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Autonomous and Remote Fuel Agitation, Filtration & Certification



OBJECTIVE: The Autonomous and Robotic Remote Refueling Point (AR3P) concept is a project addressing the range and on-station time limitations and mission risks faced by current military Rotary Wing (RW) aircraft. The AR3P project is an Operational Energy initiative for Aviation Refueling led by the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) as means to reduce soldier exposure and reduce demand for fuel on the battlefield. As part of this effort a capability gap has been identified in currently available Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and Government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) technology to achieve remote and autonomous agitation and certification of aviation fuel. This effort will be focused on closing that gap. 

DESCRIPTION: The AMRDEC has been pursuing the AR3P platform through a partnership between its Aviation Development Directorate and its Operational Energy Lab. The initial concept has been demonstrated but has identified capabilities gaps in some technical areas, with specific gaps in fuel agitation and certification. In this SBIR, feasibility and maturation of an autonomous and remote fuel agitation and certification approach is needed to determine the feasibility of executing autonomous fueling mission with no human-in-the-loop. At present remote certification would not meet the requirements laid out in Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3.04.94. Technology opportunities identified for application to the AR3P during this effort will be mapped to the requirements laid out in ATP 3.04.94 as well as ATP 4.43 which focuses on fuel agitation, filtration and quality. This effort will address the physical complexity, engineering, and solutions development needed to achieve the stated goal. All innovative solutions will be pursued as a part of this effort to include new system design, COTS, GOTS, and other engineering solutions. At present, no known system is available to accomplish the holistic objective set forth in this SBIR. This effort will address the technical solution itself, size, transportability, component availability, and engineering complexity and simplicity. 

PHASE I: Conduct a detailed feasibility analysis of the system end state goal and determine likelihood of success utilizing COTS, GOTS, or new system design. Demonstrate that the stated goal is achievable and lay out next steps for development, design, and implementation of autonomous and remote fuel agitation, filtration & certification. Period of performance of the Phase I effort is to be 6 months. 

PHASE II: Based on the outcomes of Phase I, implement initial prototype design, development, build, and test for the subject system or integrate the COTS/GOTS systems identified in Phase I into the overall system. Careful focus will be placed on engineering complexity, proprietary system interface (meaning use of the subject system with other currently in use systems that may be proprietary in nature with little to no opportunity for modification), and creating a solution that solves the subject challenge. 

PHASE III: The development of a remote fuel agitation, filtration, and certification system will be utilized for next generation Army Aviation fueling operations and could also be leveraged across service to both the Air Force and Navy in multiple domains from Aviation to land vehicles and ships. Search and Rescue operations conducted by Homeland Security, National Parks Service, and the US Coast Guard could leverage this technology in a variety of environments where human intervention is not possible and remote operations are required. In the commercial sector, there is opportunity in the commercial aviation and shipping industry when these assets are operated in remote locations. The technology developed here would reduce the need for human intervention and remove people from remote or potentially harmful environments while extending the range and effectiveness of existing airborne platforms to support remote operations. 


1: Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3.04.94 - Army Techniques Publication for Forward Arming and Refueling Points

2:  Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 4.43 - Petroleum Supply Operations

KEYWORDS: Autonomous, Remote, Refuel, Fuel, Certification, Filtration, Agitation 


William Nikonchuk 

(256) 842-3374 

James Burgess 

(757) 878-1794 

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