Micro Towed Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) System for Rotary Wing and Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Navy SBIR 2014.2 - Topic N142-109
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - navair.sbir@navy.mil
Opens: May 23, 2014 - Closes: June 25, 2014

N142-109 TITLE: Micro Towed Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) System for Rotary Wing and Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VTUAVs)

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Sensors


RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN NATIONALS: 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 nationals 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 national who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal may be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a small Space, Weight and Power (SWaP) towed Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) system that will deploy, tow, and recover a small MAD sensor compatible with rotary-wing manned (M60R/S) and Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) (Fire Scout MC-8C) platforms.

DESCRIPTION: The current reeling machine, tow cable, and tow body designed for the AN/ASQ-81 MAD system are too large and too heavy for use by the MH-60R/S much less the MQ-8C. Recent Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs and commercial Independent Research and Development (IR&D) funds are developing magnetometers that are much smaller than the AN/ASQ-81 magnetometer currently used on the SH-60B and have increased performance over the ASQ-81. This small SWaP magnetometer development now enables the development of MAD systems that can be towed by the small VTUAVs such as Fire Scout MQ-8C and also the small SWaP would enable integration of a towed MAD system into the MH-60R/S and future rotary wing platforms which are payload constrained.

Innovative concepts for the development of a small SWaP non-magnetic tow body, non-magnetic tow cable, and reeling machine are sought. The tow body that houses the MAD sensor must be stable while being towed at air speeds that range from 50 to 140 knots and also during the deployment and recovery phase. Stable in this context is that when the towing aircraft is in straight and level flight with constant airspeed, the tow body shall maintain roll, pitch and yaw excursion to less than +/- 0.5 degrees and altitude excursion to less than +/- 6 inches and during deployment and recovery there shall be no instability that can result in damage to the tow body, reeling machine or host aircraft. The tow body and tow cable must be constructed from non-magnetic materials so the permanent and induced magnetism and eddy current magnetic noise do not corrupt the magnetometer signals.

The reeling machine should be a modular design and should be a "smart" unit i.e. receives commands from the host aircraft over the data bus (MIL-STD 1553 or Ethernet, exact interface defined in Phase II) and executes the function accordingly and reports status. The unit will be integrated to standard stores interfaces on Fire Scout and MH-60R/S. The systemís electrical interface shall follow MIL-STD-1760E Aircraft/Store Electrical Interconnection System or the standard MQ-8C interface for external payload (Interface documents will be provided in Phase II). All control of the operation and status of the reeling machine should be through the stores data bus interface and the primary interface defined Discrete Lines. The reeling machine shall, under command from the host aircraft, automatically deploy the tow body to a pre-determined selected length up to 300 feet. The reeling machine shall report the deployed cable length and provide a positive stop (cable brake or mechanical equivalent) while the tow body is deployed. On command, the reeling machine shall retrieve the tow body to the stow position and shall provide a positive latch mechanism of the tow body so as the tow cable is not the primary mechanism for securing the tow body to the reeling machine in the stowed configuration. The reeling machine should report status of the latch, reel-out, tow tension, and reel-in, events as well as any other significant status such as reeling machine Built In Test (BIT), motor torque warning, or under/over tension warning. The reeling machine should also provide a mechanism to cut the tow cable in the event of an emergency such as unstable tow body flight, fouled tow cable or primary reeling machine failure. The reeling machine should assume the availability of MIL-STD-704F standard 28 Voltage Direct Current (VDC) power as defined under the Primary Interface Signal Set in MIL-STD-1760E.

The reeling machine shall provide the signal pass through of control and status data of the MAD sensor system to the host platform. The MAD system to be used is at the discretion of the proposing company.

The reeling machine should attach to the aircraft as defined by MIL-STD-8591 Airborne Stores, Suspension Equipment and Aircraft-Store Interface (Carriage Phase) using 14 inch lug spacing, 100 pound (lb) weight class or platform specific interface. Exact interface will be designated in the Phase II and appropriate interface documents provided.

From previous work and current status of the small magnetometers, a realistic goal for the towed MAD Bird is 10 lbs or less (weight + drag) and the reeling machine should be less than 40 lbs.

PHASE I: Develop a complete Micro Towed MAD system conceptual design to meet the listed requirements in the description. Establish a method and the feasibility of designing and fabricating a prototype model in Phase II. Provide estimates of SWaP of the reeling machine, weight, diameter, and design criteria of the tow cable (conductors, strength member, overall construction, etc.), size, weight and drag of the tow body and pertinent information on the MAD system selected.

PHASE II: Design and fabricate the proposed Micro Towed MAD system prototype proposed in Phase I. Build tow body models and test stability in flight test or wind tunnel environment. Ground test the complete Micro-Towed MAD system to demonstrate operation including reel out, reel-in and MAD system control and data transfer. Attain TRL-5 "Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment. Relevant Interface Design Documents will be provided as Government Furnished Information (GFI).

PHASE III: Integrate and ground and flight test the Micro Towed MAD system on Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) R&D MH-60R/S and/or MQ-8C aircraft. Assist in obtaining flight clearance for use on NAVAIR R&D aircraft. Develop Engineering Development Models and environmental qualify. Transition the Micro Towed MAD to the fleet.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: High performance small SWaP towed magnetometers will find application in geophysical survey systems used for oil, mineral, water, and geophysical mapping and exploration.

1. MIL-STD-1760E, "Aircraft/Store Electrical Interconnection System," 24 October 2007.

2. MIL-STD-704F, "Aircraft Electric Power Characteristics," 12 March 2004.

3. MIL-STD-8591, "Airborne Stores, Suspension Equipment and Aircraft-Store Interface (Carriage Phase)," 12 December 2005.

4. Federation of American Scientists Military Analysis Network, 1999, SH-60 LAMPS MK III Seahawk, Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/sh-60.htm.

5. Air Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Sensors, (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/asw3.htm).

6. Underwater Detection and Tracking Systems. Fundamentals of Naval Weapons Systems, Ch. 9, Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/navy/docs/fun/part09.htm

KEYWORDS: Mad; Asw; Magnetometers; Tow Body; Fire Scout; Tow Cable

DoD Notice:  
Between April 23 through May 22 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. Their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is
not allowed starting May 23, 2014, when DoD begins accepting proposals for this solicitation.
However, proposers may still submit written questions about solicitation topics through the DoD's SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS), in which the questioner and respondent remain anonymous and all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing until the solicitation closes. All proposers are advised to monitor SITIS (14.2 Q&A) during the solicitation period for questions and answers, and other significant information, relevant to the SBIR 14.2 topic under which they are proposing.

If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at (866) 724-7457 or webmail link.