Satellite Communications Antenna Pointing for Positioning (SCAPP)
Navy SBIR 2019.3 - Topic N193-149
NAVWAR - Mr. Shadi Azoum - [email protected]
Opens: September 24, 2019 - Closes: October 23, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Satellite Communications Antenna Pointing for Positioning (SCAPP)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information 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 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 prototype algorithms for accurately providing precise angular pointing vectors from a shipboard satellite communications antenna to geostationary (GEO) communications satellites, develop positioning algorithms for the navigation system host to process the pointing vectors into positional data, and develop an Interface Control Document (ICD) describing the messaging and formats to provide this pointing information to the GPS-based Positioning Navigation and Timing Service (GPNTS) as an input message.

DESCRIPTION: The GPNTS is the Navy's next generation surface platform Positioning Navigation, and Timing (PNT) system providing modernized, robust, secure, integrated, and interoperable network-centric PNT capabilities. GPNTS will replace the legacy Navigation Sensor Systems Interface (NAVSSI) systems. The Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) is the fourth generation Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) terminal that provided both protected and wideband communications to the Fleet while enabling a fourfold increase in data rate capacity over legacy terminals. NMT will also provide MILSATCOM capability to Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Teleports, Ballistic Missile Defense, the Coast Guard, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands. The NoGAPSS Future Naval Capability (FNC) will provide for integration of navigation sensors independent on GPS with new sensor fusion algorithms to process disparate sensor inputs.
This SBIR topic will address the utilization of directional data of NMT satellite antenna pointing information to derive usable positioning data as a sensor input to the GPNTS NoGAPSS functionality. This will require the development of an algorithm to process elevation and azimuth data and present an output compatible with the NoGAPSS federated navigation filter running in GPNTS. This effort includes investigating the NMT satellite communications antenna pointing scheme to yield faster tracking of GEO communications satellites (e.g., using a monopulse method in lieu of using a conical scan). This new capability will provide an independent and robust navigation input for the NoGAPSS federated filter that will reside in the GPNTS.

There is an expectation that this effort will require the development and implementation of mathematical models and formulations that will process the antenna pointing accuracy (in fractional degrees) as well as the number of satellites being pointed at, and output a description of the probable location of the ship (for example, an error ellipse for 90% probability center coordinates x and y, and major axis a with minor axis b and orientation c). The Phase II effort will include determining the antenna pointing accuracy that can be achieved at a specific technology readiness level utilizing a monopulse satellite tracking technique.

PHASE I: Formulate and determine a concept for accurate positioning using azimuth and elevation pointing vectors from two shipboard satellite communications antennas. Determine pointing accuracy and precision necessary for effective positioning (within 25% of military GPS accuracy) and study alternative pointing methods to include using the monopulse method instead of a conical scan. In addition, develop an algorithm that is capable of ingesting angles-only inputs from the SATCOM terminal and producing accurate positioning outputs (within 25% of military GPS accuracy). Positioning outputs are to be compatible with a federated filter that will be used to provide resets to the ship�s inertial navigator. Interface to GPNTS will be TIA/EIA RS-422 with �OD-19� message format. Interface to NMT will be IEEE 802.3 Ethernet. The OD-19 ICD and NMT Ethernet message format will be provided to the awardee post contract award.

Develop accurate pointing algorithms that will result in precise positioning, including consideration for ships motion and movement. Consider antenna mechanical design changes that might be necessary to accommodate precise pointing. Include performance for position accuracy of less than 1 nautical mile during periods of GPS unavailability and that is not subject to drift over time. Consider stability in shipboard environments (i.e., MIL-STD-461G, MIL-STD-810G) and vibration characteristics (MIL-STD-901D).

Formulate an innovative approach to perform positioning using only the inputs from antenna pointing vectors. Describe the most promising technical solution based on technical trade-offs performed earlier in this phase. Describe the selected pointing methodology (e.g, monopulse or other accurate and novel technique), and describe the selected navigation solution processing to produce accurate platform positioning information. Address aircraft carrier environment, motion, and vibration conditions.

Develop SBIR Phase II Project Plan to include detailed schedule, spend plan, performance objectives, and transition plan for the identified PORs.

PHASE II: Develop performance and interface specifications for SCAPP. Perform initial integration activities and identify/develop the necessary engineering changes for both the NMT and GPNTS to perform improved antenna pointing accuracy and positioning algorithms from the Phase I approach. Note: The Program Office will coordinate collaboration with the GPNTS and NMT Programs of Record (POR). It is foreseen that the positioning algorithm uses angles only. After performing initial integration activities and using the Phase I approach, develop a prototype system for demonstration and validation of the SCAPP technology. Develop strategies targeted toward systems requirements for operation in an aircraft carrier environment with specific attention paid to maintaining accurate antenna pointing to support positioning under shock and vibration conditions. Develop lifecycle support strategies and concepts for SCAPP. Develop SBIR Phase III Project Plan to include detailed schedule in Gantt format and spend plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine, fully develop, and integrate the Phase II prototype SCAPP algorithms and any antenna hardware changes into SATCOM antennas, and positioning algorithms into GPNTS. Perform Formal Qualification Tests (FQT) on the integrated NMT and GPNTS systems with final SCAPP algorithms. FQT testing will be conducted against the performance and interface specifications developed during Phase II. Support fielding of the SCAPP algorithms by implementing lifecycle support strategies and concepts with NMT and GPNTS.

Study potential commercial applications for SCAPP including implementing new pointing algorithms in antennas systems that are part of systems such as the Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP).


1. Lane, Steven O. (inventor). Satellite Antenna Pointing Systems: US Patent # 6,393,255 B1; 21 May 2002.

2. Boor, Samuel, Harvey, Melvin, Polchat, Guy et al. Single Channel Monopulse Techniques. Rome Air Development Center Technical Report # RADC-TR-67-143; 30 August 1967.

3. IEEE 802.3, Ethernet.

4. PMW/A 170 Communications and GPS Navigation Program Office.

5. Schuler Tuning.

6. TIA/EIA STANDARD, Electrical Characteristics of Balanced Voltage Digital Interface Circuits, TIA/EIA-422-B, May 1994




These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.3 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.3 BAA SBIR pre-release on August 23, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on September 24, 2019, and closes October 23, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

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