Cognitive Radar for Maritime/Littoral Surveillance
Navy SBIR 2018.2 - Topic N182-117
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick -
Opens: May 22, 2018 - Closes: June 20, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Cognitive Radar for Maritime/Littoral Surveillance



ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-290 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft

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 3.5 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: Design and develop a new cognitive radar architecture focused on maritime and littoral surveillance missions in contested environments.

DESCRIPTION: Airborne maritime and littoral surveillance radar is facing a growing set of challenges in contested environments due to ever-evolving adversarial technologies and tactics. In addition to potential new concealment techniques, new sophisticated electronic attack (EA) systems and tactics are emerging, which further stress the limits of conventional radar architectures. A new approach is required to regain technological superiority in maritime and littoral surveillance, Synthetic Aperture Radar/Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR/ISAR), and periscope detection.

Cognitive radar is a major new development in fully adaptive radar (FAR) that employs a sophisticated sense-learn-adapt (SLA) autonomous observe, orient, decide and act (OODA) loop to gain an operating advantage in contested environments. It represents the latest generation of adaptive radars that has the ability to: (1) use adaptive waveform diversity to proactively “probe” the radar channel consisting of targets, clutter, and electronic attack; (2) employ sophisticated real-time machine intelligence to analyze and respond in a closed-loop fashion to the dynamic environment; and (3) continually assess its performance and make adjustments to available radar resources. While some advances in cognitive fully adaptive radar (CoFAR) have been reported for ground moving target indicator (GMTI) radar, there has not been a focus on the challenges unique to the maritime/littoral surveillance problem, including: (1) maximizing area coverage rate (ACR) while maximizing probability of detection and minimizing false alarms in both maritime and littoral (or both) environments; (2) adaptive waveform optimization for detecting and identifying fleeting targets such as periscopes; and (3) advanced electronic protection (EP).

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 project as set forth by DSS and NAVAIR 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 advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for the basic architecture and model key elements of cognitive fully adaptive radar for the maritime/littoral surveillance mission consistent with the AN/APY-10 radar. Establish efficacy and feasibility via high-fidelity Radio Frequency (RF) modeling and simulation. Quantify potential performance gains for the search receiver operator characteristic (ROC), including challenging targets such as periscopes. Produce plans for a prototype to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Further develop, demonstrate, and validate the new cognitive radar architecture for maritime/littoral surveillance consistent with the AN/APY-10 radar. In addition to high-fidelity Modeling and Simulation (M&S), demonstrate real-time hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) cognitive radar functions to prove both the feasibility and efficacy in a realistic hardware setting. Analyze performance validation using both simulated and measured data sets. 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: Integrate the new cognitive radar architecture and test using existing and developed integration labs. Conduct flight testing on a representative aircraft. Transition developed technology to appropriate platforms and commercially. Cognitive sensing approaches can be utilized over most RF commercial applications, such as multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) and multifunction RF apertures, to reduce interference. Commercial industries such as cellular telephone, land mobile, and SATCOM will benefit from this development.


1. Guerci, J. “Cognitive Radar: A Knowledge-aided fully adaptive approach.” Radar Conference, 2010 IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/RADAR.2010.5494403

2. Guerci, J., Guerci, R., Ranagaswamy, M., Bergin, J. and Wicks, M. “CoFAR: Cognitive fully adaptive radar.” Radar Conference, 2014 IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/RADAR.2014.6875736

KEYWORDS: Cognitive; Radar; Sensing; SAR; ISAR; Detection



Richard Egan





Philip Mock




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