Technologies for Marine Corps Radars and Telecommunications Industry S-Band Spectrum Sharing

Navy SBIR 23.1 - Topic N231-004
MCSC - Marine Corps Systems Command
Pre-release 1/11/23   Opens to accept proposals 2/08/23   Closes 3/08/23 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N231-004 TITLE: Technologies for Marine Corps Radars and Telecommunications Industry S-Band Spectrum Sharing

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): 5G; Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML)

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 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 automated real-time/near real-time spectrum management tools, radio-frequency sensing equipment, algorithms, and/or other technologies that aid Marine radar operators and spectrum planners in spectrum sharing management; and in de-confliction and optimizing radar coverage for United States Marine Corps (USMC) S-band radars operating within congested and contested EM environments.

DESCRIPTION: The S-Band portion of spectrum has unique properties that make it desirable for both military radars and telecommunications industry use, such as 5G. In the Continental United States, the telecommunications industry and Congress are increasingly exerting pressure on the Department of Defense (DoD) to either vacate or share significant portions of S-Band. America�s Mid-Band Initiative for Telecommunications auctioned 3450MHz to 3550MHz to the telecommunications industry. The Emerging Mid-Band Radar Spectrum Sharing initiative directs DoD to study the ability to vacate or share 3100MHz to 3450MHz. Having to share or vacate this spectrum could severely compress the operating space for USMC radars that operate in S-Band. Automated tools and planning aids can help de-conflict spectrum either through deliberate planning or through dynamic spectrum sharing.

Solution requirements include:

  • Must take into account geographic and electromagnetic (EM) environments and have the ability to identify conflicts between radar systems and other emitters in the environment.

  • An environmental sensing capability shall be automated but also support manual identification and placement of emitters in the environment.

  • Display the radar system and other known emitters on a heat map.

  • Identify possible conflicts and make recommendations to the user, such as utilizing frequency de-confliction in the planning phase and/or EM Interference (EMI) mitigation opportunities in the operational phase.

  • Work standalone as a planning tool or used in conjunction with a radar system to automate changes to the operating parameters of the radar system to support dynamic spectrum sharing and de-confliction efforts in real-time/near real-time.


    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), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and MCSC 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 advance phases of this contract.

    PHASE I: Develop concepts and determine feasibility for planning aids, sensing equipment, software algorithms, or other methods to assist radar operators and spectrum planners. International Telecommunications Union provides recommendations ITU P.528 A Propagation Prediction Method for Aeronautical Mobile and Radionavigation Services using the VHF, UHF and SHF bands and ITU P.452 Prediction Procedure for the Evaluation of Interference Between Stations on the Surface of the Earth at Frequencies Above About 0.1 GHz provide a baseline for developing the models. Demonstrate the feasibility of military radars and commercial telecommunications systems co-existing in the same spectrum space. Establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Material testing and/or analytical modeling, as appropriate will establish feasibility. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones that addresses technical risk reduction.

    PHASE II: Develop a full-scale prototype for evaluation. Evaluate the prototype through bench or lab testing to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for S-Band spectrum sensing and de-confliction. System performance shall be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods. Conduct system testing in a relevant environment. Evaluate and compare the results to the defined requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Marine Corps use.

    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: Clearly identify and describe the expected transition of the product/process/service within the Government. Possible dual use applications include, civilian air traffic control applications or weather radars.


    1.       International Telecommunication Union P.528 A Propagation Prediction Method for Aeronautical Mobile and Radionavigation Services using the VHF, UHF and SHF bands

    2.       ITU P.452 Prediction Procedure for the Evaluation of Interference Between Stations on the Surface of the Earth at Frequencies Above About 0.1 GHz provide a baseline for developing the models


    KEYWORDS: Spectrum Mapping; Spectrum Management; Spectrum Sharing; Radar; Radio Frequency; Electromagnetic Compatibility; 5G; S-Band Radar

    ** TOPIC NOTICE **

    The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

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    Topic Q & A

    2/21/23  Q. Our company has existing hardware and software that may be applicable to the program requirements. Will there be the opportunity, as part of Phase I, to either record the emissions from a USMC radar system or to obtain recorded waveforms? If not, would any weight be given to using a non-military radar signal (e.g., S-band Airport Surveillance Radar) as an demonstration of technological maturity?
       A. Opportunities for working directly with the radar system and/or waveforms would be limited to in phase one due to classification requirements. Use of non-radar specific waveforms to demonstrate technology would be acceptable to demonstrate maturity.
    2/21/23  Q. Over how large a geographic area does interference need to be managed? Does interference needs to be mitigated to a specific distance inland?
       A. No additional information is available at this time, and it is the government�s hope phase 1 study will address limitations and opportunities of proposed solutions
    2/21/23  Q. Can we assume that the interference has to be managed in a littoral environment, with military emitters close to shore and offshore, and non-military emitters principally on land?
       A. USMC is primarily concerned with land based systems for the purposes of this effort, but this would include close to shore emitters
    2/21/23  Q. Will the evaluation of the proposed technology for Phase I give any extra weight to solutions that may have application to other service branches besides the USMC, or may have potential dual use (civilian and military)?
       A. Commercialization is an aspect of the proposal evaluation and both military and non-military use should be considered.
    2/21/23  Q. For purposes of deconfliction, Are you concerned about users in frequency bands adjacent to those used by USMC radar systems? Do out-of-band emissions, either from military to civilian bands or vice versa, need to be taken into account by a proposed solution?
       A. Yes, we are interested in out-of-band emissions immediately adjacent as well as in-band RF.
    2/21/23  Q. In the frequency bands of interest, do you anticipate that the non-military users will be licensed users with exclusive spectrum access or may there be users with dynamic access through a Spectrum Access System (SAS), as used in frequencies allocated to Citizen's Band Radio Service (CBRS)?
       A. While the final rules for future spectrum auctions have not been established, we are interested in both use cases.
    2/21/23  Q. Are you only interested in deconflicting radars and commercial 5G communication systems, or are there other users both military and civilian, the RF emissions of which need to be taken into account?
       A. We are interested in deconflicting any RF emissions, with 5G communications being our primary concern.
    2/21/23  Q. Should frequency/parameter planning for the radar system be azimuth-dependent?
       A. Yes
    2/21/23  Q. When you state that the system should be able to "automate changes to the operating parameters of the radar", what parameters are available for automation? How often may they be updated?
       A. The G/ATOR system can be programmed with blanking sectors. Knowing the direction of potential 5G emitters and working on a non-interference basis, we are looking at opportunities to automatically adjust blanking sectors and/or frequencies in the directions of 5G network nodes
    2/21/23  Q. Do emitters need to have their absolute geographical position determined by the sensor, or is rough angular direction sufficient?
       A. Rough angular direction is perfectly acceptable, although more accuracy is always desired.
    2/21/23  Q. By "Display the radar system and other known emitters on a heat map", do you mean a time-frequency waterfall plot that shows spectrum usage over time, or do you mean a geographic map where the tool must determine the physical location of the the emitters?
       A. Geographical map is of most interest for mission planning purposes

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