OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy; Integrated Sensing and Cyber
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: The Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) has identified the need to develop effective countermeasures to mitigate the emerging threat of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The AFSFC's objective is to enhance UAS tracking capabilities, which align with the Secretary of the Air Force's (SECAF) operational imperative of achieving tactical air dominance, moving target engagement and operationally focused Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
DESCRIPTION: To effectively mitigate the threat posed by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to USAF personnel, assets, and operations, the UAS tracking device must be designed to be easily deployable and operable by personnel in the field. The device should be compact and lightweight to allow for easy transport to different locations and quick setup. The UAS tracking device should be able to detect and track multiple UAS simultaneously and provide real-time updates on their position, speed, altitude, and other relevant information. It should also be able to differentiate between friendly and hostile UAS and provide alerts when potential threats are detected. These features will help provide an accurate and timely understanding of the UAS activity in the surrounding airspace, allowing USAF personnel to respond quickly and effectively to any potential threat. To ensure maximum effectiveness, the UAS tracking device should be designed to integrate with other USAF systems and equipment, such as command and control systems and other UAS detection and tracking devices. The integration will provide a comprehensive view of the UAS activity in the surrounding airspace and enhance situational awareness, enabling rapid response to potential threats. Furthermore, the UAS tracking device should be capable of operating in diverse environments and weather conditions. It should be rugged and durable, able to withstand harsh weather conditions, and operate in extreme temperatures. This ensures the device can be deployed in different locations and environments, providing comprehensive UAS tracking capabilities across the entire spectrum of operations.
PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the Offeror to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior SBIR/STTR funding agreement. "Phase I-type" development will have involved a comprehensive requirements analysis to determine the exact capabilities and features needed for the UAS tracking device. This "phase" would have involved gathering input from a wide range of stakeholders, including USAF operators, cybersecurity experts, and other technical experts to understand the operational and technical requirements. This would have also included a review of the current UAS threat landscape to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. The requirements analysis would lay the groundwork for the subsequent development phases and help ensure that the final product meets the needs of the USAF.
PHASE II: Technology Development; The second phase of development would focus on the design and development of the UAS tracking device. This would involve selecting the appropriate technology components, such as sensors, processors, and communication systems, and integrating them into a functional system. This phase would require a team of experts in various technical fields, such as electronics, software development, and mechanical engineering, to work together to develop a prototype UAS tracking device. The device would be tested extensively in a controlled environment to ensure that it meets the requirements identified in the first phase. Once the device has been successfully developed and tested, it can be further refined and optimized for deployment in the field.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Tracking device development could involve exploring dual-use applications for the product. Dual-use applications are those that can be utilized by both military and civilian organizations for a range of purposes. The UAS tracking device, designed for military use, could have several potential dual-use applications, such as; Border Security; UASs have increasingly been used by criminal organizations to smuggle drugs, weapons, and other contraband across borders. The UAS tracking device could be utilized by border security agencies to detect and track these UASs and help prevent illegal activities. Critical Infrastructure Protection: UASs have the potential to be used as weapons to target critical infrastructure, such as power plants, airports, and government buildings. The UAS tracking device could be used to detect and track UASs near these sensitive locations and provide alerts to security personnel to respond appropriately.
- Air Force Instruction (AFI) 13-204 https://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3/publication/afman13-204v1/afman13-204v1.pdf
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations; https://www.faa.gov/uas
- Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 3200.11 https://www.esd.whs.mil/#
KEYWORDS: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS); Tracking; Security; Air Force; Countermeasures; Detection; Threats; Situational awareness; Technology;