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Deployable Directional Plasma Sensor




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: Detect photons emitted from small volumes of high temperature plasmas with sufficient directional data to locate the source.


DESCRIPTION: A directional sensor for photons emitted from high temperature plasmas would improve remote object identification and location capabilities by providing data to existing sensor suites that would significantly reduce the quantity, in both time and computational resources, of effort necessary to identify remote objects, increase the confidence of the object’s identity, and increase the range at which the object is both identified and located with confidence.


PHASE I: Establish the technical basis of the solution, with possible small scale validation and theoretical analysis of the effectiveness.  Initial Deployable Directional Plasma Sensor design studies, to include existing navy Launchers, that have the potential to provide over-the-horizon tracking and targeting capabilities to the Aegis Weapons System.


PHASE II: Develop and field test initial prototype Deployable Directional Plasma Sensor design that could be installed on either an in-service DDG-51 class destroyer, or the Navy's Self Defense Test Ship for:

• Evaluation of Space, Weight, and Power – Cooling (SWaP-C)

• Demonstrate successful launch and flight of UAV from ship at sea

• Evaluate existing UAV in-flight guidance and control capabilities aboard ship at sea

• Based on Phase I results, demonstrate integration with Mk 53 Nulka DLS or better launcher option


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The solution would be utilized in relevant test environments, through collaboration with OEMs or whoever the next higher tier user would be.  The technology would be further developed for commercial applicability.



  1. Introduction to Plasma Physics - Univ of Texas Austin.pdf  chapter 2 August 2, 1997
  2. MIT Researchers 3D Print Precise Plasma Sensors for Satellites. 


KEYWORDS: Plasma; Sensor; Detect Photons; Directional Data

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