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Weapons Pitch Day – Commonality


TECH FOCUS AREAS: Cybersecurity; Network Command, Control and Communications; Autonomy; Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning; 5G; General Warfighting Requirements (GWR) TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground Sea; Sensors; Electronics; Materials; Information Systems; Air Platform; Battlespace 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 proposed tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the Announcement and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the Air Force SBIR/STTR Help Desk: OBJECTIVE: The Armament Directorate is searching for concepts to develop, share, and swap subsystems and microservices across the munitions portfolio. The increased rate of tactical change we anticipate in a high-end fight dictates an increased acquisition and fielding tempo. Air delivered armaments share similar “architectural domains” such as guidance, navigation, and control systems, warheads, propulsion systems, seekers, etc. We need highly modular and software defined capabilities, maximum reuse of software and hardware architectures across services and mission areas, and a challenge-based acquisitions approach to maximize competition for system subcomponents. Of interest are common, small form factor, hardware architectures that fit within a 5” tube, use of commercial heterogeneous System on Chip (SoC), System on Module (SoM) or System in Package (SiP) to reduce Size/Weight/Power/Cost and unclassified Weapons Open System Architecture (WOSA) implementation models leveraging the Systems Modeling Language (SysML). Modularity and commonality must also address efficient design by leveraging advanced artificial intelligence methods like generative design to eliminate parasitic weapon weight, increasing battery efficiency (Wh/kg) and solid rocket motor efficiency (Isp). Lastly, the Directorate seeks the ability to evolve toward a common software centric development organization. As our weapons become modular and software defined, it is critical that we begin adopting and developing methods for agile embedded software design and acquisition. The ultimate goal is to enable the adoption and establishment of modular software architectures, frameworks, and acquisition best practices to expedited system upgrades, leverage reuse and collaboration across Services and mission areas. DESCRIPTION: Specific initiatives include: The Armament Directorate is searching for concepts with increased standoff range and reach outside of threat range. These concepts must allow Blue aircraft to effectively prosecute targets in the air and on the ground. Intended targets include fighters, soft stationary ground targets, hardened targets, moving ground targets, and maritime targets. Specific initiatives include: -Decreased parasitic weight through: --AI enabled generative design (strong back, lugs, etc.) --Novel high performance polymers & super alloys --Additive manufacturing methods (5-axis, selective laser melting (SLM), directed-energy deposition (DED), etc.) --Increased hypersonic and supersonic engine efficiency --Increased battery efficiency to maximize Watt-hour per kilogram (Wh/kg) --Reliable alternatives to thermal batteries to allow lighter transmission cables (high voltage, low current) --Increased solid rocket motor efficiency to maximize specific impulse (Isp) -Advanced survivability measures -System-Level Performance Considerations: --Upstream energy deposition (forward facing gas jet, converging radiation, etc.) to manipulate shock structures --Formation Flying to Reduce Drag --Off-Design Engine Performance Improvement -- Exergy-based Performance Analysis Tools (Energy Utilization vs. Entropy Generation) The Armament Directorate is probing concepts that permit Blue Forces to leverage large numbers of relatively low-cost weapons systems simultaneously. These innovative technologies could have low-cost materials and manufacturing processes, low-cost propulsion systems, modular open-system payload architectures, and disposable or re-usable dispenser vehicles. Specific initiatives include: -Expedited/affordable gas-turbine engine prototyping enabled by advanced manufacturing The Armament Directorate is pursuing ideas that permit Blue Forces to command various collaborative weapons to employ coordinated tactics to ensure success. A dynamic battlespace requires automated, adaptive weapons systems, and cooperative tactics. Specific technologies under analysis include: -Artificial intelligence algorithms with “dialable” human influence -Target identification schema -Target prioritization algorithms -Collaborative weapons playbook scripts -Datalink technologies and theories -Miniaturized, reliable electronics -Electronic warfare concepts and capabilities The Armament Directorate is pursuing concepts focused on enabling Blue Forces to utilize weapons as major contributors to multi-domain command and control (MDC2) space. Specific technologies of interest include: -Low-cost, multi spectral seekers -Data transmission and evaluation software/algorithms -Software defined radio antennas -Beyond-line-of-sight communications The Armament Directorate seeks concepts with non-kinetic effects that are either interchangeable with kinetic weapons of connected to them. These concepts should increase Blue Forces’ magazine depth and present new armament delivered capabilities to the battlefield. Many non-kinetic weapons are electric powered derived and afford the potential for multiple “shots” per weapon engagement versus a traditional kinetic weapon. Other non-kinetic effects provide different affects than kinetic weapons that may be as effective in the battle space as a kinetic weapon with lower cost and/or in a smaller package. The Armament Directorate is investigating applying the Weapon GRA to an inventory weapon as a surrogate implementation. This ensures the GRA is robust enough to model current weapons and allow changes/improvements to the GRA to assist in improving the GRA in an agile manner. Specific initiatives the Armament Directorate is interested in pursuing include: -Subsystem or Systems-of-Systems architectures based on commercial heterogeneous System on Chip (SoC), System on Module (SoM) or System in Package (SiP) approaches -Ruggedized commercial hardware small form factor implementations (fit in ≤ 5” tube) -Embedded and hardened containerization architectures for Real-Time Operating Systems -Industry or Government hardware/software standards mapped to the Weapons Open System Architecture (WOSA) logical domains -Scalable propulsion families -Common Flight Termination Systems. PHASE I: This topic is intended for technology proven ready to move directly into a Phase II. Therefore, a Phase I award is not required. The offeror is required to provide detail and documentation in the Direct to Phase II proposal which demonstrates accomplishment of a “Phase I like” effort, including a feasibility study. This includes determining, insofar as possible, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of ideas appearing to have commercial potential. It must have validated the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential AF stakeholder. The offeror should have defined a clear, immediately actionable plan with the proposed solution and the AF customer. The feasibility study should have:-Identified the prime potential AF end user(s) for the non-Defense commercial offering to solve the AF need, i.e., how it has been modified; -Described integration cost and feasibility with current mission-specific products; and -Described if/how the demonstration can be used by other DoD or Governmental customers. PHASE II: Under the Phase II effort, the offeror shall sufficiently develop the technical approach, product, or process in order to conduct a small number of advanced digital, manufacturing and/or sustainment relevant demonstrations. Identification of manufacturing/production issues and or business model modifications required to further improve product or process relevance to improved sustainment costs, availability, or safety, should be documented. Air Force sustainment stakeholder engagement is paramount to successful validation of the technical approach. These Phase II awards are intended to provide a path to commercialization, not the final step for the proposed solution. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III efforts will focus on transitioning the developed technology to a working commercial or warfighter solution. REFERENCES: 1. KEYWORDS: Microelectronics; Cybersecurity; Network Command; Command and Control; General Warfighting Requirements;
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