TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics
OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate novel, very small, inexpensive radio frequency (RF) sensors that can be distributed in mass quantity over an operational zone to gather relevant Situational Awareness (SA) data on millimeter wave signals.
DESCRIPTION: The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) C5ISR Center is interested in experimenting with low-cost, very small Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) unattended ground sensors (UGS) to maintain situational awareness (SA) within a signal dense (e.g. urban centers) and contested (e.g. limited air superiority) area of operations that require a ubiquity of sensors not achievable by conventional means. The UGS would be readily distributed within an area of interest to provide the ability to sense the Cyber-Electromagnetic Environment (C-EME), allowing for the acquisition of data required to achieve Cyberspace Situational Understanding (CYBER SU) and improve network survivability. The collected sensor data would support multiple objectives, to include environment mapping, specific signal of interest detection and geo-referencing, and battle damage assessment. In addition, the UGS could be deployed hundreds of miles forward of a Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) from platforms such as high altitude (i.e. >60K feet) balloons to support acquisition of target data for long-range precision fires. The sensors could leverage emerging Internet of Things (IoT) protocols (or comparable performing waveforms) for data retrieval. Sensors will at a minimum contain the following core functionality: GPS, CPU, non-volatile memory storage, data retrieval waveform and Tx/Rx chain, power management system (to include battery), accelerometer (optional, but highly desirable), and compass (optional, but desirable). Given the small size, weight, power, and cost objectives, it is envisioned that such sensors would only perform a single specific sensing objective. However, the design would ideally allow for the rapid integration of various different types specific EM signals or other modalities (i.e. seismic) of interest within the core sensor package. C5ISR Center is seeking to partner with a small business to develop UGS that can affordably be distributed in mass quantities.The partner should analyze and describe trades involved in the various size, weight, power, cost, and longevity envelopes. Other Design Considerations: • Given the small size, weight, power, and cost objectives, it is not envisioned that sensors will be able to communicate and collaborate with each other. However, this is not prohibited. • A persistent connection between the data aggregation system and the sensor field cannot be assumed. The data aggregation system may only be present within range of the sensor field for a transient amount of time.
PHASE I: Develop an understanding of the key technical challenges that exist to support this concept.Identify components and build models (to include power budgets) of the very low cost, highly distributable unattended sensors described above. Conduct trade off studies on the use of existing IoT protocols, or comparable data retrieval waveforms. Work with the government to determine initial desired EM signal for the sensor to detect. Deliver a technical report of Phase I results.
PHASE II: Develop baseline UGS prototypes and demonstrate the sensor with a relevant representative environment.Demonstrate the use of identified data retrieval waveforms to collect data from the UGS as selected from phase 1 studies. Deliver multiple prototypes, in sufficient quantity, for C5ISR Center to fully vet the operational concept and performance of such a capability.
PHASE III: Advance the UGS sensor to TRL 7/8 and MRL 8.Modify the baseline UGS prototype design and develop variants that collect on additional EM signals and provide other functions such as seismic and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) monitoring.
KEYWORDS: Network/C3I, Long-Range Precision Fires, Battlefield Internet of Things (IoT), Unattended Ground Sensors
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