Undersea Sensor Network Performance Modeling and Cost Tool
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-109
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Undersea Sensor Network Performance Modeling and Cost Tool


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 485, Maritime Surveillance System

OBJECTIVE: Develop a modeling and simulation software tool that optimizes the Undersea Warfare (USW) bathymetry environment to allow for automated design and development of undersea sensor network (i.e., cabling, sensors, and related hardware) configurations while calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of proposed design

configurations against probability of detection (Pd).


DESCRIPTION: Increases in stealth and offensive capabilities by today's sophisticated submarine adversaries have resulted in the requirement to design and install new undersea surveillance cable networks and arrays to support the USW mission. Current commercial state of technology addresses the design, configuration, and installation requirements only of fiber optic cables used for long distance undersea communications. There are no design and cost models that include acoustic surveillance sensors that provide an estimation of Pd against specific undersea threats. There are presently no known or comparable models in existence worldwide. A new and innovative software product will be unprecedented in its cable design features with integrated cost capabilities.


The current cable and array design and cost estimating process is time intensive and requires manually computing specific costs. A research and development (R&D) project is required to develop an innovative model that will address design and cost of various lengths of different cable array hardware, range of armor protection, different types of acoustic sensors, and cable array deployments at various ocean depths, while simultaneously projecting the Pd of the network array installation against specific targets using classified Office of Naval Intelligence estimates. Since undersea cable costs are classified, an exact cost savings from this model cannot be provided. However, the reduction in array design time, faster contract execution, and optimum array placement will result in overall savings, decreased cable repair costs, and increased Pd against new and quieter threats.


A software cost modeling algorithm process is required that incorporates advanced three-dimensional (3D) visualization of bathymetric data to assist cable array designers in developing optimum cable array configurations. This integrated tool, using graphical user interfaces (GUIs), will enable network array designers to develop optimum arrays, while maximizing sensor deployments, and determine how changing variables (e.g., changes in array location based on bathymetry, cable depth, different sensors) will increase or decrease Pd. This model should demonstrate the feasibility of optimizing the bathymetry, cable, sensor, and cost components to show sensor coverage areas and gaps, identify technical risks, predict probability of detection, and estimate the ROI. This model will leverage National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ETOPO1 or similar data that integrates land topography and ocean bathymetry, develops user-modifiable sensor types and parametric libraries for various cable and sensors, produces libraries that include Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) unit costs for automatic calculation of end-to-end system, and integrates the mission model with the costing data to allow ROI estimation vs probability of detection. By applying advanced visualization techniques, network array designers will have an unprecedented ability to see the problem space in three-dimensions and automatically compute the costs and effects of dynamically placing different array and sensors (position and depth) on the overall system Pd. The program office will provide direction on specific undersea network configurations to be prioritized for assessment in Phase I.


This software tool will reduce overall program lifecycle cost by millions of dollars by streamlining the acquisition evaluation of alternative solutions and providing optimum cable designs. This would allow the Program Office to conduct technical evaluations and perform cost estimates of candidate solutions in a matter of days and weeks, versus months, and thus reduce sensor network design time by hundreds of man-hours. Likewise, by optimizing candidate designs early in the acquisition process, future cable/array designs would be optimized resulting in lower cable lifecycle maintenance (i.e., undersea repair) costs.


The operational performance and cost estimates for various undersea network design options, identified from this software tool, will also be used as inputs by OPNAV N2N6 for Program Office capability assessment, mission thread assessment, and gap analysis.


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 project 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 advanced phases of this contract.


PHASE I: Design and develop a concept for a modeling and simulation tool for advanced undersea sensor arrays (including bathymetric cable optimization and sensor libraries), and costing estimation algorithms to support USW acquisition planning, undersea testbed development, and future technology integration. Develop a conceptual GUI that allows fixed cables, arrays and sensors to be displayed in multiple configurations while taking bathymetry and topographic uniqueness into consideration for the cable and sensor design and its resulting design/installation cost. Demonstrate the feasibility of optimizing the bathymetry, cable, sensor, and cost components to show sensor coverage areas and gaps, identify technical risks, predict probability of detection, and estimate the ROI. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype of the proposed modeling, simulation, and costing software to address the uniqueness of the USW cable and sensor development, the viability of future and planned undersea configurations, and an increase in detection compared to the cost of the hardware and installation of the system.


Perform testing and integrate results into the software prototype. At the completion of Phase II, perform a demonstration for the Navy. Government validation of the model will involve running the model against recent Navy array design and installation costs, and then comparing the results of both methods. The goal is to achieve at least a 90% correlation accuracy between model projected costs vs actual (historical) array design and installation costs. Following a successful Phase II demonstration and Government validation, the Navy will accept the cost model and integrate it into the array design process and use it on design of its undersea testbed.


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: Assist the Navy in transitioning the SBIR-developed Undersea Sensor Network Performance Modeling and Cost Tool for application in its UWS Programs of Record (POR). Provide a modeling and simulation capability to the Navy for automated design and development of cabling, sensors, and related hardware configurations while calculating the ROI of proposed design configurations. Ensure that the tool provides quantifiable, repeatable metrics and assessment of alternative acquisition options to provide cost savings, operational efficiency, and increased quality of undersea network design.


This tool will offer significant commercialization benefit for non-DoD applications in the undersea cable industry. As there are presently no known or comparable models worldwide in existence, this innovative software product is unprecedented in its cable design and integrated cost model features. It has immediate application to the international undersea cable industries that lay and maintain hundreds of thousands of miles of telecommunications cables throughout the oceans worldwide.



1.   “Undersea Warfare Science & Technology Strategy 2016.” Defense Innovation Marketplace, 2016, Undersea Warfare, Chief Technology Office, https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Portals/103/Documents/USWCTO/2016_USW_ST%20_Strategy_%20Distro_A.pdf?v er=2016-11-01-133933-867


2.   “Design for Undersea Warfare, Update One: Commander’s Guidance for the United States Submarine Force and Supporting Undersea Forces.” Homeland Security Digital Library, November 2012, M. J. Connor, Commander, Submarine Forces, https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=726701


3.   Christian, Raymond J. “Next-Generation Undersea Warfare and Undersea Distributed Networked Systems”. Defense Technical Information Center, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Technical Report TR 11,790, 31 January 2007. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a468885.pdf

4.   Bahsoun, Samia. “Undersea Cable System: Technical Overview & Cost Considerations” North American Network Operators Group, June 2008, The David Ross Group, https://www.nanog.org/meetings/nanog43/presentations/Demystifying_Bahsoun_N43.pdf


KEYWORDS: Undersea Warfare; Modeling and Simulation; Cabling; Bathymetry; Sensor Optimization; Return on Investment



William Traganza







Mandeep Nehra







These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on May 2, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on May 31, 2019, and closes July 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between May 2, 2019 and May 30, 2019 you may communicate directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 31, 2019
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.

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