TITLE: High Performance,
Small Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) Clock for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO IWS
6.0, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Program Office
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: Develop a high
performance, reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) clock for Navy Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications.
DESCRIPTION: The Navy is
seeking to develop alternative routing of data through airborne Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (UAV) nodes to enable high data bandwidth, robust connectivity, and
routing flexibility between platforms in the surface fleet. This will allow
for increasing the diversity of airborne platforms (including Unmanned Aircraft
Systems (UASs)), which can provide new sensors and robust, anti-jam
communications. A critical component necessary for this capability is a highly
accurate clock that can act as a time and frequency reference to ensure that
communications across the network are synchronized properly. The clock needs to
have the flexibility to scale in SWaP, and must be suitable for airborne
applications. This flexibility would enable networked communications and
sensor data fusion utilizing a variety of airborne platforms. This will
greatly increase data throughput, system availability, system accuracy, and the
ability to dynamically collect and route information, thereby improving the
fleet’s ability to execute complex multi-ship missions.
Time and frequency reference clocks are used to very accurately determine
time-of-day of an event, time duration of an event or interval between two
events, and frequency or rate of a repeated event. Within a networked system,
these clocks are used to ensure that data transmission and reception is
correctly synchronized from point-to-point, that data has not become stale due
to latency issues, that information from sensors and weapons systems can be
coordinated, and that communications have not been interrupted or compromised.
Since the beginning of naval explorations, accurate clocks have allowed for
Typically, the most accurate
clocks have been those based upon an atomic standard from the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Until recently, atomic clocks
were expensive and too large to be installed on smaller, more portable tactical
platforms constrained by SWaP. This has prevented the Navy from using the most
accurate clocks available on smaller platforms.
This is no longer the case as emerging atomic clock technology, such as Chip
Scale Atomic Clocks (CSACs) and Miniature Atomic Clocks (MACs), offer high
levels of timekeeping performance with reduced SWaP impacts.
CSACs, which were developed by Defense Applied Research Projects Agency
(DARPA), are approximately 15 cubic centimeters (cm³). CSACs are accurate to 50
nanoseconds (ns) while typically consuming less than 150 milliwatts (mW) of
power resulting in minimal impact to the host platform. This reduction in SWaP
is achieved using advanced physical techniques like Coherent Population
Trapping (CPT) and technologies such as vertical surface emitting cavity
lasers, which eliminate requirements for higher SWaP components such as
MACs, which were developed by industry, are based on a standard rubidium or
cesium physics package but have continued to evolve to meet customer demands
for smaller SWaP applications. They also use CPT and other advanced hardware
components to reduce SWaP while providing high levels of performance.
While CSAC and MACs both offer significant performance improvements, further
innovation is required to improve performance another order of magnitude. For
example, CSACs (Allan Deviation of 10^(-10) at t = 1 s) and MACs (Allan Deviation
of 10^(-11) at t = 1 s) have greatly improved frequency stability over other
legacy clocks and crystal oscillators but are still well off performance levels
of top-of-the-line Cesium frequency standards (Allan Deviation of 10^(-12) at t
= 1 s). An example of a reduction to medium term Allan deviation is achieved
through light intensity optimization and compensation for laser frequency
detuning. Alternatively, many commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) timekeeping
technologies rely on the use of information derived from global positioning
system (GPS) signals through a Selective Availability Anti-spoofing Module
(SAASM) to discipline and control the frequency of the local clock oscillator
to improve overall stability.
In summary, the Navy seeks a “one stop shop” time and frequency clock to
satisfy mission requirements, to operate across demanding environmental
conditions (high acceleration and vibration), and to disseminate time and
frequency to a broad variety of local onboard users and systems, all while minimizing
The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, and NAVSEA will process
the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification
for secure access. The Phase I effort will not require access to classified
information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data
will be provided to support Phase I work.
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 NAVSEA 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: Develop a concept
for a High Performance, Small SWaP Time and Frequency Reference clock that will
utilize state-of-the-art timekeeping technology stated in the topic
description. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs
and establish that the concept can be feasibly produced. Feasibility will be
established by some combination of initial analysis or modeling. The Phase I
Option, if awarded, will include the initial design specifications and
capabilities description to build a prototype in Phase II. Develop a Phase II
PHASE II: Based on the Phase
I results and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), produce and deliver a
prototype accompanied by appropriate data analysis and modeling. Evaluate the
prototype High Performance, Small SWaP Time and Frequency Reference clock to
determine its capability in meeting Navy requirements. The prototype will
demonstrate its ability to meet requirements for Navy UAV applications.
Testing, evaluation, and demonstration are the responsibility of the company
and should therefore be included in the Phase II proposal. Either
demonstration will take place at a company or Government-provided facility. The
company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology
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 Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use.
Further refine the prototype according to the Phase III development plan for
evaluation to determine its effectiveness and reliability in an operationally
relevant environment. Support the Navy in the system integration and
qualification testing for the technology through platform integration and test
events managed by Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS)
to transition the technology into UAV applications.
There is the prospect of significant interest from the private sector for an
affordable, small form factor Time and Frequency Reference clock that can produce
different timing signals to meet various subsystem requirements. These include
mobile infrastructure, wired communications, aerospace, research, medical and
1. Delcolliano, John, and
Olson, Paul. “It’s All About Time.” Army AL&T Magazine. July-September
2016. Pages 91-93. http://usaasc.armyalt.com/?iid=143668#folio=92
2. National Institute of
Standards and Technology. “NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock.” NIST Physical
Measurement Laboratory Time and Frequency Division. 19 September 2016. https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/primary-standard-nist-f1
3. Lombardi, Michael.
“Fundamentals of Time and Frequency.” CRC Press. 2002. http://tf.nist.gov/general/pdf/1498.pdf
4. Zhang, Yaolin, Yang,
Wanpeng, Zhang, Shuangyou, and Zhao, Jianye. "Rubidium chip-scale atomic
clock with improved long-term stability through light intensity optimization
and compensation for laser frequency detuning.” Journal of the Optical Society
of America B. Volume 33. Issue 8. Pages 1756-1763. 8 July 2016. https://doi.org/10.1364/JOSAB.33.001756
5. Lombardi, Michael. “The
Use of GPS Disciplined Oscillators as Primary Frequency Standards for
Calibration and Metrology Laboratories.” Measure Journal. Volume 3. Number 3.
Pages 56-65. September 2008. NSCL International. http://tf.nist.gov/general/pdf/2297.pdf
KEYWORDS: Smaller SWaP for
atomic clocks; Time Reference for UAVs; Frequency Reference for UAVs; Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle (UAV); Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs); Cesium frequency
** 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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