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ARCTIC FOX Sentinel

Description:

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software; Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Trusted AI and Autonomy

 

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a new class of Arctic, implanted or embedded passive focused sensor package (air, ground, surface, sub-surface, or a combination thereof) for a variety of surveillance and reconnaissance applications that will be air-deployed, and have the capability for detection of manned and unmanned platforms across difficult terrain such as swamps, desert, tundra, and snow or water bodies to satisfy the most demanding mobility requirements of airborne and expeditionary forces. The end goal is a fully autonomous, air deployable, self-aligning sensor package solution where a multiunit employment team in a communication-degraded and/or GPS-denied environment can complete a mission with minimal human supervision under extreme environmental conditions.

 

DESCRIPTION: There is interest in utilizing emerging classes of highly sensitive, miniature, and energy-efficient sensors to perform a variety of surveillance and reconnaissance applications in support of the Department of the Navy A Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic. This STTR topic seeks to develop and demonstrate a new class of implanted or embedded passive focused sensor package (air, ground, surface, subsurface, or a combination thereof) in the Arctic environment. These systems will be air deployed and have the capability to detect manned and unmanned platforms across difficult terrain such as swamps, desert, tundra, and snow or water bodies to satisfy the most demanding mobility requirements of airborne and expeditionary forces. The end goal is a fully autonomous, air deployable, sensor package solution where a multiunit employment team in a communication-degraded and GPS-denied environment can complete a mission with minimal human supervision under extreme environmental conditions.

 

Technical Challenges and System Attributes:

(a) air or ship deployable, direct personnel positioned and recoverable,

(b) envisioned sensors (minimum):

- hydrophone(s) for water, in-ice and under-ice long-range detection,

- magnetometer(s)/Gravimeter for long-range submarine and anomaly detection,

- electric field sensor(s) for perimeter and intruder surveillance,

- seismometer,

- electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret for airborne, perimeter and intruder surveillance,

- electronic warfare signals intelligence (EW SIGINT) (Receiver/Emitter),

(c) operate in temperatures ranging from: -49 °F (-45 °C) to 120 °F (49 °C),

(d) withstand 100 G impact on ice (air deployed),

(e) operate in a communication-degraded and/or GPS-denied environment,

(f) provide access for sensors below ice sheet: 1.5 m (Threshold)/15 m (Objective),

(g) deploy in difficult terrain such as swamps, desert, tundra, and snow or water bodies,

(h) endurance (switchable between modes):

-full operation: 168 hr (Threshold)/336 hr (Objective),

-sleep mode: 168 hr (Threshold)/336 hr (Objective,)

(i) real-time data output: longitude, latitude, altitude/height, velocity, sensor orientation (roll, pitch, yaw /heading), health status, calibrated raw data INS/GNSS (for post-processing),

(j) interfaces: RS422 (UART and HDLC/SDLC) Interfaces, CANaero/ARINC825/CAN, ARINC429, Ethernet (TCP/IP and UDP), SYNC-I/Os, and

(k) output and diagnostic measurement system included (full mission duration storage).

Phase I proposal should include envisioned conceptual overview, implementation/deployment vision, sensor selection, power distribution, data architecture, communication alerts, and notational software application.

 

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 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVAIR 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 during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

PHASE I: Describe sensor configuration, power generation, deployment methodology and operational features. Define sensor requirements (magnetometer/gravimeter, hydrophone sensors, electric field sensors, EW Receiver/Emitter, seismometer) in terms of power, volume, weight, noise and motion limitations, water access methodology, and so forth. Identify specific sensors or sensor suites (1–6) to be included, and develop the strategy and design of integration and scale of the sensor platform and onboard processing/architecture. Describe communications, logistics, and maintenance strategy. Define the autonomous/data fusion signal processing requirements and communications to allow cooperative sensor array technology collaboration/formation. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

 

PHASE II: Develop the sensor platform scaled to accommodate 1–6 sensor suites, and validate the sensor integration in terms of physical implementation, electronics, and communications. Perform land/sea trials of individual and system level components in terms of performance, operational agility, and sensor integration. Develop the autonomous/data fusion signal processing requirements and communications defined in Phase I. Perform land/sea trial tests validating sensor data for detection of manned and unmanned platforms. Evaluate sensor performance using both single and multiunit deployment. Demonstrate ability to deploy on difficult terrain such as swamps, desert, tundra, and snow or water bodies.

 

Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in Description paragraph.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete final testing and perform necessary integration and transition for use in monitoring operations, remote surveillance and reconnaissance applications with appropriate platforms and agencies, and future combat systems under development. Commercially, this product could be used to enable remote environmental and security monitoring.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. U.S. National Ice Center. “A blue Arctic: A strategic blueprint for the Arctic.” Department of the Navy, 2021. https://media.defense.gov/2021/Jan/05/2002560338/-1/-1/0/ARCTIC%20BLUEPRINT%202021%20FINAL.PDF/ARCTIC%20BLUEPRINT%202021%20FINAL.PDF
  2. McConville, J. C. “Regaining Arctic dominance: The U.S. Army in the Arctic.” Department of the Army, January 19, 2021. https://www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/about/2021_army_arctic_strategy.pdf
  3. Barrett, B. “Arctic strategy.” The Department of the Air Force, July 21, 2020. https://www.af.mil/Portals/1/documents/2020SAF/July/ArcticStrategy.pdf
  4. Tinto, K. J.; Padman, L.; Siddoway, C. S.; Springer, S. R.; Fricker, H. A.; Das, I.; Caratori Tontini, F.; Porter, D. F.; Frearson, N. P.; Howard, S. L.; Siegfried, M. R.; Mosbeux, C.; Becker, M. K;, Bertinato, C.; Boghosian, A.; Brady, N.; Burton, B. L.; Chu, W.; Cordero, S. I. … and Bell, R. E. “Ross Ice Shelf response to climate driven by the tectonic imprint on seafloor bathymetry.” Nature Geoscience, 12(6), May 27, 2019, pp. 441–449. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0370-2
  5. Wen, T.; Felton, W. J.; Luby, J. C.; Fox, W. L. J. and Kientz, K. L. “Environmental measurements in the Beaufort Sea, spring 1988 (Report # APL-UW TR 8822).” University of Washington,Mrch 1989. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA209675.pdf
  6. “National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq. (1993).” https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-32/subtitle-B/chapter-XX/part-2004
  7. Turgut, Altan and Schindall, Jeffrey. “Ice-Tethered Acoustic Buoys for Real-Time Acoustic Monitoring, Navigation, and Communication Through the Beaufort Lens (AD1194132).” February 24, 2023. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1194132.pdf

 

KEYWORDS: Arctic; Remote Sensing; Sensors; AI/ML; Data Fusion; Guard

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