DIRECT TO PHASE II - Development of Full Polarimetric Radar for Sea Surface Effects and Phenomenology

Navy SBIR 24.2 - Topic N242-D07
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Pre-release 4/17/24   Opened to accept proposals 5/15/24   Closes 6/12/24 12:00pm ET

N242-D07 TITLE: DIRECT TO PHASE II: Development of Full Polarimetric Radar for Sea Surface Effects and Phenomenology

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Microelectronics; Space Technology

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 design concepts for full polarimetric (Horizontal, HH; Vertical, VV; Cross-Poles, HV/VH) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Software Defined Radio (SDR) Radar to span P-Band thru Ku-Band Spectrum (200 MHz-18 GHz).

DESCRIPTION: A specific Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability deficiency, plus parts obsolescence is recognized for the existing P-8A X-Band Radar as documented within the POM-25 Naval Aviation Requirements Group (NARG) report that lists the need to replace this system. Other mission and safety impacts have also been cited for this radar by the fleet. An element of the capability deficiency is because the existing radar has a single polarization that is not optimal for a specific type of target detection. The fleet needs full polarimetric radar (HH, VV, HV, VH) that will be optimal for a greater variety of target types and features. The fleet requires the development of an AESA SDR Radar made from state-of-the-art components that will be available for parts replacement long into the 21st Century. Beyond X-Band, the fleet needs an improved understanding of fundamental sea surface effects and phenomenology for all Radar Bands for Ku (~16 GHz), X (~9 GHz), L (~1.1 GHz), and P-Bands (~400 MHz). The plan will begin with the design, development, test, and evaluation of Ku and X-Band Radars as these are smaller, lighter, and lower cost than longer wavelength systems; followed by L-Band, and P-Band systems. This Direct to Phase II SBIR topic will develop a long-range development plan that will serve as a roadmap for naval aircraft radar systems for the next few decades.

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 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVAIR 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 during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

PHASE I: For a Direct to Phase II topic, the Government expects that the small business would be able to demonstrate experience in the development, test, processing, and/or analysis of full polarimetric Radar. Offerors should respond with documentation that verifies they have experience with understanding the science of full polarimetric effects and phenomenology plus engineering analysis to understand form factor impacts as system designs move through the radar spectrum.

FEASIBILITY DOCUMENTATION: Offerors interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their response to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met (i.e., the small business must have performed Phase I-type research and development related to the topic NOT solely based on work performed under prior or ongoing federally funded SBIR/STTR work) and describe the potential commercialization applications. The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology as stated in Phase I above.

PHASE II: Phase II design elements shall include Size, Weight, and Power, Cost factors (SWaPC) for airborne systems integrated to aircraft radomes, or pods. The large frequency range is likely to require separate amplifiers and antennas for the frequency ranges: Ku (~16 GHz), X (~9 GHz), L (~1.1 GHz), and P (~400 MHz). The X-Band Radar shall have weather, Plot Position Indicators (PPI) search, and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) modes as this system may serve as a replacement for the existing P-8A Radar. Essential design elements shall include agile waveforms, and bi-static and interferometric collection and processing capabilities. A modular, plug-and-play hardware and software approach is favored. AESA technology will remove the need for waveguides and transmitters as 20th Century Radar technology components are getting very difficult to replace due to obsolescence issues. SDR technology will allow for agile waveforms from a range of center frequencies that will reduce ESM threat detection. Open-source hardware and SDR concepts will allow future vendors to modify or augment system capabilities without hardware changes. Provide practical concepts for flying a radar built to the concepts described above with a development and test plan to be utilized for the platforms. AESA SDR Radars may not exist for initial test flight operations. If this is the case, the developer shall perform test flights using full polarimetric radar systems as they exist at the time of initial test flight operations. Test flights shall include sea surface effects characterization, surface target object detection, Automated Target Detection (ATD), Moving Target Focus (MOTAR), and interferometric collection and processing for surface and undersea targets. Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in Description paragraph.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Deliver prototype radar systems to be integrated to naval surveillance air platforms with test and evaluation flights over relevant maritime environments. Full polarimetric radar has potential as an airborne, land use, and crop analysis sensor tool to support commercial industry to include agriculture, forestry, and urban planning.


  1. Skolnik, M. I. "A review of NIDAR." Naval Research Laboratory, 1975.
  2. Saakian, A. "Radio wave propagation fundamentals (2nd ed.)." Artech House, 2020.
  3. Stimson, G.; Griffiths, H.; Baker, C. and Adamy, D. "Stimson’s introduction to airborne radar (3rd ed.)." SciTech, 2014.
  4. "National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq." Code of Federal Regulations, 1993.

KEYWORDS: Synthetic; Aperture; Radar; Active Electronically Scanned Array; AESA; Software Defined Radio; SDR; surveillance


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 24.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 24.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 17, 2024 which opens to receive proposals on May 15, 2024, and closes June 12, 2024 (12:00pm ET).

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