment and retrieval or a traditional air launch deployment or combination. Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) have particular platforms of interest, though the VTUAV capability would not be restricted to a LCS.

The technologies for ASW acoustic sensing and magnetic anomaly detection are mature. Offerors are encouraged to consider using or adapting existing sensing and deployment technologies as much as possible. The innovation described in this topic requires several considerations. One is the design, development, and integration into the VTUAV of a compact, reliable, affordable system. A second includes launch and/or retrieval of acoustic capability. A third is designing to the Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) limitations of a VTAUV (SWaP requirements will be provided in a SITIS document). A fourth is minimizing the effects of noise from the VTAUV. A fifth is the fusion of acoustic and magnetic field data. In addition, the fused data must interface with the VTAUV�s data communication and vehicle control system on the host ship.

PHASE I: The Company will define and develop a concept for VTUAV mobile acoustic sensor(s) and MAD capability that meet the objectives as stated in the topic description. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and will establish that the concept can be developed into a useful system for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by analytical modeling.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, the small business will develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting performance goals and Navy requirements. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: Based on the results of Phase II, demonstration in a realistic environment is planned. The company will support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop the submarine detection system according to 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: This technology will be useful in commercial underwater applications, to include the fields of oceanography and undersea search and recovery.

1. Kopp, Carlo. "Evolving ASW Sensor Technology," Defense Today, December 2010, pp 26-29. Downloaded on 27 April 2014.

2. Belfie, Luke, "Multiple Source Capable Miniature Directional Acoustic Receiver," 2009. Retrieved from:

3. Hewish, Mark, "Mini ballistic sonobuoys are developed for small-scale platforms," Jane's Information Group, International Defense Review, 2000.

KEYWORDS: Anti-submarine warfare; dipping sonar; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; passive acoustics; magnetic anomaly detection of submarines; magnetometer for submarine detection

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Between December 12, 2014 and January 14, 2015 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is
not allowed starting January 15, 2015 , when DoD begins accepting proposals for this solicitation.
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