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New Condition Based Maintenance and Energy Command and Control Network Architectures for the Naval Expeditionary Force



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Ground/Sea Vehicles, Information Systems

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Exchange of Tactical Information at the Tactical Edge (EAITE) FNT FY14-03

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. 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: The objective is to research, assess, and develop a new ground vehicle based network to enable future advances in condition-based maintenance (CBM) and energy command and control (EC2).

DESCRIPTION: Naval Expeditionary Forces--specifically the US Marines, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, and Naval Special Warfare Command--work in demanding and austere environments requiring reliable systems. There is a desire to research and implement new CBM capabilities for these forces to enhance a platform's operational availability while decreasing total ownership cost. This will necessitate new affordable health and usage monitoring systems, accurate prediction of the current state of vehicle health, notification of required maintenance actions, and better facilitation of overall fleet maintenance through data-driven decision making. Currently the US Army has a pilot CBM+ program that logs time series data from the vehicle's data bus that communicates with existing component diagnostics in the engine, transmission, brakes, and electrical systems (e.g., engine oil temperature and pressure, fuel rate, injection control pressure, etc.). Existing diagnostics from the original equipment manufacturers rely on state parameters like temperature and pressure, which present potential warnings after component damage has already occurred. The current pilot program primarily relies on connecting a laptop computer to a vehicle's CBM data logger once every month; data is then uploaded to the CBM data warehouse for further use. Standalone implementation of CBM wireless mesh technologies have also been experimented to automatically communicate with external nodes; this system currently has very low data rates that meet current needs. The data rates of this mesh technology may not be sufficient for the future vision of a more robust implementation of CBM. To elicit earlier indications and warning of component wear and damage, other CBM health and usage monitoring sensors are envisioned, such as low cost vibrational, corrosion, or fatigue sensors. Additional sensors will increase onboard or off-board computational requirements and likely tax the exchange and collection of health and usage data. There is a desire to fully automate the CBM process in the future by removing the need to physically connect to a vehicle to collect pertinent data, while increasing data collection frequency. In a garrison environment, health and use data may be automatically collected or uploaded at a Motor Pool upon vehicle dispatch/return, during preventive checks and services, or prior to corrective maintenance services. In a tactical environment there are additional challenges with the disconnected, intermittent, limited bandwidth (DIL) environment; potential cyber safe requirements; and potential cross-domain (classified/unclassified) movement of unclassified maintenance data from a classified operational data network to unclassified data warehouses. Additionally, the vehicle dispatch methodology doesn't apply in combat, especially before forward operating bases are established; therefore, collecting vehicle health and usage data will be increasingly important. This network architecture and automation of CBM may also enable a commander and maintenance leaders to have a dashboard view of the health of his/her assets to guide mission execution and support operational and logistics decision-making. It is envisioned that this ‘commander’s dashboard’ also fulfills the need to support future energy command and control concepts. Currently commanders lack the visibility of the energy/fuel posture of their force, so they lack basic knowledge such as the current operational reach (range) of their force prior to resupply. This lack of information, which may be fulfilled with health and usage monitoring information transmitted over new data networks, may be a contributing reason that we observe up to 70% idling of tactical vehicles in combat and training.

Finally, new vehicle network architectures must consider the pros/cons of the potential integration of operational, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and logistics communication /data requirements at the tactical edge in austere naval expeditionary environments compared to separate standalone logistics network solutions.

PHASE I: Define and develop an initial concept and a network architecture for the autonomous communication of condition based maintenance (health and usage) and energy command and control information for naval vehicles and riverine craft. The network must consider the potential for the integration of operational data and logistics (including maintenance and energy status data) across tactical communication capabilities versus standalone ad hoc network capabilities dedicated to CBM data. This may include consideration of future CBM data needs; onboard versus off-board data conditioning and processing; estimation of data storage and throughput needs; exploration of various secure communication schemes; persistent messaging and dissemination control; data fusion; and responsiveness to disconnected, intermittent and limited bandwidth environments.

PHASE II: Refine the network architecture for the autonomous communication of condition based maintenance and energy command and control information. This may include network modeling of various concepts of employment to select optimal network elements and flow. Establish a prototype hardware-in-the loop implementation of this network architecture with key vehicle/platform and network components passing and using emulated or live data to demonstrate network efficacy. Experiment with various optimization concepts.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine as needed, the final architecture and system design based on the results of the hardware in the loop demonstrations and experiments. Implement the network on a government selected naval expeditionary platform (e.g., ground vehicle, construction equipment, or riverine craft) for operational testing to support technology transition and additional commercialization. Private Sector Commercial Potential: ONR held a workshop in October on condition based maintenance. Major original equipment manufacturers are advancing condition based maintenance employment for commercial fleets; however, these industrial partners have access to unsecure cellular wireless infrastructure to support these programs making DoD CBM needs unique. But there is strong potential that the advanced health and usage monitoring network concepts presented in this SBIR program will benefit the commercial implementation of CBM and can be adopted by industry. Concepts like the 'commander's dashboard' would also be equally amiable to a construction/mining foreman’s or fleet manager’s dashboard for productive, cost-effective operations.


  • Enabling Condition Based Maintenance with Health and Usage Monitoring Systems. First I. T. Scott Kilby 1, Second I. Eric Rabeno 2, Third James Harvey 3. AIAC14 Fourteenth Australian International Aerospace Congress Seventh DSTO International Conference on Health & Usage Monitoring. accessed December 2015.
  • Exchange of Actionable Information at the Tactical Edge.; accessed Dec 2015.
  • LIA Focus Areas.; accessed Dec 2015.
  • SAE Aerospace Standards Summit Condition Based Maintenance. Greg Kilchenstein. 08 July 2015.; accessed Dec 2015.

KEYWORDS: CBM; HUMS; network; architecture; energy command and control; cross domain; vehicle health

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