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Radar Waveforms to Discern Remote Object Attributes


OBJECTIVE: Develop signal waveform characteristics and processing algorithms that will deduce sensor-invariant attributes of a tracked object so that it can be classified, discriminated and evaluated for engagement. Physics-based approaches are sought for broadest utility and general applicability. DESCRIPTION: The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is seeking the development of enhanced radio frequency (RF) signal waveform characteristics and associated processing algorithms to improve Aegis BMD engagement capability in raid environments. Tracking information beyond target position and velocity is needed to discern sensor-independent taxonomy of missile threats and the intent of closely spaced targets. To date most RF techniques have concentrated on target detection and tracking (i.e., position and velocity over time). Employing novel RF waveform characteristics such as modulation, timing and phasing to deduce other target characteristics such as its reflective, emissive, inertial and material properties could significantly enhance radar effectiveness and increase the probability of engagement success. To be most effective, however, new RF waveform characteristics should require minimal changes to the radar hardware and use RF data processing algorithms that can be implemented in existing signal processors. Although enhanced RF data processing algorithms specific to Aegis may be able to provide some additional target characteristics, the approach for this effort should be primarily physics-based (i.e., centered on the use of novel RF waveform characteristics) for broadest utility and general applicability. PHASE I: Develop and Design new RF waveforms with novel characteristics that can help deduce target characteristics beyond just position and velocity. Develop a non-operational model showing how the new RF waveform characteristics can deduce such target characteristics as reflectivity, emissive properties, material construction, and others characteristics. Include the associated processing algorithms that will support the new RF waveforms. These new RF waveform characteristics must be largely compatible with the existing AN/SPY-1 radar, and the associated algorithms must be supported using existing Aegis BMD signal processing capabilities. The output of the Phase I shall be a proof of concept design/study; identify designs/models and test capabilities, and conduct a feasibility assessment for the proposed model, technique, and/or methods. Phase I work should clearly validate the viability of the proposed solution. Phase I should also result in a clear concept of operations document. PHASE II: Based on the results and findings of Phase I, develop and refine the novel RF waveform designs, increase the capabilities of the associated algorithms, and exercise the enhanced non-operational model to evaluate the effectiveness of the new RF waveforms. Then demonstrate the capability of an operational or a slightly modified SPY-1 radar to support the new RF waveforms during target detection and tracking, and measure any increase in overall radar effectiveness. The Phase II objective will be to validate a new technology solution that MDA users and prime contractors can transition in phase III. Validate the feasibility of the Phase I concept by development and demonstrations that will be tested to ensure performance objectives are met. Validation would include, but not be limited to, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration subsystem. The goal of the Phase II effort is to demonstrate technology solution viability. PHASE III: In this phase, the contractor will apply the innovations demonstrated in the first two phases to one or more MDA systems, subsystems, or components. The objective of Phase III is to demonstrate the scalability of the developed technology, transition the component technology to the MDA system integrator or payload contractor, mature it for operational insertion, and demonstrate the technology in an operational level environment. COMMERCIALIZATION: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies and models developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in such diverse fields as air traffic control, weather systems, and other tracking applications.
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