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Field Programmability System (FPS) Modernization for Mark 39 Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target (EMATT)



OBJECTIVE: Develop a new system to program the Mark 39 Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target (EMATT) in the field. 

DESCRIPTION: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training is obtained most effectively when air, surface, and subsurface platforms and their ASW SONAR crews train in the operational environment where they would be tasked with locating enemy submarines. Training against live submarines is costly and usually not available; therefore, mobile ASW training targets are critical training assets in filling this role. The Field Programmability System (FPS) addition to the Mark 39 EMATT gives its users more options to improve its emulation of a submarine for ASW proficiency training that is conducted in actual operationally meaningful environments due to its expendable and easily deployable nature. The Mark 39 EMATT vehicle, the Run Geometry Application Software, and the Portable Target Programmer are the three main components of the EMATT FPS. The EMATT FPS provides the user total control of the creation and maintenance of run geometries for transferal to the EMATT target. A geometry or run plan is a set of data that controls the course of an EMATT target. The user can customize geometries to compensate for changing operational requirements, diverse oceanographic conditions, and the skill level desired for ASW training exercise. Currently, the Run Geometry Application (RGA) is the front-end design tool and interface for the FPS. RGA interfaces with the Portable Target Programmer (PTP), which provides temporary storage of the required information to program the EMATT target. The PTP is a battery-powered storage device capable of downloading geometries from the RGA to the Mark 39 EMATT vehicle. The PTP connects to the host computer (PC) and Mark 39 EMATT vehicle via a FTDI RS232 host link cable. PTPs are the main problem and are currently being returned due to issues such as having a non-functional charging circuit, dead batteries, and failing electrical components which causes the PTP to be unable to communicate to RGA and/or EMATT. In addition, the Navy currently faces operational and procurement risk due to these issues and electronic obsolescence problems. The Navy needs to reduce the current $6k purchase cost for a single PTP unit by 80% for each FPS by incorporating low-cost technologies or by eliminating the need of a PTP. Current technology has advanced beyond the programming and communication types in use by the ASW targets. The RGA software currently works only on Windows-based computers and should be redesigned/repackaged to execute on multiple smart devices operating system (OS), focusing on Android OS, Apple iOS and Windows OS. Porting the software from one environment to another is much less costly then starting from scratch. In addition, smart devices are more portable and can replace the need of carrying a laptop and a PTP out in the field. Therefore, having the RGA running on a smart device, eliminating the current PTP, and having the smart device communicate to the EMATT is the best path forward. Currently the PTP can take up to 10 minutes to program one EMATT vehicle, and can only program on average six EMATT targets before it needs to recharge its Nickle Cadmium batteries. Various unique designs promise substantial improvement over the current device capabilities, such as upgrading the nearly obsolete RS232 cable to an Ethernet cable which can increase programing speed by a factor of four. Changing the battery chemistry can increase capacity, therefore allowing for programming more EMATT targets on a single charge. In addition, consideration should be given to minimize the size and cost with the maximization of simplicity and usability. The current PTP is the same size as a Pelican Storm Case IM 2100. The external dimension for the Pelican Storm Case IM 2100 is 14.20" x 11.40" x 6.50" and the interior dimension is 13.00" x 9.20" x 6.00". Reducing the size by 50% is desirable; however, eliminating the need of the PTP is the goal. Simplicity will come in the form of system ease of use and maintainability, such as removing the use of physical cables, the need of carrying the PTP, and the need of maintaining PTP in the field. The Navy will require an Interface Control Document (ICD) between the RGA, PTP, and EMATT to ensure forward compatibility. 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 Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor 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 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: Design and prove the feasibility of a concept for a new FPS. The objective is to show the feasibility of developing technology that accomplishes the requirements in a cost-effective manner. Multiple options should be brought to the Navy’s attention, none of which will modify the form, fit and function of the Mark 39 EMATT. The Navy will make the Performance Specification for the Mark 39 EMATT available for the small business. Identify the most feasible programming and communication technology that meets Navy needs; and explain how that technology can improve the current Mark 39 EMATT programming. A Software Development Plan (SDP) or contractor’s equivalent is required for proof of concept. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed in Phase II. 

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), develop and deliver a prototype to the Government for evaluation as appropriate. The prototype will not be returned to the small business. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW and the Navy requirements for a FPS and to test reliability by executing numerous programming cycles. Refine the prototype, using evaluation results, into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. The Navy will require an Interface Control Document for the new FPS. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use. It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). 

PHASE III: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy ASW training targets. Develop a target for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. Support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy ASW training targets most commonly used for the Mark 39 EMATT. The Mark 39 EMATT target with an improved FPS would improve its suitability for numerous commercial applications including oceanography profiling, water sampling, and other underwater data collection applications. The improved FPS could reduce cost and increase lifecycle use, which is very desirable for these data collection applications. 


1: "MK39 Expendable Mobile ASW Training Target and Field Programmability System." Lockheed Martin, 2017.

2:  Takeuchi, K., Tanaka, T. and Tanzawa, T. "A multipage cell architecture for high-speed programming multilevel NAND flash memories." IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits, 1998.

3:  "USB to RS232 Adapter – Professional Part No. XS880 1" (Spec Sheet)., 2016


5:  Adams, J., et al. "Bluetooth Application for Military Communications."

6:  2007


8:  Fremzel, Lou. "The Fundamentals Of Short-Range Wireless Technology." Electronic Design, 2012.

KEYWORDS: Mark 39 EMATT Target; ASW Training Target; Data Interface For FPS; Field Programmability System; RS232 Protocol; FDTI RS232 Chipset 


Tomas Pagan-Soto 

(401) 832-7225 

Mr. Thomas Bernache 

(401) 832-6273 

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