Surface Composite Tracker Component
Navy SBIR 2014.1 - Topic N141-036
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: Dec 20, 2013 - Closes: Jan 22, 2014

N141-036 TITLE: Surface Composite Tracker Component

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics, Battlespace

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO IWS 1.0, Integrated Combat Systems, AEGIS

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a composite tracker component for AEGIS Weapon System that combines multiple sensor sources to optimize surface vehicular track accuracy.

DESCRIPTION: US Navy Ships have sophisticated command and control systems that manage data from multiple sensors to generate and maintain the tactical picture. The command and control system manages track-to-track association; track correlation functions and maintains a system track file that defines the surface tactical picture. Surface tracks in the maritime littoral environment are often difficult to associate and/or correlate because the sensor data may often be incomplete, non-contiguous, intermittent, or degraded (see reference 1). The uncertainties and clutter in this environment make it challenging to present an accurate surface tactical picture to warships at sea. Effective track correlation, track-to-track association, and resolution of track ambiguity require that the system managing these functions adapt to the characteristics of the environment and the kinematics of the objects of interest.

The AEGIS Weapon System (AWS) was originally developed with an anti-air warfare (AAW) focus and not adaptable to differing requirements for other warfare areas such as Surface Warfare. The Navy uses the AWS, which is the core of the AEGIS Combat System, to facilitate operations in warfare mission areas. The Command and Decision element within the AWS manages track correlation, track-to-track association, and maintenance of the system track file for the entire combat system.. Due to the existing uncertainties of the littoral regions significant track association and correlation anomalies, and/or track ambiguities which are inherent with multiple closely spaced contacts occur (see reference 2). These limitations caused by the challenges unique to the littoral regions create a need for improving situational awareness. The Navy is seeking to improve situational awareness in the littoral regions with a surface composite tracker capability that will be integrated into the AWS.

Commercially available systems are hardware boxes designed for contact-to-composite track association, track-to-track correlation, and resolution of track-to-track ambiguity (see reference 3). The Navy has an existing commercial off the shelf hardware and computing plan infrastructure in place and does not desire additional hardware based solutions that would require integrated logistics support and plans for technology refresh. This causes the Navy to have to plan upgrades to the hardware, establish and update logistics support, and provide a timeline for integration beyond the current infrastructure plan. These make the hardware trackers unviable for Navy use due to the integration impact on current and planned Navy baselines. It also increases the cost of acquisition and maintenance continually over time.

The Navy seeks a surface tracker software component for implementation within the current AEGIS hardware infrastructure. The innovative software component will be capable of subscribing to any sensor as a service on the AEGIS local area network. The delivered component will be capable of subscribing to a wide variety of kinematic sensor input forms and will include raw contact data (statistically independent) as well as reports of track state (correlated in time). The surface tracker can expect data in the form of contact and track data from surface radars, electro-optical and non-organic sensor sources that are subject to environmental uncertainties, and provide clutter masking effects inherent with the sea surface. The surface tracker component will publish a multiple source contact-to-composite track developed for maritime vehicular applications. The tracker techniques to produce and publish a composite tracker will estimate covariance data from knowledge of sensor characteristics, track kinematics, and provide prediction data when sensor data is absent or disrupted (see reference 4). It will be componentized and compliant with the US Navy’s Product Line Architecture to facilitate integration within the Track Management Domain. Development of robust tracking techniques will facilitate integration of future sensor technologies.

PHASE I: The company will develop a concept for surface track management algorithms that meet the requirements described above. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and will establish that the concept can be feasibly developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by testing and analytical modeling. The small business will provide a Phase II development plan that addresses technical risk reduction and provides performance goals and key technical milestones.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, the small business will develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in Phase II development plan and the Navy requirements for the surface track management algorithms. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: The company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop surface track management algorithms according to the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use.


1. Herselman,P.L.,Baker, C. J., and de Wind, H.J. "An Analysis of X-Band Calibrated Sea Clutter and Small Boat Reflectivity at Medium-to-Low Grazing Angles." International Journal of Navigation and Observation Volume 2008, Article ID 347518.

2. Tiwari, Andre. "SMALL BOAT AND SWARM DEFENSE: A GAP STUDY" (NPS Thesis), September 2008.

3. "Composite Tracker Product Brochure" SSR Engineering. Accessed on 29 MAR 2013 from

4. Papageorgiou, Dimitri J., and Holender, Michael. "Track-to-Track Association and Ambiguity Management in the Presence of Sensor Bias." Journal of Advances in Information Fusion VOL. 6, NO.2, December 2011.

KEYWORDS: Surface Composite Tracker; Contact-To-Composite Track Association; Product Line Architecture; Composite Tracker; Track Correlation; Track Ambiguity

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