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Launchable Mini Glider for Variable Payloads


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy 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 the Announcement. 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: Develop a launchable mini glider sensor platform able to survive 48 hours in service within the water column. DESCRIPTION: Unmanned gliders have demonstrated the ability to measure ocean environments for extended periods of time across vast ocean areas. As suggested by the term “glider,” such devices leverage physics to facilitate movement through the water and, as such, are more energy efficient than unmanned vehicles that require positive propulsion to travel or maintain station. Existing gliders are larger than a shipping pallet and must be launched from the deck of a surface ship. The Navy seeks to produce a launchable hybrid buoyancy glider sensor platform that survives 48 hours in the ocean in conditions up to sea state 6 (SS 6). The device will initially focus on measurement of the local sound speed profile (SSP), with a requirement that the device rise to the surface at least once every six hours to transmit collected environmental information to either satellites or proximate manned platforms involved in conducting Undersea Warfare (USW). As there are numerous unmanned systems at advanced stages of development, proposals of greatest interest will reflect an understanding of the total life-cycle and infrastructure required to produce tactical utility. Therefore, the proposed technology should provide a high level concept for how the glider would interact with the variety of platforms that would leverage the information collected by the glider. For example, the data could be transmitted using existing protocols via satellite networks, via radio frequency (RF) to combatants and air platforms above the surface of the water, and/or via acoustic emissions to submerged platforms or sensors. There are three standard form factors that could be launched from a wide variety of platforms: 1) the standard torpedo form factor (6.25 inches in diameter x 107 inches long) 2) the A-size sonobuoy form factor (4.875 inches in diameter x 36 inches long), and 3) the standard 3” countermeasure form factor (3 inches in diameter x up to 106 inches long) Though past attempts suggest it is unlikely the glider endurance and performance could fit in something as small as an A-size sonobuoy, the smaller form factors could potentially accommodate other systems to facilitate the utility of the primary glider, such as communication devices to extend the range to which the data collected by the hybrid buoyancy glider could be transmitted. Because the A-size form factor is compatible with all platforms that perform USW, proposers are advised that any A-size form factor element of a proposed system expanding the utility of the hybrid buoyancy glider would be expected to conform to the following objectives: 1. Packaging: LAU-126A Sonobuoy Launch Container (SLC) or equivalent 2. Weight: Max 39 lbs. (bare, not including the SLC) 3. Stowed Dimensions: 4.875” diameter x 36” length 4. Storage: 5 years shelf life 5. Launch Envelope: Full Sonobuoy production specification 6. Temperature – operational from -20°C to 50°C 7. Cost: In final form, The initial payload desired for the glider platform would be the measurement of sound speed as a function of depth, the SSP already mentioned. However, the utility of the launchable device would increase in proportion to the flexibility of payload options the glider platform could accommodate. 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 Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor 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. All DoD Information Systems (IS) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) systems will be categorized in accordance with Committee on National Security Systems Instruction (CNSSI) 1253, implemented using a corresponding set of security controls from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53, and evaluated using assessment procedures from NIST SP 800-53A and DoD-specific (KS) (Information Assurance Technical Authority (IATA) Standards and Tools). The Contractor shall support the Assessment and Authorization (A&A) of the system. The Contractor shall support the government’s efforts to obtain an Authorization to Operate (ATO) in accordance with DoDI 8500.01 Cybersecurity, DoDI 8510.01 Risk Management Framework (RMF) for DoD Information Technology (IT), NIST SP 800-53, NAVSEA 9400.2-M (October 2016), and business rules set by the NAVSEA Echelon II and the Functional Authorizing Official (FAO). The Contractor shall design the tool to their proposed RMF Security Controls necessary to obtain A&A. The Contractor shall provide technical support and design material for RMF assessment and authorization in accordance with NAVSEA Instruction 9400.2-M by delivering OQE and documentation to support assessment and authorization package development. Contractor Information Systems Security Requirements. The Contractor shall implement the security requirements set forth in the clause entitled DFARS 252.204-7012, “Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting,” and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171. PHASE I: Develop a concept for a launchable device and any required supporting devices capable of meeting the required parameters for the purpose of measuring SSPs. Demonstrate that the key attributes of the concept’s feasibility meet the parameters in the Description. Feasibility must be demonstrated through modeling and analysis. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II. PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype launchable glider device and required supporting devices based on the results of Phase I. Additional testing of prototypes to support analyses of device survivability in the ocean environment would also be conducted by the company to support a decision on the part of the Navy. It is possible that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the launchable glider and any required supporting devices. Navy interest in a launchable device hosting a sensor module is focused on devices that can be easily launched from platforms conducting USW, which puts priority on solutions that fit one or more of the standard military form factors identified in the description. The core sound speed profile measurement capability would enable persistent measurement of the key factors associated with sound propagation. Potential dual use of the launchable mini-glider device would be for ocean exploration, such as the oil and gas industry, and characterization of oceanographic properties for the study of marine wildlife. REFERENCES: 1. “Bathythermograph (XBT) data from US Navy ships of opportunity and other platforms: 06 June 1974 to 12 November 1974 (NODC Accession 8300103).” National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce. 2. Cauchy, Pierre, et al. “Wind Speed Measured from Underwater Gliders Using Passive Acoustics,” Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, Volume 35: Issue 12, 1 December 2018. 3. Mitchell, Major General P.J. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Oceanographic Data Exchange Format (NODEF-1), Standardization Agreement (STANAG), promulgated 30 November 1983. KEYWORDS: Sound speed profile; SSP; hybrid buoyancy glider; sensor module; expendable bathythermograph’ XBT; launchable device; Sea State 6; SS 6
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