Gaming for Conceptual Network Learning for Naval Air Defense
Navy SBIR 2018.1 - Topic N181-038
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: January 8, 2018 - Closes: February 7, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Gaming for Conceptual Network Learning for Naval Air Defense


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): 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 an interactive, graphics-oriented training game that instructs the conceptual, non-intuitive value of an integrated Naval battle force in a variety of realistic anti-air warfare scenarios.

DESCRIPTION: The Navy seeks to create an innovative, stand-alone conceptual training game for Sailors that will teach concepts beyond current training capabilities. It seeks a visually compelling conceptual learning tool in the form of a gaming environment that captures the attention of Sailors and focuses them in the game scenarios. The purpose is to achieve and maintain the warfighters’ proficiency in netted force concepts.  These concepts include sharing target kinematics and identification information from sensors across the force to create a common situational awareness, coordinated engagements, and distributed resource control.  Current integrated force-level studies are typically conducted by small teams of skilled subject matter experts (SMEs) using highly detailed technical models.  These studies are time-consuming and the results must be formatted and repackaged prior to disseminating them in static form with the broader air defense community.  These types of studies are needed; however, there is also a need for a new type of training capability that significantly expands the understanding of non-SME and non-technical users. A game that uses low to medium fidelity models in an engaging format and allows individual users and small teams to evaluate “what-if” scenarios of different force configurations and capabilities is needed.  The learning environment will include high-level representations of typical U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps platforms such as ships, aircraft, and land-mobile units.  These will represent the game’s default configuration. In addition to their default configurations, these platforms and their system capabilities such as sensors (RADAR, electronic sensing [ES], etc.) and weapons (missiles, guns, electronic attack/electronic protection [EA/EP]) should have certain relevant behavior or performance characteristics that are modifiable by the user between game epochs.  Platforms should also be capable of varying degrees of communication and coordination (command & control) with each other for interactions and collaborations to achieve combined, force-level effects.  Equivalent adversary platforms should be included.

The platforms and systems models should be modular to allow concept exploration of unit and force engagements of varying capabilities with more detailed specifications.  For example, some parameters of an interceptor missile might include its flight profile, speed, and maximum range, time of flight as a function of the range from the shooter to the engagement point, homing time, and seeker frequency.  An important aspect of the game will be the nature of interactions between systems and platforms and the resulting effects on force performance as information is shared across the netted force.  Due to the innovative nature of this project, the Government expects to work with the company to identify and explore the feasibility and level of fidelity for each of the system characteristics to be modeled.

The game will be capable of installation on standalone or networked desktop or laptop computers. Users should have the ability to load and execute pre-planned game scenarios or have the option to build and execute their own, either from scratch or by modifying an existing scenario. The game should include the ability for single player exploration, scripted scenarios to solve with a given set of assets, cooperative multi-player and head-to-head combat across an internet or intranet with scoring, including “top scores” for players.  Additional requirements include the ability to place assets and select weapons, sensors, etc.; define threat launch points, and see resulting engagement contours.  Threats and weapons should be capable of non-maneuvering or maneuvering flight profiles as selected by the user.  Platforms should be capable of representative movement for their category (ship, aircraft, land mobile, etc.).  Additionally, it should be flexible enough to provide a capability allowing a user to create and insert their own representations of platforms and systems for future expansion.

Game configurations, executions, and outcomes should be recordable for offline analysis and review.  Individual users’ proficiency in understanding key concepts and attributes of a netted force should be monitored and recorded for offline review and analysis. The Navy seeks an engaging learning environment that not only teaches key Force-level concepts, but also allows playing “what-if” games for future force concepts.  If we have an engaging game that the operators can play against each other that focuses on key concepts, their appreciation for netted force operations should increase substantially.   Further, having a tool that will allow the engineering and warfighter communities to explore “what-if” scenarios for future netted force concepts could be a key enabler for future force investment discussions.

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 concepts for an interactive graphics-oriented training game meeting the technical objectives and consistent with the application requirements 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 that shows the description requirements can be met.  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 plan.

PHASE II: Based on the Phase I results and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), develop, demonstrate, and deliver a prototype interactive, graphics-oriented conceptual training game for evaluation. Evaluate the prototype game to determine its capability in meeting Navy requirements stated in the description. Demonstrate the ability to install the prototype on standalone or networked laptop and desktop computer systems. The demonstration will take place at a Government-provided facility. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy and potential commercial 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 Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use and in the qualification testing for the software technology developed in Phase II.  This will be accomplished through test events managed by PEO IWS.

This conceptual network-learning environment will include a flexible, configurable framework that is capable of instantiating entities (such as ships, aircraft, and land-mobile units, equipping them with system capabilities, moving the entities around the environment in accordance with scripts, and capturing interactions between entities based on their capabilities and intentions.  This product could have application in exploring concepts for interactions between dynamic entities in fields such as avionics, transportation, and communications. It could be marketed as a new game or its unique control features could potentially find a market with major gaming companies.


1. Korteling, J.E., Helsdingen, A.S., Sluimer, R.R., van Emmerik, M.L., and Kappe, B. “Transfer of Gaming: Transfer of training in serious gaming.” TNO Report, TNO-DV 2011 B142, August 2011.

2. Landers, Richard N., Bauer, Kristina N., Callan, Rachel C. and Armstrong, Michael B. “Psychological Theory and the Gamification of Learning.” Gamification in Education and Business, 2015, pp 165-186.

KEYWORDS: Netted sensor programs; gamification of learning; Gaming for sailors; Multi-Player war games; Modular gaming; Netted Force Concepts; Air Defense in gaming.


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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