Collision Avoidance System for Operations in Dense Airspace Environment
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-088
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick - email@example.com
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA268 Navy Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration
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 3.5 of the Announcement. 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 Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) strategic and tactical collision avoidance capability to be integrated into the full UCA system (Aircraft, Datalinks and Control Station) that is suitable for operations in both densely populated air-traffic airspace around an aircraft carrier (CVN) and during aerial refueling operations.
DESCRIPTION: Current avoidance strategy and tactics for unmanned air vehicles depend upon several cascading non-technical mitigation approaches such as: airspace segregation (separation of manned and unmanned aircraft); additional external resources, such as airborne/ground-based radar/visual surveillance platforms and personnel that provide separation services; separation rulesets and procedures that depend on time-late or inaccurate data provided to the Air Vehicle Operator (AVO) piloting the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with inadequate time to react; and separation schemes assuming the big-sky-little-airplane theory, and the assumption of primarily one-v-one (i.e., single AVO piloted UAS vs. single "intruder" aircraft) conflict scenarios with conservative assumptions on maneuvering capability.
Full integration of Group 5 UASs [Ref 11, Chapter 14] into mixed manned-unmanned airspace will require innovative approaches to the strategy and tactics of conflict avoidance. UCA tanker challenges include:
- Flight in dense traffic (Carrier Control Area/Zone);
- Transit to and from recovery and mission tanking areas in unplanned airspace;
- Operations in different classes of airspace that often overlap the CCA airspace (i.e., ICAO flight information region (FIR) airspace, etc.) mixing in cooperative and uncooperative aircraft separation responsibilities; and
- The “tanker hawk” operation in which a tanker must descend and navigate through dense airspace, close in to the CVN to get in formation with an aircraft dangerously low on fuel.
The ability to operate unmanned aircraft in mixed airspace with the same flexibility, efficiency, and safety level as manned aircraft would significantly improve mission effectiveness. To accomplish UCA integration will require innovative solutions to deal with reduced separation, unplanned flight route trajectories, single-versus-multiple aircraft conflict scenarios, and the ability for an unmanned aircraft to pick its way through densely trafficked airspace to achieve a specific objective on a specific timeline, for example, the aforementioned "tanker hawk" operation.
Desired is a collision avoidance solution that has strategic capabilities to plan ahead to preclude conflicts, and that works seamlessly with a tactical capability to resolve an actual imminent conflict that could not be precluded through the strategic capability. The desired strategic and tactical collision avoidance capability should provide safe separation (defined by SBIR-developed safe separation volume derived from own ship-to-intruder bearing, altitude and closure rates, including time to maneuver) from other aircraft, without latency, while providing flexibility in flying unplanned routes, airspace, speeds and altitudes, the way the manned operational community must flex in response to unexpected developments, the type of which are generally known, but the exact combinations of which cannot be known ahead of time. Solutions should work with existing and emerging sensors (e.g., RADAR, EO/IR, TCAS/ACASXu). Cyber security and information assurance [Ref 12] are considerations in algorithm design. A challenge is to minimize the impact to size, weight, power, cost, and potential integration impacts to the aircraft platform (defined as F/A-18 similar sized aircraft/avionics equipment SWaP characteristics), while achieving safe and autonomous operation. Solutions that simply require all aircraft to follow pre-planned trajectories (however optimized) are not of interest.
The resulting capability should be demonstrated in both cooperative and non-cooperative environments within the National Air Space (NAS), oceanic environments, and Carrier Controlled Airspace (CCA) with a representative number of aircraft present and in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) directives, and Aircraft Carrier Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures (CV NATOPS) procedures.
PHASE I: Develop a concept for an integrated strategic and tactical conflict avoidance capability for Group 5 UASs operating in dense airspace around an aircraft carrier and in unplanned airspace during air refueling operations.
Assess feasibility of algorithmic approaches to achieve safe autonomous operation while integrating with existing or anticipated mission computing and existing or anticipated sensors. Include cybersecurity and information assurance considerations. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.
PHASE II: Prototype critical algorithmic elements and demonstrate in a representative environment (i.e., operations in both densely populated air-traffic airspace around an aircraft carrier and during aerial refueling operations).
Demonstrate an avoidance capability that performs self-separation and collision avoidance to operate with a Target Level of Safety (TLS) in both cooperative and non-cooperative environments within the National Air Space (NAS), oceanic environments, and Carrier Controlled Airspace (CCA) with a representative number of aircraft present, in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) directives, and CV NATOPS procedures. Quantify the benefits of the innovative strategic and tactical conflict avoidance methods compared to existing methods. Develop an approach to air vehicle, controls and displays integration, and identify any remaining technology challenges. Include cybersecurity and information assurance considerations.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Perform an assessment based on the following to include, but not limited to: details of the proposed collision avoidance system including latency, data rate, bandwidth, and accuracy
requirements with respect to UAS communication system at anticipated levels of autonomy (focused on determination of feasibility of Sense and Avoid (SAA) data sent over narrowband line-of-sight and beyond line-of- sight communication links); demonstration of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) and level of automation in a representative control station including track resources based on operator inputs; and definition of operating requirements (i.e., Recommended Maneuver Algorithms (RMA), decision aids, and AVO interactions required, etc.), with proposed data to support military certification and airworthiness for integration in NAS, CCA and ICAO environments, identifying areas of concern. Include cybersecurity and information assurance considerations. This technology would provide SAA capability for use in National Airspace, or ICAO airspace environment on commercial UAS platforms such as DJI and Amazon, in densely trafficked airspace.
1. Aeronautical Information Manual Change 1. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 2016. https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/media/AIM_Chg1_dtd_3-29-18.pdf
2. Air Traffic Organization Policy: Order JO 7200.23 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration, 2016. https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA_JO_7200_23_2.pdf
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4. Flight Standards Information Management System, 8900.1 Volume 16, Chapter 4, Section 5 Unmanned Aircraft Systems General Operational Requirements. Federal Aviation Administration, 2016. http://fsims.faa.gov/wdocs/8900.1/v16%20unmanned%20aircraft%20systems/chapter%2004/16_004_005.htm
5. ICAO Cir 328-AN/190, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (USA). International Civil Aviation Organization: Montreal, 2011. https://www.icao.int/Meetings/UAS/Documents/Circular%20328_en.pdf
6. Joint Publication 3-52: Joint Airspace Control. Joint Chief of Staff, 2014. http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp3_52.pdf
7. Memorandum of Agreement Concerning the Operation of Department of Defense Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System. Department of Defense, 2013. http://www.usaasa.tradoc.army.mil/docs/br_Airspace/DoDFAA_MOA_OpsinNAS_16Sep2013.pdf
8. MIL-STD-882E Department of Defense Standard Practice: System Safety. Department of Defense, 2012. https://www.system-safety.org/Documents/MIL-STD-882E.pdf
9. NAVAIR Instruction 13034.1D: Flight Clearance Policy for Air Vehicles and Aircraft Systems. Patuxent River: Department of the Navy, 2010. http://www.acqnotes.com/Attachments/NAVAIRINST%2013034.1D%20Flight%20Clearance%20Policy%20for%2 0AV,%2015%20Mar%2010.pdf
10. Number 4540.01: Use of International Airspace by U.S. Military Aircraft and for Missile and Projectile Firings. Department of Defense, 2015. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/i4540_01.pdf
11. NATOPS General Flight and Operating Instructions Manual, Number CNAF M-3710.7. Department of the Navy, Commander, Naval Air Forces, 2016. https://www.public.navy.mil/airfor/vaw120/Documents/CNAF%20M- 3710.7_WEB.PDF
12. DoDI 8500.01E Department of Defense Instruction: Cybersecurity. March 14, 2014. www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/850001_2014.pdf
KEYWORDS: Sense and Avoid; Unmanned Aircraft System; UAS; Unmanned Carrier Aviation; UCA; Collision Avoidance; Carrier Controlled Airspace; National Airspace; International Civil Aviation Organization; ICAO