DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual

Active
Yes
Status
Open
Release Date
October 3rd, 2023
Open Date
October 3rd, 2023
Due Date(s)
March 31st, 2025
Close Date
March 31st, 2025
Topic No.
A244-003

Topic

Deep Terrain Shaping

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Deep Terrain Shaping" as part of its SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation. The Army branch is specifically interested in solutions or components of solutions that can delay, deter, and deny enemy forces freedom of movement 70-150km+ beyond the forward line of troops (FLOT). Currently, the Army uses cannon-fired or air-dropped anti-tank mines for terrain shaping, but these systems are aging and resource-intensive. The Army is looking for innovative technology solutions that can shape existing terrain, position explosive loitering munitions, activate when a threat is identified, and initiate lethal or non-lethal effectors from behind the front line. Integration of remote sensing and lethal effectors with human-in-the-loop is also of interest. The objective of Phase I is to design a proof-of-concept solution or component(s) for terrain shaping in the deep fight. Phase II involves developing and demonstrating a prototype, while Phase III focuses on commercialization objectives. The project duration is not specified, but the solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. More details can be found on the DOD SBIR website (https://www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/).

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy; Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Human Machine Interfaces; Directed Energy

 

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 and demonstrate solutions or components of solutions for terrain shaping to delay, deter, and deny enemy forces freedom of movement 70–150km+ beyond the forward line of troops (FLOT).

 

DESCRIPTION: The Army uses "terrain shaping" to impede enemy movement or operations. Terrain-shaping operations also help the mobility and survivability of friendly forces. Currently, the Army uses cannon-fired or air-dropped anti-tank mines to shape the deep maneuver area of the battlefield, which is 70km+ beyond the FLOT. The systems the Army currently uses to conduct terrain-shaping operations, while still broadly effective, are aging and resource intensive to emplace. Additionally, while current US anti-personnel landmine policy does not prevent the use of cannon-fired or air-dropped anti-tank mines, the policy does restrict  to the Korean peninsula the use of current systems using anti-personnel mines. This restriction prevents current systems from being a world-wide solution for terrain shaping. 

 

The Army is seeking deep terrain shaping obstacles (DTSO) that will delay, deter, and deny enemy forces 70–150km+ beyond the FLOT. DTSO solutions should delay operational maneuver through restricting terrain to defeat/destroy or to gain space/time, deny use of or access to key terrain/facilities, and deter operational movement of enemy forces. Technology solutions that contribute to one or more DTSO tasks are of particular interest. Solutions that will be considered, but not limited to, are the following:

 

Uncrewed systems capable of forming obstacles to shape existing terrain, affecting the adversary's ability to maneuver   
Uncrewed systems that can position multiple explosive loitering munitions 
Uncrewed systems that can position themselves in the deep battlespace and activate when a threat is identified 
Lethal or non-lethal effectors initiated from behind the front line to impact enemy maneuver in the deep fight (70–150km+)   
Integration of remote sensing and lethal effectors at machine speed with human-in-the-loop to approve lethal action  

 

Solutions should allow Soldiers to conduct terrain-shaping operations 70km+ beyond the FLOT. This may include technology solutions that can be employed by air or ground uncrewed systems or launched from a safe distance. If the solution includes a lethal munition it must be able to classify an/or discriminate between types of targets.

 

The Army desires flexibility in future terrain shaping methods. Solutions should incorporate the ability to be controlled (activated/deactivated) from behind the frontline. However, solutions with the potential to be controlled from behind the frontline will be considered. Ideally, solutions should be scalable for use depending on the desired effect on enemy maneuver (disrupt, turn, fix, or block).

 

PHASE I: Design a proof-of-concept solution or component(s) of a solution for terrain shaping in the deep fight (70–150km+). Solutions may include uncrewed systems to impact enemy maneuver in the deep battlespace, integrating remote sensing and lethal effects with human-in-the-loop, or other components that facilitate successful terrain shaping in the deep fight. Proposals will be evaluated based on the contributions they can provide to the overall terrain shaping effort and the likelihood of the technology providing an effective solution. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed effort, and to determine the quality of performance of the awarded companies prior to providing further support in Phase II. The final deliverable will be a concept design presentation, optional proof of technology demonstration, and plans for follow-on Phase II work.

 

Companies selected for a Phase I award may voluntarily participate in the Army Applications Laboratory (AAL) 12-week cohort program. The AAL cohort program is designed to solve specific Army modernization challenges on a compressed timeline. The cohort program matches qualified companies with Army problem owners to speed capability development, accelerate transition, and de-risk or inform requirements. This program is designed for businesses that have unique, applicable technology and are interested in growing a new line of business through the DoD.

 

The cohort program will enhance technology development through rapid exposure to Army stakeholders and the Army maneuver support community. Planned activities include a problem topic deep dive, in-person exposure to current breaching techniques, and stakeholder engagement with requirements writers, acquisitions managers, and end users. An example cohort program for this topic is: 

 

Week 1 (11 Mar 2024)               Orientation and problem deep-dive (in-person: Ft. Liberty, NC) 

Week 2 (18 Mar 2024)               Concept research and planning

Week 3 (25 Mar 2024)               Concept confirmation brief (virtual)

Week 4-6 (1 Apr 2024)              Concept research and planning

Week 7 (22 Apr 2024)               Mid-point concept refinement brief (in-person: Ft. Leonard Wood, MO)

Week 8-11 (29 Apr 2024)          Concept design refinement

Week 12 (27 May 2024)            Final concept design brief (in-person: Ft. Leonard Wood, MO)

 

Cohort programming will be provided free of charge. Proposers who plan to participate in the cohort (if awarded a Phase I) are encouraged to include travel costs for three cohort trips, within the continental US, for four days each (including travel days) for in-person programming. Details will be provided to awardees under this topic at Phase I award. 

 

PHASE II: Develop, build, and demonstrate a prototype of the concept advanced during Phase I. Prototypes should be capable of integration with existing Army systems and/or newly-developed systems from other awardees. They should also showcase modularity and prove effective during simulated or operational demonstrations. Phase II deliverables include a demonstration and delivery of a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 prototype for further Army evaluation, as well as quarterly and final reports detailing design and performance analysis of the prototype. Phase II proposals will be evaluated, in part, on cost reasonableness and speed of delivery of a TRL 6 prototype.

 

Awardees may also be eligible for Phase IIb award after completion of Phase II period of performance. Phase IIb can extend the period of performance with additional funding and additional matching opportunities to finish building out solutions with the stakeholders’ discretion.

 

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives through the effort. Companies may develop a manufacturing-ready product design, capable of integration with the existing or future system, and demonstrate technology integration. Low-rate production will occur as required. Companies will engage in laboratory or operational testing as required. Phase III deliverables include system-level integration technical data package, installation documentation, and system-level prototype for demonstration and government-sponsored testing.

 

WEBINAR DATE:

A webinar will be conducted for this solicitation on Friday, December 15, at 10:00am CT. Please register at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GMxtR8aERCCUmwVF_Em2sw

 

REFERENCES:

AUSA 2021 Warriors Corner: Next Gen Terrain Shaping: Dominating Movement and Maneuver in Multidomain Operations. (https://www.dvidshub.net/video/817483/ausa-2021-warriors-corner-next-gen-terrain-shaping-dominating-movement-and-maneuver-multi-domain-operations); 
MAJ Cain, Nicolas. (2021). Terrain Shaping Operations. 9_Cain.pdf (army.mil)

 

KEYWORDS: Terrain Shaping; Deep Battlespace; Barrier; Obstacle; Remote; Autonomous; Unmanned; Uncrewed

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