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


Operational Arctic Aerospace Warning & Control to Enhance Information Dominance & Domain Awareness for Rapid Decision Making


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Operational Arctic Aerospace Warning & Control to Enhance Information Dominance & Domain Awareness for Rapid Decision Making" as part of the SBIR 24.1 BAA. The objective of this research is to develop methods to enhance air domain awareness (ADA) in the Arctic using low-cost existing and emerging technological solutions. The Arctic region presents unique challenges due to its harsh climate, limited infrastructure, and the need for equipment to withstand extreme temperatures and corrosive environments. The research will focus on the development of low-cost passive or active sensors, information, or other novel applications of traditional equipment to improve ADA in the Arctic. The project will be conducted in two phases, with Phase I involving a feasibility study and Phase II focusing on the development of an observing network. The contractor will also have opportunities for commercialization and transitioning the technology to government and civilian users. The project is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulation (EAR) due to the sensitive technical data involved. The application due date for this solicitation is February 21, 2024. For more information, visit the SBIR topic link or the solicitation agency website.


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy; Advanced Computing and Software; Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Human-Machine Interfaces; Integrated Network System-of-Systems


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 methods to enhance ADA using low-cost existing and emerging technological solutions that can operate all seasons in the Arctic above 70N latitude.


DESCRIPTION: The Arctic has a complex environment to operate in.  Geographically, the Arctic region consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of eight nations: the United States, Canada, The Kingdom of Denmark (which includes Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden (AF Arctic Strategy).  The area above the 66 degrees North latitude Arctic Circle is almost 2.5 times the size of the continental United States and mostly over ocean.  Due to climatological reasons, the North American Arctic hosts a much harsher climate than the European Arctic.  The thick, multi-year ice around the coast lines means there is significantly less road and maritime infrastructure compared with the European Arctic.  While roads can be made on the snow in the winter, the changing climate removes this stable surface. Melting permafrost and coastal erosion creates a much less stable environment for transportation and infrastructure.  When operating any electronic equipment in the Arctic region, the equipment must be able to withstand extremely cold temperatures, corrosive environments, and damage from sea life like Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes who are known to rip apart or play with buoys in the ice (Author’s experience).  Because of this, the Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) is particularly reliant on ground-based line of site systems to provide rapid access, reach, and air domain awareness in the AOR.   A solution is required that takes into account the complexities of achieving ADA in the arctic environment for both current and future threats. This Phase 1 SBIR focuses on any emerging or existing technology that can contribute to the ability to perform Aerospace Warning (AW) and Aerospace Control (AC) in the Arctic beyond the line of site ground-based systems as a connected system.  It focuses on low-cost passive or active sensors, information, or other novel applications of traditional equipment in a broader electromagnetic spectrum range (RADAR, EO&IR, etc.).  The equipment operating environment must be able to operate in temperatures ranges from –40 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius, where an average of 20-50 cm of snow fall on the sea ice in the winter, average salinity of the ocean from 32 to 37 PSU, and with relative humidities up to 100% (NSIDC).


PHASE I: Demonstrate a method or conduct a feasibility study that is capable of enhancing ADA in the Arctic for operational use.  The method should employ existing and emerging sensors, services, techniques, and solutions that integrate into existing programs of record and data lakes within the Air Force and CDAO office.


PHASE II: Development of an observing network using one or more sensors, services, techniques, and solutions at low-cost that integrate into the operational picture for air domain awareness in the Arctic.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for transitioning expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Direct access with end users and government customers will be provided with opportunities to receive Phase III awards for providing the government additional research & development, or direct procurement of products and services developed in coordination with the program. 



Fesler, Peter M., Brigadier General USAF & O’Shaughnessy, Terrence J., General USAF "Hardening the Shield: A Credible Deterrent & Capable Defense for North America" Canada Institute September 2020;
Vanherck, Glen D., General USAF, "NORAD and USNORTHCOM Strategy Executive Summary" March 2021;
Savitz, Scott, "Strategic Competition in the Arctic- European Security & Defence/Maritime Defence Monitor, Combined Special Issue, pages 36-41 (October 2022)";
Tingstad, Abbie and Savitz, Scott, "U.S. Military May Need to Invest More in Arctic Capabilities" the RAND Blog, February 10, 2022;
The White House "National Strategy for the Arctic Region" October 2022;
Lee, Caitlin, PHD and Poling, Aidan, "Bolstering Arctic Domain Awareness to Deter Air & Missile Threats to the Homeland- MITCHELL INSTITUTE Policy Paper" Vol. 41, June 2023;
The Department of the Air Force “The Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy,” 2020;
Multiple Authors, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC);


KEYWORDS: Arctic Mobile Observing Systems; arctic capability; improved northern acoustic monitoring; northern communication capabilities; arctic communication capabilities; arctic sea ice acoustic monitoring; arctic sea ice ground based sensor