Deployable Systems Manufacturability
Navy SBIR 2020.4 - Topic N204-A03
Navy SBIR/STTR Program Management Office - navy-sbir-sttr@navy.mil
Opens: April 27, 2020 - Closes: May 28, 2020 (8:00 PM ET)

N204-A03  TITLE: Deployable Systems Manufacturability [see Q&As]

 

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics, Control and Communications, Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning, General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

 

OBJECTIVE: Sustainment of industrial capacity for technology innovation necessary for next generation deployable Naval systems is at increasing risk due to global pandemic impacts. The Navy and Marine Corps intend to aggressively continue their modernize strategy for the evolving security environment by increasing the rate of technology innovation and adoption. As the Navy moves forward with this modernization strategy, deployable and autonomous systems that extend the reach of our capabilities and offer man-on-the-loop alternatives are required for the maritime domain. It is essential to develop options for full spectrum competition and deployable systems are an element of this strategy. Strategic advantage comes from institutional capacity to develop and field new capabilities faster than our adversaries. The Navy and Marine Corps seek to develop and demonstrate advanced deployable system manufacturing capabilities, including sensors and effectors, and the related technology innovation necessary to maintain the competitive industrial advantage.

 

DESCRIPTION: The Department of the Navy (DON) seeks to develop and demonstrate rapid, distributed, on-demand, small-scaled, domestic manufacturing of deployable systems capable of supporting multiple payload types and multiple missions [Ref 1,2]. These systems are needed for a variety of air, surface and undersea naval platforms operating in the maritime domain. DON intends to collaborate with innovative small businesses for technologies and methods related to the following Focus Areas:

 

1. Deployable sensor/effector manufacturing [Ref 3]

2. Inflatable array structures and materials manufacturing [Ref 4]

3. Unmanned Vehicle (UxV) manufacturability [Ref 5,6,7]

 

1. Deployable sensor/effector manufacturing: define and develop deployable systems or deployable system payloads that provide off-board maritime domain sensing or effects. This includes scalable manufacturing research and technologies for deployable systems, components or assemblies with considerations for affordability and repeatability of manufacturing processes. Manufacturing technologies for deployable system power sources (batteries) are also included. Needed capabilities include payloads and systems compatible with Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), Cruisers/Destroyers (CRUDES), Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) or SSN platforms as well as deployment from platforms of opportunity.

 

2. Inflatable array structures and materials manufacturing: define and develop inflatable array structure manufacturing methods and technologies. This includes development and testing of inflatable materials, bonding and adhesion technologies that fix sensors to inflatable materials, and development of manufacturing methods for multi-ply inflatable fabrics for hybrid gas/liquid inflation. This includes methods and techniques to fold or pack inflatable array structures into reduced form factors for handling and stowage and for repeated reuse.

 

3. Unmanned Vehicle (UxV) manufacturability: define and develop modular UxV system fabrication and assembly technologies and conduct related materials research for UAVs, USVs or UUVs. This includes use of low cost additive manufacturing technologies and abilities to fabricate close to the point-of-need. This includes manufacturing technologies that support full ocean depth capable UUVs, expendable and reusable UxVs, as well as short and medium endurance UAVs and payloads. These systems must be rapidly reconfigurable to enable conversion of payloads to meet time critical mission needs.

 

NOTE: Work under this effort may become restricted under ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulation) in Phase II. Further information on possible ITAR restriction will be provided to Phase I awardees under this topic. Please review section 3.7 of this BAA for further information.

 

PHASE I: Please add the primary Focus Area number you are proposing to as a prefix to the Phase I Proposal title.

 

Proposers will develop and demonstrate an initial functional prototype meeting one primary Focus Area of the three Focus Areas listed under this topic. Technical proposals are limited to 5-pages and must provide sufficient information to allow assessment that the initial prototype demonstrated at the end of Phase I will function in a relevant environment in a manner meeting the specified capability. This information may include, but is not limited to, detailed designs, component and system laboratory testing, or a minimum viable product (MVP) [Ref 8]. At the end of Phase I, the initial functional prototype will be demonstrated and a detailed report on prototyping test results will be provided to the Government. Proposals must include a discussion of the dual-use defense and commercial market opportunities for the technology being proposed, including a preliminary assessment of commercial market potential. In the Phase I Final Report include cost estimates, manufacturing scalability and safety assessments of their proposed technology.

 

Phase I period of performance shall not exceed 5 months, and the total fixed price shall not exceed $150,000.

 

PHASE II: The functional prototype demonstrated at the end of Phase I will be further developed and refined into an operational prototype based on defense and commercial customer feedback.

 

Full details for Phase II proposal requirements will be provided to Phase I awardees; however, generally it is anticipated that awardees will have to meet the objectives of key contract deliverables to successfully complete Phase II, including:

 

Prototype Demonstration of Viability –further builds on the Phase I functional prototype to meet DON user’s needs. The proposer will focus on moving beyond proving basic achievement of meeting DON needs to meeting all of the usability features required for integration and deployment. The proposer will be expected to work with actual end users and systems integration personnel to ensure that requirements beyond technological performance of the prototype are identified (e.g., Human System Interface, logistics, training, maintenance, installation). The proposer will use feedback from DON users, systems integrators, and other potential defense and commercial beneficiaries and stakeholders to modify and adapt its prototype to meet defense operational and technical needs and to meet potential dual-use commercial applications. The prototype must demonstrate operational and/or commercial viability. The proposer must recommend test procedures to demonstrate viability and an appropriate facility for the test; however, the government is not required to use the proposed testing procedures or facilities. It is very likely that government personnel will be present for the demonstration.

 

Pilot Testing in an Operational Environment – The proposer will meet with DON command stakeholders and operational end users to conduct pilot tests of fully functional prototypes in an operational environment. These tests are designed to be performed using DON operational personnel in real end user environments and scenarios. All testing will be coordinated with DON command and operational stakeholders. Results of this testing will inform stakeholders on the capabilities of the developed technology and the probability for its deployment in an operational environment. The proposer will use feedback from DON users, systems integrators, and other potential defense and commercial beneficiaries and stakeholders to adapt their prototype to optimize defense operational and technical benefits and to provide optimal dual-use commercial market fit.

 

Operational Test and Evaluation in Multiple User Scenarios - Conduct additional operational testing, if required, using multiple prototypes and users simultaneously in a DON operational environment. For testing purposes delivery of multiple prototypes and/or licenses of the technology may be required. If non-government personnel are utilized as part of the testing, appropriate Non-Disclosure Agreements will be obtained to protect against disclosure of the proposer’s intellectual property (if properly marked). The proposer may be required to support the conduct of the tests, but the operation of the prototypes in the test must be capable of being performed by the government.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Given the need for these capabilities at numerous sites, the Federal Government will coordinate funding to maximize benefit for affected sites. Depending on financial estimates, a phased procurement may be required to reach full implementation at the necessary sites. Coordination between the Government and the provider will be required during Phase III to ensure support and proper proficiency of the solution is in place prior to completion of the effort.

 

Finally, the Federal Government sees the development of these capabilities as benefiting industrial maintenance activities in partnership with the Navy. The ability to keep critical assets in operation is a common need for which the Navy is seeking willing partners.

 

REFERENCES:

1. US Navy, A Design For Maintaining Maritime Superiority Version 2.0. December 2018. www.navy.mil/navydata/people/cno/Richardson/Resource/Design_2.0.pdf

 

2. Office of Naval Research, Naval Research and Development, A Framework for Accelerating to the Navy and Marine Corps After Next. www.onr.navy.mil/en/our-research/naval-research-framework

 

3. Benedict, J. Future Undersea Warfare Perspectives. Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 21, Number 2 (2000) www.jhuapl.edu/Content/techdigest/pdf/V21-N02/21-02-Benedict.pdf

 

4. Hulton, A., Cavallaro, P., and C. Hart, C. “MODAL ANALYSIS AND EXPERIMENTAL TESTING OF AIR-INFLATED DROP-STITCH FABRIC STRUCTURES USED IN MARINE APPLICATIONS.” 2017 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Tampa, FL, November 3-9, 2017, IMECE2017-72097. http://proceedings.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=2669415

 

5. Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Master Plan, 2017

 

6. Unmanned Surface Vehicles Master Plan, 2007

 

7. Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles: Background and Issues for Congress, March 2020

 

8. Minimum Viable Product: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_viable_product

 

9. Technology Readiness Levels: https://www.army.mil/e2/c/downloads/404585.pdf

 

KEYWORDS: Unmanned Systems, UxS, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, UAS, Unmanned Undersea Vehicles, UUV, Deployable Systems, Inflatable Structures

 

Questions may be submitted to navy-sbir-sttr@navy.mil by May 13, 2020. Please review section 4.15.d of this BAA for further information.