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DoD 2013.B STTR Solicitation

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Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Program/Year: STTR / 2013
Solicitation Number: 2013.B
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Open Date: August 26, 2013
Close Date: September 25, 2013
MDA13-T001: Decision Making under Uncertainty
Description: OBJECTIVE: Analyze the impact of sensor measurement uncertainties on centralized data fusion and design optimal strategies to mitigate the associated target classification. DESCRIPTION: This topic solicits innovative approaches to characterize target sensor measurement uncertainties and to design effective sensor architectures to aid uncertainty mitigation (e.g. whether sending measurements or tracks between platforms enables uncertainty mitigation more effectively). Proposals are sought to research origins of uncertainty from sensor measurement to processing at a centralized command and control, C2, node for target classification. Novel techniques should be developed to effectively quantify and manage that uncertainty with respect to classification. Investigation should be conducted into measurement uncertainty associated with decision level fusion as compared with measurement level fusion at C2 for two reporting sensors. Currently the industry state of the art is to convolve the uncertainty distribution with the probability distribution or to express the probability distribution conditioned on the measurement uncertainty. One approach has been to propagate the uncertainty through the fusion chain. However, these types of analyses have not been adequately considered as a link in the data fusion chain and how the incorporation, and where in the processing chain, the uncertainty is incorporated effects the classification decision, and the cumulative uncertainty with respect to the final decision. Each individual sensor that detects, tracks, and takes measurements on the target could pass measurements, features or classification decisions to C2BMC. This functional architecture affects the quality and uncertainty of the fused classification result. The initial effort should focus on two sensors, one infrared (IR) and one radar (RF), observing a target and the classification function and its uncertainties. The approach should investigate measurement or feature level fusion (measurements or features received from the various sensors), and compare that with decision level fusion (decisions sent to C2 by the sensors). Follow-on efforts can incorporate the uncertainty associated with tracking errors and track correlation uncertainties. The goal of this effort is to research how target uncertainties propagate through various fusion methodologies. PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate a method to capture target characterization uncertainties from data received from two sensors observing a target simultaneously and fusing the information to make a classification decision. Compare the uncertainties with decision level fusion. Evaluate the classification output from the C2 node. PHASE II: Refine and update concept(s) based on Phase I results, and incorporate the added uncertainty from tracking and track correlation in the presence of multiple targets and non-simultaneous observation. Demonstrate how the target classification decision by C2BMC can be characterized with respect to the accumulating uncertainties in the system and demonstrate methods to reduce that uncertainty. A government testbed will be made available at no cost to the proposing firm to coordinate high fidelity testing. PHASE III: Demonstrate the new technologies via operation as part of a complete system or operation in a system-level test bed to allow for testing and evaluation in realistic scenarios. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies, analyses and design components developed in Phase II for potential commercial and military uses in many areas such as automated processing, robotics, medical industry, and in manufacturing processes. This could be valuable in mission critical decision making systems like automated diagnostic systems, or alarm systems where false alarms can be costly. In automated processing and manufacturing, it could apply to quality control.
MDA13-T002: Micro-Particle Debris Characterization from Hyper-Velocity Impacts
Description: OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative, laboratory-based methods to measure and characterize (i.e. size, number, temperature etc.) the small particles less than 1 cm generated in hyper-velocity impacts. Those methods should provide benchmark data for physics-based impact debris prediction codes aimed at modeling electro-optical / infra-red (EO/IR) impact flash signatures. The methods may include sensor development, instrumentation and data collection, data analysis and characterization, and/or test and experimental design. A proposal should identify a specific technical challenge or challenges, and propose a solution. DESCRIPTION: Characterizing the EO/IR scene has presented a challenge due to its dynamic intensity range, environmental dependencies and wide range of phenomenology. Small particles can dominate the EO/IR impact signature (on the order of one second or less). Ground impact studies have rarely focused on these small particulates due to the low percentage of target/interceptor mass comprising the particulate cloud and the difficulty/cost of introducing measurement equipment into this environment. Thus, innovative new experimental methods are needed to elucidate the small particulate generation mechanisms and physical characteristics to provide insight and truth data for developing physics-based EO/IR signature models. MDA desires an innovative, cost-effective, combined sensor/software technology whereby sensors can characterize micro-particles with sufficient resolution to support EO/IR signature modeling, and determine numbers, mass, temperature, emissivity and velocity of the particles. The interrogation method must also be capable of estimating/correlating particle masses to their velocities, or a mass distribution to a velocity field. The proposed interrogation system must be suitable for open-air outdoor arena, sled testing, gas gun testing and/or flight test, and sufficiently robust to handle blast overpressures ranging from 1000 psi near the center of the hemispherical test space to 1 psi near the fringes. The proposed interrogation system must be capable of producing a post-test report containing micro-particle characterization data within hours of the test. Contractors are encouraged to take maximum advantage of commercial off the shelf (COTS) sub-technologies and provide confidence in the proposed approach to meet these requirements. PHASE I: Propose an innovative solution to the measurement and characterization of the small particle environment. Consider commercially available sensor and instrumentation hardware as well as new measurement devices. Also consider available data characterization and analysis tools as well as new techniques and algorithms. Through modeling, simulation and analysis demonstrate the utility of the proposed approach to measure and characterize the small particles generated in hyper-velocity impacts, as compared to alternatives. Provide a plan for demonstration of the preferred approach. PHASE II: Realize a design of a measurement and characterization system that can be included in a ground (arena test, sled test, light gas gun test, etc) test or flight test. Demonstrate performance via component and system-level testing that shows the ability of that system to make measurements of micro-particle debris resulting from a hyper-velocity impact test. Prove performance of the system via ground test or flight test. PHASE III: Transition the measurement and characterization system from a developmental unit to a test asset and use it to provide test data for hyper-velocity impact studies for ground tests and/or high altitude tests. Integration with existing ground test and flight test assets should be pursued. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: Measurement of micro-particles or other particulates could be useful in pollution control, measurement of extreme weather conditions including hail, dust-storms, or volcano ash. In addition, other military and space based applications concerning evaluation/assessment of shielding and impact could be applicable.
MDA13-T003: Enhancement of Ballistic Missile Defense System Level Simulation Operations Through Multi-core Processing
Description: OBJECTIVE: Develop technology to enhance the Missile Defense Agency"s (MDA) Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) simulation operations through the employment of multi-core processing environments. DESCRIPTION: With the introduction of the Objective Simulation Framework (OSF), the BMDS enterprise-level simulation has the potential to present a more realistic and complex missile defense scenario. However, it is often cost prohibitive to re-code the required models and simulations to take advantage of the available multi-core environments. To fully realize this improved capability, innovative approaches and alternative technologies need to be examined that can enable the legacy model capabilities to efficiently execute on multi-core environments and dramatically improve the processing and presentation of the high fidelity data. The desired technology to be explored would facilitate the optimization of legacy models and simulations so that they can efficiently execute on multi-core hardware platforms. This topic focuses on the investigation, development and enhancement of new, innovative technologies that can be used to advance the MDA"s BMDS enterprise-level simulation execution capabilities. The desired technology should allow for model developers to focus on the behaviors and characteristics of the model representation vs. the computer science and the complexities required to develop highly efficient parallel software that executes in a multi-core processing environment. In addition, a key tenant will be to improve the integrity of the BMDS M & S operating as an integrated SoS. Technologies exist today that can optimize data organization, memory and concurrency for multi-core environments. However, these technologies do not allow for hardware and software independence which is required by the BMDS element models since they were constructed on, and are executing on, varying hardware platforms and have different software lineages. Also, the desired technology should be capable of being applied to the various BMDS enterprise-level simulation intended uses of the BMDS Performance Assessment, Testing, Conceptual Analysis, Exercise and Training applications. Ultimately this technology will assist MDA"s M & S team in cost effectively meeting the demanding goals and requirements that have been laid out by the Warfighter and Congress. PHASE I: Phase I of this effort would be to investigate innovative alternative technology enhancements or development areas that could improve processing and presentation of high fidelity data for BMDS enterprise-level M & S. The identified alternative technology product would be designed to facilitate the optimization of legacy M & S that would execute on multi-core hardware platforms. Phase I products would include technology design, requirements, and architecture artifacts that would feed the Phase II and Phase III development plans. PHASE II: Phase II of this effort would be to implement the Phase I technology design, process and tool into a prototype and demonstrate the capability against at least one legacy BMDS model which will then be run in a multi-core processing environment. Based on stakeholder feedback, improve and refine design, architecture, and capabilities for legacy code optimization. PHASE III: Phase III will consist of maturing the prototype tool and processes into an operational tool that can be applied to multiple legacy BMDS models and simulations in order for them to maximize multi-core processing environments for use in BMDS enterprise-level M & S. Collaborate with Stakeholders, OSF Developers, and Legacy code SMEs to improve technology and expand capability that may also be applied to other DOD multi-core processing environments. This phase would also include user training and applicable documentation. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: The contractor will pursue commercialization opportunities for multi-core processing environments that could be applied in a diverse set of processing environments with a wide range of legacy code optimization.
MDA13-T004: Event Integration & Execution Checklist Automation in Support of Improved Situational Awareness and Knowledge Dissemination (AutoCheck)
Description: OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative distributed software package that generates, tracks and correlates Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) event integration and execution tasks in order to improve situational awareness and user accuracy for event stakeholders. DESCRIPTION: AutoCheck will be of potential benefit to almost every DoD entity, including all the service components. Any activity that executes operations, plans operations, executes tests, or plans tests, will benefit by adopting AutoCheck. The complexity of BMDS test and assessment events has steadily increased over the past years. The proposed technology would automate much of this process, provide capability for both manual input and autosensing of task completion, and provide a centralized knowledge store resulting in improved knowledge dissemination, event preparation, decision making, and Human Machine Interface (HMI) analysis. A helpful automation step would be to have an automatic utility to track checklist execution and provide feedback on upcoming tasks to be completed through automated sensing. This utility would automate both the items in the checklist and the checking of the relevant status items that contribute to the checklist item status. The utility might also consider the branching logic that a complex checklist usually contains and keep track of that complexity and Artificial Intelligence technology to aid in automated sensing and machine learning of task completion for future enhancements. In addition, the integrated knowledge base needs to handle a flexible range of queries and query types. In particular, there is a need to be able to articulate to the system any query which could be expressed in English by the operator. The innovation is the selection and use of the distributed tools and the adaptation of distributed tools such as data distribution management and content management. Further innovations will use the modern content management and creation systems to create the checklist and allow users to create event preparation checklists that are integrated with the framework, participants, and a common library on a variety of computing platforms. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) seeks innovative capabilities addressing the following needs and issues: MDA event management and Warfighter event management Hardware agnostic User friendly Adaptable and extensible Validation, Verification and Accreditation (VV & A) Affordability Scalability and portability across BMDS and Warfighter network and IT architectures O & M considerations Benefit to DoD: AutoCheck will be of interest to every DoD entity, including all the service components. Any activity that executes operations, plans operations, executes test, or plans test, will benefit by having the capabilities AutoCheck will provide. PHASE I: Develop an innovative design for automated smart checklist technology for the BMDS event and Warfighter usage. The design should demonstrate the offeror"s understanding of issues and principles of human decision-making and situational awareness via checklists. The design should incorporate the offeror"s innovation extending current state-of-the-artpractice, as well as evolving technologies in Artificial Intelligence for a smart and flexible automated checklist technology for use across MDA and in other Department of Defense operation centers. A proof-of-concept demonstration of the design or critical functions is highly desirable. Phase I work products should include requirements, architecture artifacts and a development plan addressing aspects of requirements allocation, design structure, anticipated behavior, functional completeness, limitations/exclusions/deferrals, extensibility, scalability, testing, technical risks, uncertainty quantification, VV & A, scenario planning augmentation, M & S tool insertion, and O & M. PHASE II: Implement the Phase I design in a prototype that will demonstrate the ability for a capability with BMDS and Warfighter event and knowledge management. PHASE III: Scale the functional and runtime performance of the capability to accommodate stressing operator workloads representative of real world uses of checklist in support of events and knowledge management. Collaborate with Combatant Command (COCOM) Warfighter stakeholders and MDA developer stakeholders to customize the capability, and continue improvement responding to critical feedback from the stakeholders. Demonstrate utility of the capability and that it can be integrated in a mission-critical BMDS and Warfighter supported activity. Support integrating, testing and employing the capability, and improve the capability on the basis of critical feedback and operating experience from BMDS Test and Warfighter stakeholders. Develop, demonstrate, and publish a lean process for integration and test of the capability. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: The contractor will pursue commercialization opportunities for the capability in the numerous areas in defense, aviation, and other operational environments within the government and private sectors that can utilize the proposed technology. The technology would perform similar functions, but be applicable in different mission environments. Due to the complexity of global corporations that react in real time to changing market conditions, this technology has enormous commercialization potential.
MDA13-T005: Command and Control, Modeling and Simulation, Training
Description: OBJECTIVE: Investigate, design, and develop a command and control training system that incorporates state of the art virtual world, virtual reality, gaming engines, avatar, and artificial intelligence technologies. The end state would be multi-player distributed command and control training simulation that is able to model complex command and control element interactions and that is able to synthesize knowledge in real time through artificial intelligence to inform future interactions with the operator in the loop. DESCRIPTION: State of the art training systems have begun to incorporate virtual world, reality, gaming engines, avatars, and artificial intelligence technologies to immerse warfighters in a virtual world to hone a variety of skills and decision making that are not easily trained using traditional training systems. While these technologies have been applied to small scale individual training simulations; there has been no attempt to innovatively apply these same state of art technologies to a large-scale distributed command & control training simulation. Traditional training methods in complex dynamic environments are inefficient at adapting to changing audiences and technologies. A command and control training system must emulate the behavior of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) while still providing flexibility to expose geographically distributed command and control personnel to stressful situations and decisions resulting from physical and/or cyber attack that occur as the battle unfolds on their respective command and control graphical user interface (GUI). The command and control personnel must be able to react dynamically to changes in red force tactics and decisions during the battle. Simultaneously the command & control training system must emulate chain of command personnel, not physically participating in the training event, that normally communicate with each other via voice or data communications (e.g. chat messaging). An innovative and tailored approach to virtual based educational delivery methods can increase efficiency and realism for command and control and BMDS training needs. The contractor should investigate emerging technologies in human factors, decision making, and knowledge and semantics that would be used to help emulate the dynamic command and control BMDS operations environment for the purpose of training and education with a high degree of realism. Also, researching recent domain ontology based approaches that could complement the existing BMDS common knowledge base across users through virtual world training scenarios. The contractor should investigate applicable artificial intelligence technology that could improve processing and user interfaces in the BMDS training environment. A critical aspect of the proposed technology is the compliance with the OSD/D9 (Training & Readiness) Virtual World Framework (VWF). The software design should consider an extensible and open architecture that could incorporate the use of diverse computing methodologies and platforms, such as mobile, web based, and multi-core processing environments while complying with security and information assurance standards. The simulation must be accessible from schoolhouses, regional training centers, and operational locations. PHASE I: Develop an innovative command and control training system architecture and design that integrates emerging virtual world, virtual reality, first person gaming, avatar, and artificial intelligence technologies for training through emulation of the BMDS. The architecture and design should incorporate the offeror"s innovation extending current state-of-the-art and security practices. The design should also clearly demarcate internally implemented functions from functionality provided by external services, if any. Conduct pilot studies which interface different training content, simulations, objects, users, and locations to extend and expand the scope of training and education. Phase I work products should include requirements/capabilities, architecture artifacts that would lead the Phase II and Phase III Commercialization development plans. PHASE II: Implement the Phase I design and Phase II development plan in a prototype and demonstrate the simulation capability. Continued improvements and refinements to the design, architecture, and technology capability should be based on stakeholder feedback, and continued collaboration with command and control operators, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Demonstrate the proposed technology capability and performance with differing types of command and control structures. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate architectural attributes and integrate design choices which achieve scalability at the hardware and software levels (i.e., processor speed, network bandwidth, etc.). The Phase II work products would include supporting software development and architecture documentation, and installation and training/users guides. PHASE III: Integrate the developed command virtual world training system for demonstration in real world training environment. Improve and refine design, architecture, and capabilities based on stakeholder and user feedback. Demonstrate this capability through analysis showing performance and reliability of human machine interaction in the operational training environment. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: The contractor will pursue commercialization opportunities across the MDA BMDS and other applicable organizations in the Department of Defense (DoD) training domain. Multiple DoD organizations require OSD/D9 Training & Readiness compliance for next generation training. Those organizations could very easily leverage the base technology developed through this effort, requiring minimal changes to specific behaviors of the individual representations. The commercial gaming world will also be able to leverage much of the artificial intelligence that will be developed for the learning model"s ability to synthesize new knowledge that is captured through the execution of the simulation. This technology is also applicable to diverse related distributed on-line gaming, commercial training applications, commercial artificial intelligence applications, operator-in-the-loop simulations, and system-of-systems simulations.
MDA13-T006: Reliability Model and Data Acquisition for Solid Propellant Missiles
Description: OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative high-fidelity, comprehensive framework that estimates reliability and aids in reliability growth for missile systems employing solid propellant motors. DESCRIPTION: The Targets and Countermeasures Directorate of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) employs refurbished target systems to simulate current threats with improved reliability. Innovative techniques to enhance confidence levels in high reliability target systems are solicited. Reliability is generally defined as the probability that a given item will perform its intended function for a given time period under a given set of conditions. For a missile system this translates into the probability of a payload being delivered to a point-in-space to within a spatial and temporal accuracy requirement. The time period is the time of missile flight and the conditions are the flight environments. Reliability growth is the positive improvement in the reliability parameter of a system over a period of time due to implementation of corrective actions to system design, operation, or maintenance procedures, or the associated manufacturing processes (Reference 1). Reliability parameters are determined for the overall system reliability probability with confidence limit(s), as well as for critical components (e.g. solid rocket motors) reliability. The reliability framework involves both processes in the course of missile system development and an analytical model to track reliability estimates over the developmental and operational time. This framework will be used by independent government assessments. Thus, proposers must address at a minimum (1) methods to identifying the most probable failure points, (2) handling of both single-point-of-failure components as well as components with backup redundancies, (3) the acquisition of component reliability data, (4) assessment of quality/reliability in manufacturing processes as evidenced by acceptance testing results, (5) subsystem qualification test results, (6) system integration testing, and (7) any redesign and retesting that results. A portion of the Phase II activity will apply the framework to a generic MDA/TC target system. Since MDA flight tests are expensive, high reliabilities (>90%) with high confidence are required. PHASE I: Phase I of this effort should concentrate on the overall framework of a general purpose reliability growth process and the reliability estimation tracking applicable to any missile system employing solid propellants (e.g. tactical missiles, cruise missiles, space launch missiles, offensive ballistic missiles, test missiles, and/or interceptors). The emphasis should also be on the management approach to reliability growth during the design/testing phases and paths to obtain fundamental component reliability data. The bidder can assume that model inputs for the eventual user will include such traditional data as (1) Electrical, Mechanical, and Thermal Stress Analyses, (2) Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) efforts, (3) dormant storage time/conditions, and (4) results of acceptance, qualification and integration testing. The bidder shall show how component level reliability data can be obtained (including mechanical, electrical, and software/firmware components), and how through qualification and integration testing the reliability estimate can be verified and further refined. All elements of the final analytical model are not expected at the completion of Phase I; but the structure and the requirements for the analytical model and the management approach to reliability growth are expected. PHASE II: Phase II shall (1) complete the analytical model, (2) expand the management approach to reliability growth to include the operational phase of the missile systems, and (3) apply the comprehensive framework to a specific government furnished target system. The analytical model shall be capable of predicting total missile system reliability. All required inputs shall be defined, all algorithms encoded, and all outputs designed and formatted. A User"s Manual shall be written. Another major output of Phase II shall be a description of the recommended reliability growth processes in a form suitable for target acquisition request for proposals (RFPs). During Phase II a tailoring of the framework (both processes and analytical model) specifically for MDA Targets is expected. A generic targets parts list will be provided at the onset of Phase II. Special attention shall be paid to legacy solid rocket motors and their testing prior to use. PHASE III: The contractor will work with existing target contractors to implement the reliability processes that have been approved by MDA to the degree acceptable to the target prime contractor. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: Much of the statistical modeling and process of reliability growth with test is applicable to many complex systems employing mechanical, electrical and software components. This could include aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, manufacturing apparatus, ground transportation systems, and home or office appliances.
MDA13-T007: Lightweight Optical Benches and Mounting Structures
Description: OBJECTIVE: The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pursuing technology to develop the next generation airborne laser. Part of the design places an emphasis on weight constraints; therefore MDA is placing interest in investigating materials to manufacture lightweight optical benches while maintaining high degrees of stiffness for low vibration and precision alignment. MDA is also interested in exploring novel designs for lightweight optical bench mounting structures with a high degree of vibration isolation. Eventual designs for directed energy systems must be opto-thermo-mechanically stable. The resulting product would have numerous other military and scientific applications on any platform that would require weight restrictions on the optical components. DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this topic is creating lighter weight optical benches for high-altitude (55-65kft) airborne applications. Methods of achieving this goal could be state-of-the-art materials, improved layering processes, or other methods to help achieve a lighter bench structure density. This topic also covers novel concepts for creating lightweight mounting structures capable of meeting vibration isolation goals. Low vibration optical benches and mounts contribute to accomplishing<300nrad of jitter on target for a high altitude airborne laser while also being light enough to be carried on high altitude UAVs. This state-of-the-art innovation would provide a new solution for weight and volume-restricted systems or platforms used in government and commercial applications with improved performance. Goals for optical bench designs include the following: a surface area near 145"x 50", a maximum weight of 375lbs, and a first mode frequency of 30Hz. Benches should be scalable to aforementioned dimensions and have thicknesses that help achieve isolation goals. These are desired goals for operation and any novel solution that does not meet these goals will still be considered. By approaching or exceeding these parameters with unique material or design solutions the current state-of-the-art will be pushed beyond what is available today for space borne platforms and aerospace optics. Mounting structures designs may include novel and unique approaches. The designs should maximize isolation performance and minimize volume and weight. PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the proposed bench or mounting structure. Proof of concept hardware development and test is highly desirable. Trades discussing the decision for the chosen option are also recommended. The Phase I work product should include a clear technology development plan, schedule, and transition risk assessment. These details should be presented in the Phase I final report. Offerors are highly encouraged to interact with DVL for feedback and input to ensure the final products are developing along a useful path. PHASE II: Complete a critical design of the prototype component developed in Phase I. Fabricate a prototype or a demonstration model and perform characterization testing within financial and schedule constraints of the program to show level of performance achieved compared to stated government goals. PHASE III: Develop and execute a plan for a commercially viable version of the device developed in Phase II, including marketing and manufacturing. Assist MDA in transitioning this technology to the appropriate Ballistic Missile Defense System prime contractor(s) for the engineering integration and testing. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: A design of a lightweight, low vibration optical bench has numerous commercial applications. Outside the MDA, numerous other Department of Defense applications of the technology include, but not limited to: aerospace optics, space borne platforms and any platform that would require weight restrictions on the optical components. The contractor is encouraged to identify additional commercialization opportunities.
MDA13-T008: Phased Array Laser Beam Steering
Description: OBJECTIVE: Develop a novel phased array laser beam steering capability for large-aperture high-power combined fiber laser systems. This innovative capability should allow for fine beam steering on the order of micro-radians to nano-radians with potential traceability to larger angle beam steering. DESCRIPTION: Pointing High Energy Lasers (HELs) over great distances requires precision optical systems. Proposed high altitude platform beam director systems are projected to comprise a significant portion of the weapon system weight. Phased array beam steering systems hold the potential to reduce system weight by eliminating large telescope and beam director optics. Such systems hold significant potential and interest for MDA, Air Force Research Lab, DARPA, and other Department of Defense (DOD) high energy lasers, as well as free space optical communication applications in both the DOD and private sector. Assume the following: - Gross pointing done externally (to this effort) with a turret / pointing flat, i.e. the focus of this topic is on very fine angle steering. - Proposed architecture must be compatible with coherent and spectral fiber beam combined laser approaches. - System will be operated on a high altitude aircraft (55-65kft), with significant size and weight restrictions. - Final system (Phase III and/or beyond) should be capable of a 1m-class primary aperture and a minimum 200kw-class laser. - Proposed system must be innovative, have very high combining efficiency and exceptional beam quality. Offerors must present a detailed understanding of how the proposed system will impact the beam quality. PHASE I: Demonstrate in Phase I through modeling, analysis, and proof-of-principle experiments of critical elements of the proposed technology that the proposed approach is viable for further investigation in Phase II. Phase I work should clearly validate the viability of the technology proposed to meet the operational environment for directed energy applications in a component critical performance demonstration. Phase I should also result in a clear technology development plan, schedule, transition risk assessment, and requirements document. PHASE II: The Phase II objective is to validate a scalable and producible technology approach that MDA users and prime contractors can transition in Phase III to their unique laser application. Validate the feasibility of the proposed concept developed in Phase I by development and demonstration of a key components brassboard and the execution of supporting laboratory/field experiments to demonstrate technology viability. Validation would include, but not be limited to, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration subsystem. The goal of the Phase II effort is to demonstrate technology viability and the offeror should have working relationships with system and payload contractors. PHASE III: In this phase, the contractor will apply the innovations demonstrated in the first two phases to one or more MDA element systems, subsystems, or components. The objective of Phase III is to demonstrate the scalability of the developed technology, transition the component technology to the MDA system integrator or payload contractor, mature it for operational insertion, and demonstrate the technology in an operational level environment. A partnership with a current or potential supplier of MDA element systems, subsystems or components is highly desirable as is interaction with OSD High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office programs. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: High power laser components have numerous commercial and other government agency applications in metal cutting, material processing, welding, remote sensing (both terrestrial and space), satellite communications, power beaming, and weather sensing. Outside of MDA, numerous other DOD applications of the technology include tracking, designation, directed energy, demilitarization of munitions, and IED destruction. The contractor is also encouraged to identify additional commercialization opportunities.
MDA13-T009: Lightweight Optics for Directed Energy Systems
Description: OBJECTIVE: The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pursuing technology to develop the next generation airborne laser. This system will be weight constrained. Therefore, MDA is interested in investigating novel concepts to create lightweight optics and coatings while maintaining high power densities because the beam control system is projected to comprise a significant portion of the weapon system weight. High-performance optical substrates, coatings, and the expertise required to develop and produce them are essential elements for continued successful development of directed energy weapon systems for military purposes, as well as the development of other defense and scientific applications. Proposed here is the development of innovative materials, processes, and methods for production of substrates and coatings for high-power lasers. Of specific interest are optics for Combined Fiber Lasers (CFL) at a wavelength of 1064 nanometers and Diode Pumped Alkali Laser Systems (DPALS) at a wavelength of 795 nanometers. DESCRIPTION: MDA is interested in development of innovative transmissive and reflective, lightweight optics for compact, high power lasers in airborne high altitude environments. To that end, the following focus areas are delineated. 1) Optical substrates and coatings which are resistant to contamination and the presence of 100m-class particles. 2) Optical substrates and coatings that can withstand power intensities up to 100 kW/cm2 for 10-cm-class size optics, and up to 1kW/cm2 for 1-m-class size optics. 3) Optical substrates and coatings that can operate in the constraints of a high altitude environment (55-65kft) with respect to temperature and pressure. 4) Optics that can be manufactured, cleaned, and polished ranging in size from 10cm to 1m-class and still meet power density criteria. Any cost or schedule reductions in the manufacturing process is also highly desired. 5) Optics that can remain stable under thermal loads of 10s of seconds of laser operation. 6) Optical materials that maintain performance with lower size and weight requirements for large telescope and pointing mirrors when compared to other leading technology such as Silicon Carbide (SiC). 7) Development of new processes for production of high-quality windows and their geometries with extremely low impurity levels. Concepts for optics and coatings consistent with the above focus areas will advance the state of the art for lightweight optical components in high power directed energy systems. Lightweight optical components are highly desired for a variety of space and airborne applications, in both the defense and commercial communities. PHASE I: Demonstrate in Phase I through modeling, analysis, and proof-of-principle experiments of critical elements for the proposed technology for further investigation in Phase II. Phase I work should clearly validate the viability of the proposed technology. Phase I should result in a clear technology development plan, schedule, transition risk assessment, and requirements document. Offerors are highly encouraged to work with High Energy Laser (HEL) system integrators and/or their respective sub-system contractors to help ensure applicability of the proposed effort and the viability of the technology for transition. PHASE II: The Phase II objective is to validate a scalable and producible technology approach that MDA users and prime contractors can transition in Phase III to their unique laser application. Validate the feasibility of the Phase I concept by development and demonstration of witness samples that will be tested to ensure compliance with requirements. Validation would include, but not be limited to, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration subsystem. The goal of the Phase II effort is to demonstrate technology viability. A partnership with a current or potential supplier of MDA systems, subsystems or components is highly desirable and should include testing of samples. The final report should include but is not limited to the methods, results, and shortcomings of claims in support of success of the candidate systems for the corresponding focus areas. PHASE III: In this phase, the contractor will apply the innovations demonstrated in the first two phases to one or more MDA systems, subsystems, or components. The objective of Phase III is to demonstrate the scalability of the developed technology, transition the component technology to the MDA system integrator or payload contractor, mature it for operational insertion, and demonstrate the technology in an operational level environment. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in other Department of Defense high energy laser systems, missile windows, satellite systems, observatories; and other commercial systems requiring high quality lightweight optics.
MDA13-T010: Corrosion Protection of High-Value Test & Evaluation Assets
Description: OBJECTIVE: This research and development effort is to provide significant enhancement to the corrosion protection of high-value missile defense test & evaluation facilities, equipment and components. DESCRIPTION: Missile defense test programs require the placement and utilization of test assets at remote austere facilities. Research and development in improved methods for extended-life corrosion protection in highly aggressive environments is needed. Interested firms are encouraged to employ substantial latitude in proposing advanced material concepts and processing techniques that can be applied to meet these needs. Resulting enabling materials and process technologies should be readily adaptable to commercial applications, providing for dual-use applicability. Technical areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 1) Surface Preparation of Existing Metallic Structures: Advances in coating technologies such as Metal Wire Arc Spray [1] and Self-Priming Topcoats [2] are very innovative, however these technologies still require extensive and difficult substrate surface preparation prior to topcoating. Novel and innovative approaches are sought to provide rapid and robust surface preparation solutions [3] for large metallic structures (radars, transporters, erectors, launch stands and other support facilities) exposed to marine environments. These proposed solutions must ensure that the substrate surface is properly prepared to accept advanced coating systems and technologies and maintain maximum topcoat performance over the life of the coating system. 2) Galvanic Protection Systems for Large Metallic Structures: Impressed current systems and sacrificial anodes have been used extensively in the pipeline industry and for large fuel and water storage tanks for many years. This same technology could prove useful for metallic structures exposed to harsh marine environments. Innovative approaches to adapting both passive [4] and active [5] galvanic protection for BMDS metallic structures could prove useful in reducing maintenance costs and extending the life of MDA assets. 3) Fiber Reinforced Composites for Structural Applications: The use of fiber-reinforced composites has found their usefulness in many applications [6]. The strength-to-weight ratio and the corrosion resistivity of composites make them attractive for large structural applications. The Missile Defense Agency employs the use of transporters, erectors and launch stands in harsh marine environments. A need exists to investigate the viability of using composite technology to supplement and/or reduce the use of structural steel in this environment. Proposals addressing the design of new components as replacements for existing structural components should also address the problems associated with bonding composites to metals and the fire-resistive properties of these structural members. 4) Removing of Corrosion-Inducing Atmospheric Particulates from Interior Spaces: Corrosion in interior spaces due to the deposition of atmospheric salts is very problematic. Innovative solutions are sought for removing corrosion-inducing atmospheric particulates (e.g. chlorides and sulfides) in the interior spaces of the facilities housing BMDS assets. PHASE I: Conduct experimental and/or analytical efforts to demonstrate proof-of-principle of proposed technology. Investigations shall consider the viability, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of solutions to reduce and mitigate the effects of corrosion on large metallic structures. If applicable, produce test coupons of materials and measure relevant properties. Assess fabrication cost and impacts on service methods, safety, reliability, sustainability, and efficiency. PHASE II: Based on the results and findings of Phase I, demonstrate the technology by developing a prototype in a representative environment. Demonstrate feasibility and engineering scale up of proposed technology as well as identify and address technological hurdles. Demonstrate the system"s viability and superiority under a wide variety of conditions typical of both normal and extreme operating conditions. Identify and assess commercial applications of the technology. PHASE III: Successfully demonstrate direct applicability or near-term application of technology in one or more ballistic missile defense element systems, subsystems, or components. Demonstration should be in a real system or operational in a system level test-bed. This demonstration should also verify the potential for enhancement of quality, reliability, performance, and reduction of total ownership cost of the proposed subject. Commercialization pathways should be identified for both military and civilian applications. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: Equally important to military utility is the transferability of proposed technologies to corrosion protection in aerospace, automotive, and industrial uses. The proposed technology should benefit commercial and defense systems through cost reduction as well as improved reliability and sustainment. As enabling technologies, it is anticipated that commercial and industrial transferability and applicability of such technologies will be high.