TITLE: Integration of
Autonomous Unmanned Systems in Theater Undersea Warfare Mission Planning
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO IWS
5.0, Undersea Warfare Systems 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 Mission
Planning toolset that integrates autonomous unmanned systems (AUSs) with
conventional manned platforms for the Theater Undersea Warfare (TUSW) mission
DESCRIPTION: Summary: AUSs
are increasingly used in Navy operational warfare domains to pace the threat.
In the antisubmarine warfare (ASW) domain, AUSs such as drones, ocean gliders,
and fixed sensor arrays are under development. However, the tools to integrate
these AUSs with conventional manned platforms are unavailable. The Navy seeks
to enable both AUSs and legacy-manned platforms in coordinated TUSW mission
planning. The envisioned solution is an operator toolset enabling
comprehensive TUSW Mission Planning that optimizes total force mission
performance (effectiveness) over available unmanned and manned systems.
Narrative: AUSs, combined with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and
Machine Learning (ML) are rapidly becoming the disruptive technology of the
early 21st-century. Such systems have varying levels of autonomy, as described
in the Autonomy Levels for Unmanned Systems (ALFUS) Framework developed by
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Some recent commercial
examples are self-driving cars (Google, Tesla), factory automation (ABB,
Fanuc), and package-delivery drones (Amazon).
Leveraging advances in AI, along with an explosion of small, low-cost sensors,
and exponential improvements to computer processing power and storage, capable
AUSs are now being deployed for military use. Applications range from
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to conducting strikes on
terrorist cells. For example, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) in a range
of sizes and shapes have begun to see specialized applications in the maritime
environment, such as the Navy’s Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Glides (LBS-G) for
making oceanographic measurements.
In the undersea warfare (USW) domain, several independent efforts are
developing AUSs for ASW missions, such as the Office of Naval Research’s
Persistent Littoral Undersea Surveillance (PLUS) program. One particular
application of interest is DARPA’s ASW Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV)
known as Sea Hunter. It is an unmanned surface vessel designed to track and
trail quiet diesel-electric submarines post-detection from the surface for
several months. These AUSs are of great benefit to the Navy; however, the
Theater Undersea Warfare Commander (TUSWC) has currently no way of
incorporating AUSs into TUSW Mission Planning.
Tactical Decision Aids (TDAs) for operational planning need to incorporate AUS
operations into Theater Undersea Warfare (TUSW) Mission Planning. The TUSWC
performs mission planning by determining asset allocation, developing mission
plans, monitoring execution, assessing performance, and performing dynamic
re-planning as required. The envisioned solution is an operator toolset
enabling comprehensive TUSW Mission Planning that optimizes total force mission
performance (effectiveness) over available unmanned and manned systems. Since
there are competing missions other than USW, the planning toolset must take
into account resource constraints, including emergent needs that occur during
mission execution. Additionally, the adversary gets a vote, introducing risk
considerations that must be balanced against the rewards, such as potential
costs versus benefits of mission success.
The TUSWC optimizes mission performance by allocating assets to appropriately
exploit the battlespace, developing plan options (also called Courses of Action
[COAs]) to optimize total force effectiveness, monitoring execution with
in-situ measurements, continuously assessing actual performance as the mission
progresses, and dynamically refining and updating the plan as the situation
evolves. The desired toolset should take the operator through this process in
an automated manner, balancing the employment of AUSs and manned platforms
based on their capabilities and mission needs. One significant benefit of this
toolset is to minimize “busy work” for Theater watchstanders, thereby
maximizing the “think time” available to focus on the tactical and operational
problems at hand. Recent advances in ML from big-data such as deep learning
and predictive analytics have the potential to achieve this goal—for example,
by providing appropriate information or tailoring queries for information at
every stage of the mission.
It is worth noting that current planning processes at the Theater watch floor
use manual techniques and stove-piped systems that are extremely time-consuming
and labor-intensive. Innovative technology will reduce staffing by optimizing
autonomous unmanned system employment in conjunction with manned platforms, and
maximizing asset information exchanges during mission planning and execution.
The Phase II effort will likely require secure access. 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. Additionally, the prototype toolset
shall meet information assurance specifications for classification security.
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 Mission Planning toolset that includes legacy and AUS systems for TUSW
missions. The concept will demonstrate the feasibility of meeting TUSW mission
planning. It will establish feasibility by sample testing, modeling and simulation,
and analysis. 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), produce and deliver a
prototype Mission Planning toolset that includes conventional manned systems
and AUS systems. The prototype will be evaluated to ensure that it supports
optimal mission planning to take into account both the new AUS capabilities and
the existing legacy manned platforms, and the Navy information assurance
specifications for classification security. It will demonstrate it meets the
Navy needs discussed in the description. System performance will be
demonstrated through prototype installation and testing with the prime
integrator. The Government will provide the demonstration facility. Prepare a
Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy and potential
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 and develop the prototype for evaluation and testing in an
operationally relevant environment (e.g., the USW-DSS system platform on the
Theater watch floor, using the PEO-IWS 5 Program Office software transition
process). Support the Navy for test and validation in accordance with the
appropriate peer review and test and evaluation required to support capability
integration and fielding.
The technology will have private sector commercial potential for any system
that requires the ability to optimize planning across both manned and unmanned
delivery systems such as package delivery that could be performed using either
drones or traditional truck delivery methods.
1. Huang, Hu-Min et al.
“Autonomy Levels for Unmanned Systems (ALFUS) Framework.” Ad Hoc Autonomy
Levels for Unmanned Systems Working Group, National Institute for Standards and
Technology (NIST) Special Publication 1011-1-2.0, October 2008.
2. Grant, Ronald. "Up in
the Air: Drones will change war – and more.” Special Report: Robots – Military
uses. The Economist, 29 March 2014; http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21599524-drones-will-change-warand-more-up-air
3. Fabey, Michael. “Navy Will
Expand Undersea Drone Operations.” Defense News, 27 December 2016. https://defensesystems.com/articles/2016/12/27/dronesfabey.aspx
4. CDRSalamander. “ASW:
abundans cautela non nocet.” U.S. Naval Institute Blog. 07 September 2016. https://blog.usni.org/2016/09/07/asw-abundans-cautela-non-nocet
5. Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. John Richardson, “The Future Navy”, U.S. Naval Institute document, 17 May
KEYWORDS: Autonomy Levels for
Unmanned Systems; Autonomous Unmanned System; Theater Undersea Warfare; Mission
Planning; Unmanned Underwater Vehicles; Antisubmarine Warfare
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