DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.


FLOATS - Floating and Loitering Ocean Advanced Technology Sensing


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "FLOATS - Floating and Loitering Ocean Advanced Technology Sensing" as part of their SBIR 24.2 Annual solicitation. The Air Force is specifically interested in low-cost persistent grid sensors technologies that can provide atmospheric and maritime research data from the surface down to 50 meters. The main objective is to develop new ISR capabilities that are easy to deploy, operate, and recover, while being inexpensive and quick to manufacture. These capabilities should persist in the same geography for weeks or months, integrate into existing data processing architectures, and be difficult to detect and seize by adversaries. The deliverables for this project will include sub-scale experiments, tests, and demonstrations that advance operational imperatives. Phase I awards will not be made for this topic, as it is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic. Phase II efforts will focus on conducting sub-scale experiments and providing test articles for further testing and demonstration. Phase III will involve upgrading analysis, modeling and simulation, test and evaluation results, and providing mature prototypes of system concepts. The goal of Phase III is to transition the technology and system concepts to commercial applications, expanding mission capability for both governmental and civilian users. The deadline for proposal submission is June 12, 2024. For more information, visit the solicitation agency's website at [solicitation_agency_url].


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Mission Readiness & Disaster Preparedness; Sustainment & Logistics


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: This topic seeks to perform concept exploration, prototype development, sub-scale experiments, test and evaluation of technology that is able to deliver low-cost persistent grid sensors technologies with the ability to station keep providing atmospheric and maritime research data


DESCRIPTION: The Air Force and Department of Defense struggle to provide domain awareness across millions of square kilometers of ocean in INDOPACOM, CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM and even on its own test ranges in NORTHCOM. There are limited manned and unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to patrol these geographies. Space-based ISR assets are also limited in number, provide episodic coverage and often focused on higher priority operational tasks beyond domain awareness. While the DAF and wider DOD have relied for 20+ years on uncontested ISR coverage to make critical decisions, a peer adversary will very likely immediately challenge all ISR coverage in pursuit of an anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) strategy.


The DAF needs new ISR capabilities which are easy to emplace, operate and recover; are inexpensive and quick to manufacture; persist in the same geography for weeks or months at a time; easily integrated into existing and future data processing architectures; scale to enormous geographies; can be operated nearly autonomously or with limited human input; and are not vulnerable to adversary weapons; and in a limited fashion can both avoid adversarial discovery and seizure, while remaining small and difficult to find.


The AFRL Integrated Capabilities Directorate seeks low-cost persistent grid sensors technologies with the ability to station keep providing atmospheric and maritime research data from the surface down to 50 meters. The main deliverables will be sub-scale experiments, tests, and demonstrations that advance the operational imperatives.


PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement. This includes determining, insofar as possible, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of ideas appearing to have commercial potential. It must have validated the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential AF stakeholder. The offeror should have defined a clear, immediately actionable plan with the proposed solution and the AF customer. Relevant areas of demonstrated experience and success include: M&S, cost benefit analysis, risk analysis, concept development, concept demonstration and concept evaluation, laboratory experimentation and field testing.


Phase I type efforts should include the assessment of emerging operational imperatives and how they show a measurable value and operational impact. The result of Phase I type efforts is to assess and demonstrate whether commercial systems can support the furtherance of the operational imperatives.


Eligibility for a D2P2 is predicated on the offeror having performed a “Phase I-type” effort predominantly separate from the SBIR/STTR Programs. These efforts will include M&S, simulation of prototype concepts, cost benefit analysis, system-of-systems studies, experimentation and evaluation of operational imperatives to enable future concepts. Prototypes, M&S and experimentation should explore a wide range of integrating commercial capabilities to support the operational imperatives. These capabilities should consider areas that are unique to military operations, logistics, mission planning, mission execution, base sustainment and logistics.


PHASE II: A goal is for Phase II efforts to conduct sub-scale experiments and provide test articles for further test and demonstration. Experiments should address military-unique requirements that may not be otherwise met by commercial capabilities.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III shall include upgrades to the analysis, M&S, T&E results and provide mature prototypes of system concepts. Phase III shall provide a business plan and address the ability to transition technology and system concepts to commercial applications. The adapted non-Defense commercial solutions shall provide expanded mission capability for a broad range of potential Governmental and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Integration and other technical support to operational users may be required.



Warren, D. "Marines Use Sensor Buoys to Better Understand Ocean Battlespace"; Office of Naval Research; 2020
Mignerey, P., Emokpea, L., Schindall, J. "Experimental Demonstration of an Autonomous Distributed-Consensus Network for Underwater Passive-Acoustic Detection"; Office of Naval Research; 2022;


KEYWORDS: Mesh sensors; grid sensing; atmospheric data collection;

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