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Thermal Deception Device for Mission Command


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a rapidly deployable thermal signal emitting deception device of high value battlefield assets that provides Soldiers with the ability to simulate thermal signatures during Mission Command operations. The development of this system will result in improved stationary and/or mobile deceptive capabilities in the battlefield. The device will help employ new misleading strategies that could lead to reducing the risks of detection of our Soldiers, equipment, and vehicles. The deceptive capabilities that this device will provide would enhance Soldier protection in the battlefield, hence, increasing Soldiers survivability and lethality. 

DESCRIPTION: As a key component of protection and deception practices, both frontline and rear area forces could benefit from the employment of modern deception and decoy systems. The Army Functional Concept for Maneuver Support has stated that there is a general need for greater use of camouflage, concealment, and deception capabilities, to preserve combat power and reduce casualties. In order to develop a system that could fit today’s expeditionary combat strategies, and be able to successfully trick the adversaries’ visible and infrared targeting capabilities it is important that we not only mimic the physical appearances of our deployed assets, but also, their infrared and emissions signatures. The rationale for this technology would be that since thermal signature is one of the most difficult signal spectrums to conceal, we might be able to use it in our favor by using it for deception purposes. A heat signature combined with physical decoys would provide a more realistic representation of our Mission Command posts that could trigger a waterfall effect in changing our enemy’s strategic approach during combat. This type of device complicates the adversaries’ intelligence gathering, targeting, and decision-making capabilities and can lead enemy forces to vulnerable positions, providing friendly maneuver forces with combat advantages through control of the battle space. The proposed system should exhibit the following specifications: • Innovative rapidly deployable thermal signal emitting solution capable of simulating heat signature. • The device shall be of lightweight and have the capability of being remotely controlled. • The device should aim to mimic a thermal signature of up to 4KW in an area of approximately 1000 sq. ft. that operates between the mid to high Infra-Red scale range. • The device shall have an operation time between 6 to 8 continuous hours and be operable at temperature ranges of -20 to 120 ?F. • Other desired features would be ease of transportability and 2-man deployment. • Solutions shall explore single-use and reusable options for up to ~60 strikes (representing a 2-month deployment). • Solutions shall explore stationary and mobile options for operability. • A significant activity during system design and development will be ensuring system safety in all conditions, wind resistant, and that any water intrusion, puncture, or electrocution hazards be addressed and mitigated as priorities. Note: This topic will support the Combined Arms Center (CAC) Deception and Obscuration Initial Capability Document (ICD) (Draft) and III Corps Operational Need Statement (ONS). In addition, this topic is in line with FORSCOM G3/5/7 endorsement of decoy technology to Army Capabilities and Integration Center (ARCIC). 

PHASE I: To research and determine the feasibility of a thermal deception device addressing the requirements discussed in the previous section. Furthermore, in order to fulfill reporting requirements, the awardee shall report monthly on their progress, in the form of a 4-8 page technical report following the guideline in the section below. Deliverables: • A system feasibility demonstrator. The system feasibility demonstrator could be a detailed analysis in the form of a report and/or a small scale model that would convey confidence in the system that it would meet deployment, thermal signature ranges and other requirements listed in the objective and description sections. • Six monthly reports, with each report containing the following (four more monthly reports if the Option is awarded): o Expenditure to date, against proposed schedule. o Technical progress to date, against proposed schedule. o Technical achievement highlights, tables, graphics, and any other associated test data, as well as problems or decision-points reached. o Within first two reports, present market research of all existing and future mobile shelter solutions and their applicability to a military deployment. • Final Technical Report, submitted within 15 days after contract termination, containing the following: o Conceptual 3D drawings and figures of the thermal deception device. o A list of maintenance items, frequency of replacing such items, and specific training required. o A projection of the cost analysis of the system’s life cycle, including the cost of maintenance items and consumables, as well as the initial capital cost of procuring the system. 

PHASE II: Phase II will focus on developing and fabricating a proof-of-concept prototype of a thermal deception device solution that is reproducible, and exhibits confidence in transitioning to the military market. The objective is to conduct further development of the design and materials that provide the best balance to achieve the requirements, specifications and metrics listed in this topic. The Phase II effort will significantly improve upon the performance and efficiency of the conceptual design developed under Phase I. Required Phase II tasks and deliverables will include: • “Monthly” and “Final” reporting, as mentioned for Phase I, to cover the 24 month Phase II “Period of Performance”. • Generate technical detailed (Level 2 or equivalent) drawings of a thermal deception device solution. • Deliver a proof-of-concept prototype of a complete thermal deception device system that meets the requirements and metrics listed in the objective and description sections. • The contractor shall demonstrate functionality and efficiency of the system. The demonstration shall be conducted at the Base Camp Integration Laboratory (BCIL) at Fort Devens, MA or an equivalent test site. • The target production cost of the complete system shall not exceed $10K including all hardware needed for deployment and operation. • Demonstrate the capability for production based on the device’s design, materials and provide unit coproduction cost based on quantities of 1,000 and 10,000 items. 

PHASE III: The focus of Phase I and II of this effort is to evaluate feasibility and demonstrate this technology for Command Post deception applications, but we project an extension of the technology to create deception decoys not only for tents but for military vehicles and equipment. Once developed, the thermal deception device will be integrated to our ARMY’s deception tactics providing Soldiers an alternative to create new misleading strategies that could reduce the risk of detection during combat operations. Other application for this type of device could be as a training aid for Soldiers at either the National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center for identification purposes in the battlefield. In addition, it could also be used as a test device for IR imager equipment calibration. Given a successful demonstration, this technology would transition to Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (PM-FSS) for further development and fielding. 


1: Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard - Human Engineering - MIL-STD-1472F


3:  Joint Committee on Tactical Shelters (JOCOTAS)


5:  Performance Specification - Cloth, Fire, Water, and Weather Resistant - MIL-PRF-44103D


7:  Performance Specification Tent, Extendable, Modular, Personnel (TEMPER) - MIL-PRF-44271B


9:  Technology Readiness Assessment


11:  Test Method Standard – Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests - MIL-STD-810G


13:  The U.S. Army Functional Concept for Movement and Maneuver, TRADOC Pamphlet


KEYWORDS: Thermal, Signature, Decoys, Deception, Protection, Imaging, Infrared, Simulation 

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