Release Date
November 29th, 2023
Open Date
January 3rd, 2024
Due Date(s)
February 21st, 2024
Close Date
February 21st, 2024
Topic No.


Mobile Target Tracking


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Mobile Target Tracking" in their SBIR 24.1 BAA solicitation. The objective is to develop a target tracking method that can autonomously track ground targets based on operator selection from sensor data. The method should provide feedback to a flight controller and allow the vehicle to track and follow the target without further input. The technology should be integrated on an FAA Group 2 Unmanned Aircraft System and capable of tracking ground targets from a distance or as part of a loitering munition system. The method should reduce manpower requirements, dependence on GPS, and system resources. The desired capabilities include simple integration, interoperability with different sensor types, a simple user interface, and the ability to process data and provide flight commands fast enough to track a mobile target moving at up to 80km/h. The project will have a Phase I for trade studies and engineering design, a Phase II for development and testing, and a Phase III for dual-use applications. The technology has potential applications in military, government, and commercial fields such as crop monitoring, traffic monitoring, site security, and police surveillance. The solicitation is closed, and more information can be found on the DOD SBIR website.


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): 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: Develop a target tracking method that can be utilized to autonomously track targets based on operator selecting a ground target from sensor data  . The method will provide feedback to a flight controller carrying an appropriate sensor and allow the vehicle to track and follow the target without further input from an operator. The method should be sized to be integrated on an FAA Group 2 Unmanned Aircraft System and could be utilized for tracking ground targets from a distance or tracking ground targets as part of a loitering munition system and should be capable of provided guidance data for both use cases.


DESCRIPTION: Unmanned air vehicles play an important role in today’s military operations. They are invaluable in locating time critical targets, reporting enemy positions and movements to battlefield commanders, and destroying tactical targets.


Projected great power competitions nearly always include the loss of ability to use Global Positioning System (GPS) for guidance. In today’s Department of Defense, GPS is used for a multitude of missions including guiding reconnaissance aircraft and munitions. The objective of this topic is to develop a method to autonomously track a selected target that will reduce manpower requirements, dependence on GPS, and system resources in the amount of bandwidth taken up by having to be continuously connected to the aircraft.


The method should have the ability to track and follow one mobile target from a distance as in a reconnaissance mission, as well as track a mobile target and provide data to achieve terminal guidance and successful strike as in the case of a small loitering munition. To fit this mission, any system under consideration should fit inside the normal hardware and software constraints of a Group 2.


Any hardware or software approach is appropriate. However, it is anticipated that some approaches will utilize commercially available hardware, such as gimbled electro-optical/infrared sensors, and implement a software solution to interpret the data gathered and translate it into flight control commands to guide the system.


Some key desired capabilities of the method are:

•           Simply integration onto a multitude of small platforms

•           Interoperability with different sensor types and/or different brands of the same sensor

•           A simple and intuitive user interface

•           Process data and provide flight commands fast enough to allow an appropriately capable aircraft to track a mobile target moving at up to 80km/h   all the way through impact

•           Potential targets could include, but aren’t limited to, sedans, small trucks, armored personnel carriers, and dismounted personnel



PHASE I: The contractor shall provide trade studies & engineering design necessary to define the operational system & associated technologies.  The contractor shall show evidence that key enabling technologies are adequately mature (e.g. Technology Readiness Level >=6).  Key enabling technologies shall include but aren’t limited to sensor hardware, sensor software, target tracking software, interface links with flight control surfaces, user interfaces, data processing systems.


PHASE II: The contractor shall develop and test a method that provides the capability to track a mobile target moving at speeds up to 80km/h, selected by an operator. The test program shall culminate in a demonstration, on a government test range, striking a moving target using only guidance provided by the system under development with a surrogate loitering munition platform.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The various technologies developed in Phase II are applicable to military and government applications. There are potential commercial applications in a wide range of diverse fields that include crop and traffic monitoring as well as site security and police surveillance.



1. Part 107 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Gettinger, Dan, and Arthur Holland Michel. "Loitering munitions." Center for the Study of the Drone (2017).
Zhang, Zhidong, et al. "Research on speed scheme for precise attack of miniature loitering munition." Mathematical Problems in Engineering 2020 (2020): 1-19.;


KEYWORDS: Loitering munition, small UAS, Group 1, Group 2, unmanned, unmanned aerial system, autonomous, mobile target tracking, targeting