Predictive Asset Rerouting and Inventory Availability for Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Platforms

Navy SBIR 23.2 - Topic N232-100
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Pre-release 4/19/23   Opens to accept proposals 5/17/23   Closes 6/14/23 12:00pm ET

N232-100 TITLE: Predictive Asset Rerouting and Inventory Availability for Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Platforms

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Technology;Trusted AI and Autonomy

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 a software tool capability to incorporate automated rerouting of available taskable and fixed trajectory Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform asset inventory within a designated range of Areas of Interest (AOIs).

DESCRIPTION: The Navy relies on a mixture of space-based and tactical air/surface ISR platforms to maintain enhanced battlespace awareness in contested operating areas. Commercial and DoD space sensors (i.e., "fixed trajectory" platforms due to constraints of orbital mechanics) contribute a significant portion of the Navyís battlespace awareness information; however, there remain substantive gaps in sensor coverage. Commanders can address coverage gaps with manned and unmanned tactical platforms which are able to be tasked to specific operating regions (i.e., "taskable" sensors).

With the advent of diverse collection platforms, the Navy is interested in developing a tool and capability to fully leverage these platforms. Existing tools provide orbitology predictions using timely data such as Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP), Leap Seconds, and up-to-date Satellite Databases. A capability is needed to coordinate between taskable and fixed trajectory platforms that optimizes taskable ISR platform inventory management to reduce coverage gaps in collection of data and provide sufficient collection of tactical data in a timely manner to meet the Commanderís intent of responsiveness during dynamic over-the-horizon (OTH) requirements. Currently there is no commercial capability that exists that can accomplish this task.

Once a fixed trajectory platform achieves a downlink for an AOI, the revisit rate could take 5-10 days for the asset to return to the same location. Other options include waiting for the next available asset. Low earth orbit (LEO) satellites take between 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete one orbit and are only communicating with a ground station for 5-10 minutes at a time. This time-consuming delay in data transfer can delay critical decisions and resource allocation. In-theater needs data transmitted quickly and reliably. By rerouting near-by taskable and tactical ISR platforms, observation gaps for the AOI will be significantly reduced or optimized. Leveraging nearby taskable and fixed trajectory platforms would improve responsiveness and effectiveness for maritime applications by maximizing the custody over the AOI. Enabling asset rerouting capabilities as well as inventory management, tactical ISR platforms can support Naval missions more effectively. The warfighter will receive data faster allowing for course of actions to be developed sooner rather than waiting for the next planned in-orbit asset or the revisit rate of the engaged asset.

The entire Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (TCPED) process should be automated using Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to improve the response times to request rerouting opportunities. The automation needs to be an open Application Programming Interface (API) design capable of establishing a bi-directional machine to machine (M2M) interface with diverse Command and Control (C2) software systems. In addition, the tool needs to be capable of uploading tactical system mission plans (e.g., flight plans for a manned aircraft mission), capable of assessing collection coverage gaps and opportunities to increase persistence with available taskable sensor inventory, and capable of providing sensor tasking recommendations to C2 systems. This request process could be as simple as using a smartphone to request a ride sharing service.

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 and Security Agency (DCSA). 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 DCSA and NAVSEA 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 a concept for a software tool that automates rerouting of available ISR platform asset inventory within a designated range of AOIs. Demonstrate the concept meets parameters in the Description. Feasibility must be demonstrated through modeling and analysis and should include an example of how suggestive tasking or alerts of taskable assets can be modified when considered against fixed trajectory assets, with considerations for how best to depict it to the user. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype software tool from concept development in Phase I. Demonstrate that the prototype meets parameters of the Description. The prototype will be tested to demonstrate coordination between various tactical ISR platforms to de-conflict flight paths while rerouting the most feasible option in a designated range of the AOIs.

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 Navy in transitioning the technology for use in wartime environment. Develop software for MTC-A/X that integrates tactical ISR mission planning with fixed trajectory collection feasibility so the Navy and Marine Corps can evaluate the toolís effectiveness in optimizing availability of these platforms in operationally relevant scenarios. Support MTC-A/X for testing and validation to certify and qualify the capability for Navy use.

Ground based maps use rerouting opportunities via applications such as Google Maps or Waze. FAA uses Air Traffic Control Systems to reroute flights as needed to prevent collision. Leveraging these technologies to enable the ability to reroute taskable and ISR platforms will increase opportunities to view AOI in a timely fashion. Areas suffering from natural disasters would have more opportunities to observe changes to develop a course of action to prevent further disasters.

REFERENCES:

  1. Reporter, DA, "Using Unmanned Platforms for Tactical ISR," 12-January 2022, Defense Advancement, https://www.defenseadvancement.com/news/using-unmanned-platforms-for-tactical-isr/
  2. Lockheed Martin, "New Tactical ISR Satellites Provide Global, Persistent Support For Warfighters," 13-April 2021, LMNews, https://news.lockheedmartin.com/tactical-isr-satellites
  3. Cole, Sally, "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Enable Tactical ISR," 27-April 2015, Military Embedded Systems, https://militaryembedded.com/unmanned/isr/unmanned-enable-tactical-isr

KEYWORDS: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; taskable trajectory platforms; Inventory Management; Fixed Trajectory; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning.


** TOPIC NOTICE **

The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/#announcements for any updates.

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