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.
A244-027

Topic

xTechSpecial Forces

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation. The specific topic of the solicitation is "xTechSpecial Forces" and it is being conducted by the Army branch. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. The first topic of the solicitation is "GPS Denied ATAK Compatible Self Location Application." The US Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is looking for a software solution that can obtain self-location data in GPS-denied situations and integrate it into the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) software platform. The software should enable self-location without the use of GPS, other networks, or additional hardware. The goal is to allow ground operators to take a picture of the sky to obtain images including celestial objects and/or passing satellites, resulting in operationally suitable self-location. The second topic is "SWARM Tracker – Counter UxS Warning System." The Army Special Operations Command is seeking an automated tool that can provide early warning of swarmed sensors and effects similar to the National Weather System's severe weather warning systems. The tool should integrate with existing and emerging systems, provide multi-modal awareness, and deliver timely notifications to tactical units and base defense operating centers. The focus is on reducing cognitive load and building user-centric notification systems. The third topic is "PSYOP Product Air Delivery Vehicle." The Army Special Operations Command requires a self-guided aerial delivery system for disseminating Psychological Operations products. The Air Delivery Vehicle (ADV) should be interchangeable depending on payload and mission requirements, resistant to electronic attack, and capable of accommodating payloads ranging from 8 ounces to 50 pounds. The ADV should have self-navigation capabilities, accurate release points, and the ability to operate in day and night conditions. The fourth topic is "Non-Attributable Mobile Mesh Network Radio." The 1st Special Forces Command is interested in a small form factor, non-attributable mesh network radio system for position location information (PLI), voice, sensor integration, and data transmission. The system should enable continuous communication outside of cellular/internet coverage, have a low physical and RF signature, and integrate with the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK). The fifth topic is "Distributed Electromagnetic Sensing, Automated Characterization, and Simple Reporting systems." The 1st Special Forces Command is interested in technological solutions to enhance Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities. The focus is on scalable, cost-effective, software-based innovations that address core need areas such as AI/ML-enabled edge processing, automated signal detection and characterization, near-real-time data availability, and integration with tactical situational awareness systems. The Phase I proposals for this solicitation can receive funding up to $250,000 for a 6-month period, while Direct to Phase II proposals can receive funding up to $2,000,000 for an 18-month period. Phase I involves completing a feasibility study and developing concept plans, while Phase II focuses on producing prototype solutions. Phase III involves maturing the technology to TRL 6/7, producing prototypes for further evaluation, and updating prototypes based on soldier feedback. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the solicitation agency's website: [link](https://www

Description

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

 

OBJECTIVE:

Topic 1: GPS Denied ATAK Compatible Self Location Application

 

The US Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is seeking a software solution to obtain self-location data in GPS-denied situations that can be integrated into the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) software platform available on the Google Play Store or elsewhere. This software will enable self-location without the use of GPS, other networks, or additional hardware.

 

This will be a software application, without additional hardware, allowing ground operators to use their ATAK End User Device to take a picture of the sky to obtain images including celestial objects and/or passing satellites. The resulting self-location should be operationally suitable.

 

Minimum threshold accuracy and other attributes and requirements can be determined during demonstration, evaluation, and development based on SWAP and technical readiness.

Topic 2: SWARM Tracker – Counter UxS Warning System

As adversaries continue to deploy increasing numbers of autonomous remotely crewed systems, US forces will be exposed to greater risk from swarmed sensors and effects. Within a sense-notify-act framework, existing deployed systems must provide multi-modal awareness and provide timely notifications to tactical units and static base defense operating centers. Specifically, ARSOF seeks to provide an early warning framework similar to the National Weather System’s severe weather warning systems that provide advanced warning. Tools need to be integrated with existing and emerging systems to provide timely warning. User-centric notification systems need to be built to reduce cognitive load.

 

The United States Army Special Operations Command requires an automated tool that adapts open source and/or commercial technologies to provide highly-available, scalable notification system for forces deployed to austere environments. ARSOF will accept proposals on Counter- UxS approaches, but will prioritize submissions that address the core need areas described in the sense/notify/act framework.

Automated tools that can integrate multiple sensor formats – e.g. radar, acoustic, visual, etc. 
Graphical User Interface displays for existing tactical end user devices.  
Automated tools that generate near-simultaneous warning channels to distributed end user devices and base defense systems.  
Integrated tools that can be used across multiple Army units from the Program Office to end users.

Topic 3: PSYOP Product Air Delivery Vehicle

 

The United States Army Special Operations Command has identified the requirement to deliver/disseminate Psychological Operations products via self-guided aerial delivery. Deployable individually or in large groups (via swarm technology) into hostile or denied environments. The Air Delivery Vehicle (ADV) must be interchangeable depending on payload and mission requirement with navigational capability that is resistant to electronic attack and can be employed from a multitude of military mobility vehicles and be capable of accommodating payloads no less than 8 ounces up to 50 pounds.

 

Proposed Specifications and Key Performance Parameters:

Self-navigating, GPS assisted via way points able to operate in a contested environment.
Accurate release point within 20 square meters.
Able to travel at least 20+ km a release of 3km in zero wind.
Able to initiate dissemination from low levels above ground level allowing the user the ability to dictate when ADV will release its payload.
Payload minimum of 8oz and maximum weight TBD.
Able to operate in day and night.
Must be impermeable to water for at least 1hr.
Broadcast Formats in line with current, traditional and future broadcast capability and communication methods

 

Topic 4: Non-Attributable Mobile Mesh Network Radio

 

1st Special Forces Command (SFC) is interested in a small form factor, non-attributable mesh network radio system for position location information (PLI), voice, sensor integration and data transmission in conjunction with android team awareness kit (ATAK).

The system must enable continuous communication outside of cellular/internet coverage The intent for this device is extreme flexibility for network creation and operational application while maintaining a low physical and RF signature at the modern edge of low probability of interception/detection (LPI/LPD) communications.

 

Proposed specifications:

Low-cost per unit
Mesh self-healing
Power modulation (Manual-Auto)
Data, PLI and Voice capable
Network compartmentalization (Partner Force/Blue Force)
Additional LPI/LPD attributes 
User friendly ATAK integration
LAN and WAN capable

 

Topic 5: Distributed Electromagnetic Sensing, Automated Characterization, and Simple Reporting systems

The US Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is interested the development of Distributed Electromagnetic Sensing, Automated Characterization, and Simple Reporting systems. This initiative is poised to bolster Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities, and enhancing spectrum dominance and situational awareness. We are seeking technological solutions to meet the contemporary challenges of EW, focusing on scalable, cost-effective, software-based innovations.

We will accept proposals on any electronic support (ES) solutions, USASOC will prioritize submissions addressing the following core need areas for award: 

AI/ML-enabled edge processing 
Automated signal detection and characterization  
Operationally relevant outputs for users not trained in EW systems  
Near-real-time data availability 
Integration with tactical situational awareness systems (e.g. ATAK) 
Software-defined solutions 
Hardware-agnostic, i.e. the capability to integrate with commercial and existing software-defined radios and edge computing devices 
Operational in degraded, constrained, disconnected and/or contested environments
Open API 
Power considerations?
Cybersecurity considerations?

 

A prize competition, xTechSpecial Forces, will be used to identify small business concerns that meet the criteria for award. Winners selected from xTechSpecial Forces prize competition will be the only firms eligible to submit a proposal under this topic. All other proposals will not be evaluated. See the full xTechSpecial Forces prize competition RFI here: https://www.xtech.army.mil/competitions/

 

DESCRIPTION: The U.S. Army invites U.S. based small businesses to participate in the xTechSpecial Forces competition, a competition for eligible small businesses across the U.S. to engage with the Department of Defense (DoD), earn prize money, participate in a business accelerator program and submit a Phase I or Direct to Phase II Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal.

 

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)) is partnering with the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) to deliver the xTechSpecial Forces competition. The Army recognizes that the DoD must enhance engagements with small businesses by (1) understanding the spectrum of world-class technologies being developed commercially that may benefit the DoD; (2) integrating the sector of non-traditional innovators into the DoD Science and Technology (S&T) ecosystem; (3) providing expertise and feedback to accelerate, mature, and transition technologies of interest to the DoD; and (4) providing opportunities for small businesses to participate in experimentation events that allow their solutions to be tested in real-time by end-users. 

 

PHASE I: This topic is for Phase I or Direct to Phase II (DP2) submission. Department of the Army will accept Phase I proposals for the cost of up to $250,000 for up to a 6-month period of performance and Direct to Phase II proposals for the cost of up to $2,000,000 for an 18-month period of performance.

 

During Phase I, companies will complete a feasibility study that demonstrates the firm’s competitive technical advantage relative to other commercial products (if other products exist) and develop concept plans for how the company’s technology can be applied to Army modernization priority areas. Studies should clearly detail and identify a firm’s technology at both the individual component and system levels, provide supporting literature for technical feasibility, highlight existing performance data, showcase the technology’s application opportunities to a broad base of customers outside the defense space, a market strategy for the commercial space, how the technology directly addresses the Army’s modernization area as well as include a technology development roadmap to demonstrate scientific and engineering viability. At the end of Phase I, the company will be required to provide a concept demonstration of their technology to demonstrate a high probability that continued design and development will result in a Phase II mature product.

 

In order for proposers to submit a DP2 proposal, they must provide the justification documentation to substantiate that the scientific and technical merit and feasibility described above has been met and describes the potential military and/or commercial applications. Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to: technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.

 

PHASE II: Produce prototype solutions that will be easy to operate by a Soldier. These products will be provided to select Army units for further evaluation by the soldiers. In addition, companies will provide a technology transition and commercialization plan for DOD and commercial markets.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete the maturation of the company’s technology developed in Phase II to TRL 6/7 and produce prototypes to support further development and commercialization. The Army will evaluate each product in a realistic field environment and provide small solutions to stakeholders for further evaluation. Based on soldier evaluations in the field, companies will be requested to update the previously delivered prototypes to meet final design configuration.

 

REFERENCES:

https://www.xtech.army.mil/competitions/

 

KEYWORDS: xTech; Special Forces Command; ATAK; GPS; Autonomy; Counter UxS; PSYOP; Air Delivery Vehicle; Radio; PLI; SFC; Radio Frequency; Electronic Warfare; Sensors; AI/ML; Signal Detection; Systems

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