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Acquisition, Tracking and Pointing Technologies for High Energy Laser Applications


OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate advanced and innovative components, algorithms and electronics supporting next generation acquisition, tracking and pointing (ATP) sensor and jitter control technologies to provide support to future missile defense missions using significantly less components than traditional applications. Even though ATP is a broad topic, the MDA focus areas for this year are listed by priority below. Offerors MUST direct their proposal to one of the three topic areas otherwise, the proposal will be non-compliant. If the offeror has a question or clarification, they are highly encouraged to contact the topic authors to discuss the subject before submitting a proposal. The three (3) focus areas corresponding to this topic arranged by priority are: Focus Area I: Low noise, high sensitivity and high bandwidth detector arrays used to collect and count electrons with mission applicable quantum efficiency. Low noise, high sensitivity, high bandwidth detector arrays are of absolute importance for future ATP missions. The ability to accurately capture and count electrons from a source is critical for more effective tracking capabilities in high altitude environments. The predicted area of performance will be in the 1 micrometer wavelength realm. Focus Area II: Airborne hyper-spectral sensors for ballistic and airborne target applications able to detect short, mid and long wavelengths. The hyper-spectral sensor"s algorithm should be able to integrate the different wavelengths and output a combined image. Airborne hyper-spectral sensor for ballistic and airborne targets is another important ATP technology which will provide future programs with exceptional capabilities such as target identification. The hyper-spectral sensor should be able to integrate the sensed wavelengths into one coherent image for this purpose. Focus Area III: Jitter suppression algorithms and their requisite supporting control electronics to utilize and control jitter through the optical train. These technologies include but are not limited to fast steering mirrors, optical inertial reference units, inertial sensors for precision pointing and inertial stabilization, optical sensors for jitter and/or image stabilization, algorithms and control electronics/processors. Jitter suppression is required on several Missile Defense Agency (MDA) systems including future interceptor concepts. The ability to accurately track an object of interest from a platform undergoing base motion disturbances due to system operations is critical. The interest remains in ATP technologies that will allow higher performance tracking and pointing in realistic environments. Sub-microradian performance is required for many missions. DESCRIPTION: All focus area proposed hardware MUST address packaging for high altitude airborne applications at a minimum and supporting interceptor applications will be considered a plus. This requires specific emphasis on size, weight and power (SWaP) for proposed electronics. The environmental parameters that should be addressed for any hardware proposed include: High altitude airborne operations in near vacuum conditions (optional traceability to space operations in vacuum a plus); components should have a shelf life of at least 5 years to accommodate payload integration and a service life of a minimum of 5 years. The components have to operate in a radiation environment. For high altitude airborne applications, the offerors should address proton and gamma radiation with a minimum total dose of 10 kRad with special emphasis placed on single event upset (SEU) and single event latch-up (SEL). Demonstrating a path to 100-300 kRad hardness is a plus. The operating temperature range drives concept and capabilities with -54 degrees C to 40 degrees C desired to cover several requirements. For long term survival temperature range -60 to 71 degrees C is desired. PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the proposed algorithms and electronics architecture or other ATP component. Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis (MS&A) of the design must be presented to demonstrate the offeror understands the physical principles, performance potential, scaling laws, etc. MS&A results must clearly demonstrate how near-term goals will be met, at a minimum. Proof of concept hardware development and test is highly desirable. Proof of concept demonstration may be subscale or specific risk reduction activities associated with critical components or technologies. Test results (if performed) should be used in conjunction with MS&A results to verify scaling laws and feasibility. Phase I will include the development of plans to further develop/exploit this technology in Phase II. Offerors are strongly encouraged to work with system and/or payload contractors to help ensure applicability of their efforts and begin work towards technology transition. No specific contact information will be provided by the topic authors. PHASE II: Complete critical design of prototype component including all supporting MS&A. Fabricate a prototype or engineering demonstration unit (EDU) and perform characterization testing within the financial and schedule constraints of the program to show level of performance achieved compared to stated government goals. In addition, environmental testing, especially radiation testing (if required), is highly encouraged in this phase if selected components do not have radiation performance data. The final report shall include comparisons between MS&A and test results, including identification of performance differences or anomalies and reasons for the deviation from MS&A predictions. The contractor should keep in mind the goal of commercialization of this innovation for the Phase III effort to which end they should have working relationships with, and support from system, spacecraft, and/or payload contractors. PHASE III: Develop and execute a plan to market and manufacture the product developed in Phase II. Assist the Missile Defense Agency in transitioning this technology to the appropriate Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) prime contractor(s) for the engineering integration and testing. COMMERCIALIZATION: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in such diverse fields as commercial satellite imagery, optical (laser) communications, law enforcement, rescue and recovery operations, maritime and aviation collision avoidance sensors, medical uses and homeland defense applications.
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