TITLE: USMC Ground Radio
LPI/LPD Interference Mitigation Active Communication Antenna
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Command
and Control Infrastructure Services (C2IS), Networking on the Move (NOTM)
Program of Record
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 section 5.4.c.(8) of 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: The Multiband
Ground Radio program needs to reduce the radio frequency (RF) signature of the
Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The September 2016 Marine Corps
Operating Concept (Reference 1) identifies a critical task to “Operate with
Resilience in a Contested-Network Environment.” The development of Low
probability of Detection (LPD) and Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) antenna that
simultaneously provide interference mitigation is the solution to the critical
subtask of “Role of Signature in Offense and Defense” and allows us to operate
with resilience in the contested-network environment as per the Marine Corps
Operating Concept (MOC).
DESCRIPTION: Marine Corps
Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) utilizes multiple communications systems, in
particular dismounted ground radio systems, to interconnect with the Networking
on the Move (NOTM) program. In an operational environment, the tactical
communications systems encounter interference with reduced available spectrum
and increased demand in data. Dismounted Marines need to be able to operate
without being detected by the enemy and/or emitting RF. Increasing use of the
electromagnetic spectrum reduces the available channels to communicate and
increases interference between co-adjacent channels in combat. The development
of technology solutions for increasing spectrum availability require systems to
use spatial diversity, interference mitigation, and manage output power with
directional gain so that systems may be closer, be non-detectable outside the
main beam, and share the same spectrum. A communications system that
simultaneously provides a small form-factor, on-the-move communications, and
LPI/LPD capability with interference mitigation is a technological challenge.
MARCORSYSCOM is looking for a solution that will provide an interference
mitigation active antenna that will connect to the AN/PRC-117G via the J3 or J6
ports. These ports provide Ethernet, USB, or RS232 capability and one of these
standards will be used for the antenna interface. Reference 2 provides a link
to the AN/PRC-117G manufacture and specification sheet and Reference 3 provides
a sample supplier of weatherproof cables to attach to the J3 or J6 ports. The
connector used for these ports is standardized among the family of tactical
radios and therefore a solution for the AN/PRC-117G will also work with other
tactical radios just needing a different cable or connector. A technical paper
that provides a good description of the problem to obtain LPI/LPD transmissions
is titled “Hiding Information in Noise: Fundamental Limits of Covert Wireless
Communication” and is provided in Reference 4.
The requirements for this communications systems are as follows: The system
must support a minimum throughput of 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), transmission
range of up to 70nm, and be able to transmit in at least one band from L Band
(0.5GHz) to X Band (12GHz) (Threshold) or transmit in multiple bands
(Objective) but include L Band as one of the bands, and be a light-weight
man-packable system weighing no more than 5lbs. (Threshold) - (not including
the battery). The active antenna should sense all frequencies between 0.5GHz and
12GHz (Threshold) and be able to output the frequency power spectrum
(Threshold). The active antenna system will operate on battery power for 8
hours of continuous use (Threshold). The system will be able to be charged or
run on 110V AC, 12V DC power sources and be able to be powered by the
AN/PRC-117G (Threshold). The system will be undetectable outside of the main
beam (3dB point is the main beam) and will have a non-detectable RF signal that
is below the ambient RF noise floor from 100MHz to 50GHz 99% of the time
(Threshold) and should be undetectable by a non-cooperative system within the
main beam (Objective). A non-cooperative system is one that does not have
knowledge (e.g., enemy or neutral system) of the transmission waveform. The
system must be able to null adjacent frequency interference from at least one
source (Threshold) and up to four sources (Objective). The system shall be
usable in all tactical environments and preference is given to a system concept
with no moving parts (reduced maintenance). The active antenna shall be able
to be reconfigurable or reprogrammable to allow for future changes or upgrades.
Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective
contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as
defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating
Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented
and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor
and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level
facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced
phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and the Marine Corps in order to
gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the
United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The
selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD
5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract.
PHASE I: The company will
develop concepts for an interference mitigation active antenna that meets the
requirements described above. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of
the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs and establish the concepts that can
be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be
established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. The
small business will provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals
and key technical milestones, and that will address technical risk reduction.
This Phase II plan will include specification for a prototype.
PHASE II: Based on the
results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, build an operational
prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its
capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development
plan and the Marine Corps requirements for the interference mitigation active
antenna. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation
and modeling or analytical methods that demonstrate the communications
throughput and LPI/LPD detection requirements. Evaluation results will be used
to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps
requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to
transition the technology for Marine Corps use.
It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase
II (see Description section for details).
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for
Marine Corps use. The company will develop interference mitigation active
antenna for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally
relevant environment. Support the Marine Corps for test and validation to
certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use.
Directional antennas with interference mitigation have potential use in any
application in which close-in interference and long-range gain is desired. A
potential commercial application is in digital signal broadcasts to provide a
directive antenna and reduce interference in directions not in the main 3dB
beam. Products such as these are already available on the commercial market
but not with the active ability to cancel interference.
1. “Marine Corps Operating
Concept.” September 2016, http://www.mccdc.marines.mil/MOC/
2. AN/PRC-117G Wideband
Tactical Radio, July 2017, https://www.harris.com/solution/harris-falcon-iii-anprc-117gv1c-multiband-networking-manpack-radio
3. AN/PRC-117G Cables and
Information, July 2017, http://www.tacticaleng.com/radio-cables/an-prc-117g/
4. Bash, Boulat A.; Goeckel,
Dennis; Guha, Saikat; Towsley, Don, “Hiding Information in Noise: Fundamental
Limits of Covert Wireless Communication”, 30 May 2015, https://arxiv.org/abs/1506.00066
Mitigation; Low Probability of Intercept; LPI; Low Probability of Detection;
LPD; Active Antenna; Communications; Tactical Radios; Active interference cancellation
** TOPIC NOTICE **
These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.1 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.1 BAA SBIR pre-release on November 29, 2017, which opens to receive proposals on January 8, 2018, and closes February 7, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.
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