Torpedo Advanced Processor Build (APB) Algorithm Development
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-121
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Torpedo Advanced Processor Build (APB) Algorithm Development




ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 404, Undersea Weapons 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 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: Develop advanced algorithms, machine learning, distributed computing, and/or other innovative technologies to be applied to the Search, Detect, Classify, and Localize operational phases of a torpedo mission.


DESCRIPTION: Undersea weapons, heavyweight and lightweight torpedoes, are launched as fire-and-forget weapon systems. A torpedo using software can be analogized to different private sector devices such as autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners; drones/robots for delivery of goods; inspection of infrastructure; and other devices, but are much more sophisticated. During the weapon pre-launch phase, the launch platform directs the device(s) to a certain target area and then the torpedo commences to search for threat targets. Analogous to this is when a robotic vacuum is directed to find dirt, avoid obstacles or other robotic vacuums, and conserve batteries. During the weapon post- launch phase, the torpedo will use various sub-phases to search, detect, track, classify, localize, target, home, and prosecute a threat target. Each of these phases can be modeled and coded as an independent Computer Software Configuration Item (CSCI). Each CSCI has its own requirements and interfaces with the other related CSCIs.

Collectively, all these CSCIs make up the torpedo operational software.


The torpedo functions applicable to this effort are Search, Detect, Classify, and Localize. Search defines how the torpedo processor uses data, sensors, data fusion, and statistics within areas of uncertainty to maximize the chance of finding an object while minimizing the chance an area is unsearched. Detect is the way the computer separates this data into potentially useful data versus noise. Classify is the way the computer assigns meaning to potentially useful data. Localize is the way the computer compares the potentially useful data against known values to reach a conclusion about relative positions in space.


The operational software application will be hosted on torpedo processor hardware that will have limited memory space and speed (timing) capability. The host torpedo hardware is expected to remain in the fleet for a minimum of 25 years and is expected to be upgradable via software updates throughout its lifecycle. Hardware processing specifications will be provided in Unclassified//For Official Use form to awardees. No Government-furnished equipment (GFE) will be required/delivered under this effort. All algorithm development should be developed on contractor-owned, general-purpose workstations using MATLAB code. Candidate algorithms should focus on detection and classification of Low-Doppler targets in countered, shallow water environments (i.e., high clutter).


Performance metrics for evaluation purposes will be based on the CSCI(s) affected by the proposed algorithm and will be established early during the effort. The following general criteria will apply regardless of CSCI: (1) Negative or no improvement is unacceptable; (2) An improvement of at least twenty percent (20%) in any single CSCI or ten percent (10%) in a combination of CSCIs (Search, Detect, Classify, Localize) is acceptable; (3) Government reserves the right to engage with companies that report less than acceptable performance expectations using novel approaches in the Government’s interest; and (4) Newly developed CSCIs showing favorable torpedo performance results will be utilized and provided for in-water software builds.


These models will be integrated by the Government with both existing and new CSCIs to evaluate weapon performance using the secure Weapon Analysis Facility (WAF) hardware-in-the-loop model and simulation environment.


Additional weapon capability is gained through improvement of the torpedo software through greater economy of algorithm and process efficiency. Due to commonality of software, both heavyweight and lightweight undersea weapon systems benefit from this increase; commonality will also reduce the effort associated with maintaining the software, thereby reducing total ownership cost. Also, this software can be expanded for use in Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) applications, which also represents additional capability. This effort also has the potential to increase the number of sources for torpedo software, which can reduce costs by at least 20%.


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 during the Phase I effort. The Phase II and III effort will require secure access, and NAVSEA will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access.

Work produced in Phase II will 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 be 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 CSCI and provide a feasibility study to identify proposed algorithms and how they can be modeled and tested independently from the remaining CSCIs. Define the data inputs and formats and the anticipated memory size and processing speed requirement for the particular CSCI the awardee chooses to investigate. Specify in the concept the parameter or function in which the expected performance increase is realized. Describe the expected performance gains of the algorithm, why it may be better than current algorithms, and identify the environments and conditions under which the algorithm would perform the best. Explain in the concept the shortcomings of the algorithm including any known failures when stressed and areas that may need additional investigation. Present and justify the assumptions used in performing the feasibility of the concept. 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: Design, develop, and deliver a prototype CSCI algorithm and models in the Matrix Laboratory (MATLAB). Consider, evaluate, and provide potential corrective action and further refinement of any subsequent integration issues identified during Government WAF testing. Integrate models that show promise with a prototype software build for evaluation to determine overall Modeling and Simulation (M&S) torpedo effectiveness.


Work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Assist the Government in transitioning the algorithm to Navy use. Test the matured algorithms in the M&S environment. Incorporate the algorithm proposed for these weapon systems into the operational software followed by evaluation, validation and testing in the WAF hardware-in-the-loop M&S. Fine-tuning of the development is anticipated based on the outputs from testing. Algorithms showing improved torpedo performance may be incorporated into exercise software builds for Fleet evaluation in water environments. The platform for this testing may be the heavyweight MK48 torpedo, the lightweight MK54 torpedo, or both.


The development of certain elements of independent algorithms may have application in the private sector including home automation/robotics, transportation and distribution networks, and search and rescue operations.



1.   Knight, William C., Pridham, Rioger G., and Kay, Steven M. “Digital Signal Processing for Sonar.” Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 69, No. 11, November 1981.


2.   Ahmadian, M., Nazari, Z. J., Nakhaee, N., and Kostic, Z. “Model based design and SDR.”. 2nd IEE/EURASIP Conference on DSP Enabled Radio, 2005, pp. 19–99. doi:10.1049/ic:20050389. ISBN 0-86341-560-1;


KEYWORDS: Torpedo MK48; Torpedo MK54; MATLAB; Detection, Classification and Localization; DCL; CSCI; Low-Doppler Targets



David Bancroft






Mark Campbell






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