Unconventional Navigation Approaches Using Signals of Opportunity

Navy SBIR 21.1 - Topic N211-098
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs - Mr. Michael Pyryt - michael.pyryt@ssp.navy.mil
Opens: January 14, 2021 - Closes: February 18, 2021 (12:00pm EDT)

N211-098 TITLE: Unconventional Navigation Approaches Using Signals of Opportunity

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Hypersonics

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics; Weapons

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 navigation approaches that take advantage of non-Global Positioning System (GPS) signal of opportunity, both natural and man-made, to determine earth relative location.

DESCRIPTION: Current navigation systems are heavily reliant on GPS signal technology for both commercial and military applications. While GPS has become a pervasive technology for military uses, it has security and availability challenges. In recent years, the ability to compromise GPS has been demonstrated by adversaries using jamming techniques that interfere with military mission execution. The research on this SBIR topic is intended to explore alternative technology solutions that would utilize natural or man-made signals of opportunity that may be available throughout the world to provide navigation precision comparable to GPS. Proposed approaches should be appropriate for the high-velocity and challenging environmental conditions associated with hypersonic flight or low earth orbit. The proposed approaches must be demonstrated in analysis or simulation to be able to provide precision equaling that of GPS in all weather conditions, at high altitude, at high velocity (hypersonic speeds), and must be broadly applicable throughout the world. Additional challenges include consistent reliability and size, weight, and power that would be compatible with current and future weapon systems, and communicate signals similar to GPS output codes (PY-code and M-code). Research and development is needed to demonstrate the feasibility of natural and man-made signals to satisfy these requirements. The research should be conducted with the goal of designing and demonstrating a prototype navigation system, and as such a system design for the use of these alternate signals should be considered.

The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If needed, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work. The Phase II effort is anticipated to require secure access, and SSP will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and SSP in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Propose specific innovative solutions for an alternative navigation approach, as opposed to simply proposing to study the problem. Specific natural or man-made signals should be identified along with the approach used for meeting the requirements stated in the Description. Demonstrate the feasibility of the approach to provide required accuracy, and the usefulness to military applications, including those associated with hypersonic weapons and space. Provide mathematical descriptions of the physical processes and signal processing being performed. In addition, modeling and simulation should be used to demonstrate feasibility for required applications. The required sensing maturity and signal processing requirements should be addressed in light of future size, weight, and power requirements.

The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II. Develop a Phase II plan that includes a Phase II Statement of Work (SOW) that identifies a work plan that provides proof of concept that the technology has the potential to meet the military performance goals highlighted in Phase I.

PHASE II: Design and build a prototype with enough detail for development and demonstration of a navigation system based on the non-conventional signals addressed in Phase I. Use a combination of hardware, software, and modeling and simulation to maximize demonstration of feasibility to meet military objectives within the cost constraints of the program. Experimental data collection of the navigation signal sources is desired where appropriate and cost-effective.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Government in transitioning the technology for Government use. The transitioned product is expected to be able to support current and future weapon and space systems, as well as a wide range of other air, land and sea-based systems. Commercial applications should be considered for transition (e.g., telecommunications, ocean transportation, commercial satellite and mapping systems). Depending on the technology, it may apply beyond navigation on earth. The primary objective of this project is for transition to defense contractors for high speed weapons and space systems. To meet these needs, maturation and packaging of the technology to meet practical size, weight, and power constraints will be required. Extreme environments may require special considerations to conform to airframe shape and shielding from the aerothermal environment.


  1. Raquet, John F.; Miller, Mikel M.; and Nguyen, Thao Q. "Issues and Approaches for Navigation Using Signals of Opportunity." Proceedings of the 2007 National Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation, San Diego, CA, January 2007, pp. 1073-1080. https://www.ion.org/publications/abstract.cfm?articleID=7203
  2. McEllroy, Jonathan A. "Navigation Using Signals of Opportunity in the AM Trans-Mission Band." Master's Thesis, Air Force Institute of Technology, 2006. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a456511.pdf
  3. Shamaei Kimia; Khalife, Joe: and Kassas, Zaher M. "Exploiting LTE Signals for Navigation: Theory to Implementation." IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, Vol. 17, Issue. 4, April 2018. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8255823

KEYWORDS: Alternate navigation; nonconventional signals; pulsar; Low Earth Orbits (LEO) satellites; Positioning, Navigation, Timing (PNT); Guidance


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at rt.cto.mil/rtl-small-business-resources/sbir-sttr/ for any updates.

The DoD issued its 21.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 8, 2020, which opens to receive proposals on January 14, 2021, and closes February 18, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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