N22A-T025 TITLE: Enhanced Long-Range Maritime Vessel Classification
OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace Environments;Electronics;Sensors
OBJECTIVE: Develop techniques to exploit ship structural vibrations appearing as micro-Doppler signatures in remote Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imagery for the purposes of improved vessel classification.
DESCRIPTION: Significant advancements have been made in the automated classification of ships at long ranges using feature extraction from ISAR imagery. The most capable of these seek to classify a particular ship to the fine naval class level. While physical dimensions of major structural elements of the ship provide the primary classification clues, other micro-Doppler based signatures such as those associated with rotating antennas can provide important additional information to support separation among similar ship classes [Ref 1]. This STTR topic seeks to expand the scope of signatures further. Ship structural vibrations may be another important signature to improve overall classification performance. The sources of structural vibrations are generally understood; however whether they are reliably exploitable for classification clues is unanswered.
Multiple authors have shown that radar-sensed micro-Doppler can be used to remotely monitor the vibration of buildings and bridges [Refs 2, 3]. The vibrations generated by an automobile or truck engine has shown to be detectable by radar micro-Doppler signals returned from the surface of the vehicle [Ref 4]. In principle, ship hull and superstructure vibrations primarily driven by propulsion systems should be similarly detectable. Essential to such a technique is the ability to sense the small-scale vibrations of the vessels while they are in motion [Ref 5]. The exploitation of the vessel hull and superstructure vibrations remotely using legacy Navy airborne maritime surveillance radar systems is desired. In addition to single channel monostatic operation, consideration should be given to interferometric and multi-static techniques. If the vibrations are exploitable at long range by these radar systems, they may provide a hull class specific classification feature that in combination with other features will improve overall classification performance. The signatures may also provide information comparable to a fingerprint if it is found that the spectral characteristics are hull specific.
PHASE I: Utilizing open-source ship hull and superstructure vibration measurements such as those described in [Ref 6] or simulated data, analyze the feasibility of remote micro-Doppler sensing by x-band maritime surveillance radar systems. Single channel monostatic, multi-channel interferometric, and multi-static operation should be considered. An initial assessment of signal processing approaches should be completed. Develop a Phase II plan.
PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a ship vibration micro-Doppler exploitation mode using collected field data supplied by the Navy sponsor. Assess the performance as a function of range, dwell time, and illumination geometry. Develop mode design and tactical utilization recommendations for radar systems identified by the Navy sponsor.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete development, perform final testing, and integrate and transition the final solution to naval airborne radar systems either through the radar system OEM or through third party radar mode developers. The technology developed from this STTR topic is applicable to Coast Guard Missions.
KEYWORDS: Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar; ISAR; Synthetic Aperture Radar; SAR; ship classification; hull and superstructure vibration; radar
** TOPIC NOTICE **
The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.A STTR 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 22.A STTR BAA pre-release on December 1, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on January 12, 2022, and closes February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est).
Direct Contact with Topic Authors: During the pre-release period (December 1, 2021 thru January 11, 2022) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on January 12, 2022 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period.
SITIS Q&A System: After the pre-release period, proposers may submit written questions through SITIS (SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System) at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/, login and follow instructions. In SITIS, the questioner and respondent remain anonymous but all questions and answers are posted for general viewing.
Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/ to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.