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Navy N20.4 Topic Q & A's

Updated 5/06/20
Sorted by Topic No. and Date
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N204-A01
Focus 2
5/05/20  Q. Is the Navy looking for underwater 3D precision scanning (vessel hull inspection, dock inspections, water tank inspections, etc.) or is this topic only interested in above-water 3D precision scanning?
N204-A01
Focus 2
5/05/20  A. The Navy is interested in all 3D scanning capabilities including under the water.  Please note the use cases for underwater scanning only service a subset of the Navy depots namely the shipyards or other activities residing along a shoreline.  The Navy would be interested in solutions that can scan underwater and hopes you will consider submitting your proposal for the Navy to evaluate.

N204-A01
Focus 2
5/05/20  Q. 1. The DON SBIR 20.4 BAA states that the focus area is intended to advance (2) precision from stand-off distances. Does the Navy have a minimum stand-off distance objective for external scans (potentially by platform size)?
2. Can the Navy provide any further fidelity on the relative evaluation weighting between the 3D Scan and damage inspection (similar question during webinar @54:01)?
3. During the Q&A @45:05 [of the Webinar posting], a question was asked regarding UAV’s for non-drydock inspection of ships. Can the Navy provide estimates of the % of ships that will be scanned/inspected at the depots non-drydocked?
N204-A01
Focus 2
5/05/20  A. 1. The Navy recognizes that technology (e.g., sensors and optics) advancements continue to evolve. Although the Navy does not have a minimum stand-off distance prescribed by this focus area, the Navy is seeking solutions that will allow for more rapid capturing of the data over larger areas. We are hoping your solution(s) may enable faster data capture with increased precision.
2. The Navy believes that 3D scanning and damage inspection are inextricably linked. To that end, the Navy envisions that a solution that can scan will inevitably help with damage inspections as well. These elements will not be "weighted" differently as the Navy sees them as one capability.
3. The Navy desires a capability that can be used on the myriad of platforms it maintains (e.g., ships, airframes, vehicles). The Navy anticipates that as this capability is achieved that scans will be conducted numerous times over the life of any platform. Given this background, the Navy can see where 100% "of ships… will be scanned inspected at the depots non-drydocked."


N204-A01
Focus 3
5/05/20  Q. Is there any interest in synchronized visual surface imaging capabilities coupled with a traditional NDT technology capture as part of the autonomy solution?
N204-A01
Focus 3
5/05/20  A. The proposed solution sounds very interesting and the Navy would welcome a proposal detailing how this could address the topic and focus area. 

N204-A01
Focus 2
5/04/20  Q. 1. Is the target user associated with in-service asset sustainment, overhaul periods, initial fabrication, or are any of these applications suitable targets for the proposed effort?
2. Is there a current system for archiving and using digital twin information used in the Navy that the proposed technology should interface with?
3. Is the focus to create a single system that accelerates and improves one structural issue (such as wiring re-installation after a repair), or is the intention to create a more universal system capable of being trained on a variety of structural issues?
4. Would it be the case that the proposed technology would have access to "correct" or "as designed" data files for use as the basis of finding structural issues, or should it be trainable in the absence of "ideal" baseline data?
5. Most of the systems we have developed collect photogrammetry from video using a hand-held scanner, but we have worked with lidar scanning, robotic arms, and autonomous vehicles as well. These tend to be larger systems, restricted to more permanent installations, but result in more complete automation. Airborne drone scanning has also been shown, but has some limitations regarding available viewpoints and resulting data quality. Is one of these approaches more applicable to the Navy application?
6. Is the desired technology envisioned as "human in the loop" with automation accelerating inspection operations by identifying potential problem areas, or "fully automated" with inspection failures fully evaluated by the system and provided as an inspection report?
7. Are there size, weight, and power restrictions associated with shipboard or depot storage and use that we should be aware of?
8. What is the job title of the user of the system, and what would that person do with the resulting data?
N204-A01
Focus 2
5/04/20  A. 1. The Navy envisions this capability being resident at its repair depots that maintain airframes, ships and vehicles. Given this, we envision the first target user base to be within the sustainment ranks affecting depot maintenance. As these capabilities are made more robust, we anticipate they will be adopted by others including fabrication activities and more forward field location personnel.
2. No Navy-wide system yet exists for archiving and using the digital twin information.
3. The Navy encourages review of the webinar conducted on 24APR20 and posted at www.navysbir.com where we addressed this question. Please note the Navy is seeking more universal capabilities to span the various platforms it maintains.
4. Please anticipate that no initial data are provided to train the algorithm(s). Please note that given variations between different platforms of the same design as well as environmental variations (e.g., thermal effects on these platforms), baseline data may be difficult to reconcile in some instances.
5. As described in the webinar (link above) the Navy is seeking more rapid solutions to affect this focus area. The Navy recognizes that there may be a trade-off for various solutions with respect to precision and seeks your best recommendation on the next generation solution that can help advance the way the Navy does maintenance.
6. The Navy anticipates that initial capability will require a "human in the loop" in order to gain a level of confidence in the solution. At some point in the future it may be possible to have a "human on the loop" or "fully autonomous" approach, but the Navy will require a sufficient body of data to make this transition.
7. The Navy has not restricted solutions for these parameters but recognizes that the more portable and smaller solutions will be able to access more constrained areas/geometries.
8. The job title and series for the person performing the work is still under discussion within the Navy. We anticipate the data collected will be analyzed by numerous disciplines all working to ensure the efficacy of the platforms. We anticipate the analysis to be performed locally at the depot as well as at alternate locations where skilled professionals will use the data to make follow-on decisions/designs.


N204-A01
Focus 1
5/04/20  Q. Would a container which carries a group of self-powered, autonomous unmanned maintenance vehicles (along with power, tooling, and other materials) be considered responsive? Such a small fleet of vehicles would be capable of carrying out maintenance on both external and internal areas of various vehicles ranging from ground vehicles to aircraft and naval vessels. With appropriate design options they could even operate underwater on hulls and high up on usually difficult-to-access areas.
N204-A01
Focus 1
5/04/20  A. The Navy would consider a container with the described components as responsive to the project call. 

N204-A01
5/03/20  Q. There are many types of approaches with various commercial cloud platforms available. Would Phase 1 have to be executed in GovCloud or MilCloud?  Would there be any restrictions to using Amazon Web Services Cloud?
N204-A01
5/03/20  A. The Navy uses many cloud-based platforms, however for a Phase I effort a solution not connected to a government cloud (e.g., GovCloud or MilCloud) is desired.  Connecting to a government cloud is an onerous process not necessary to show efficacy of a Phase I effort. 

N204-A01
Focus 3
5/01/20  Q. I was hoping to clarify if there was a specific application/inspection process the Navy was looking to automate (or even a specific task). Or rather, if a modular/adaptable autonomous inspection system was desired that could be outfitted with multiple inspection applications.
N204-A01
Focus 3
5/01/20  A. The Navy desires to reduce the labor effort for performing numerous types of NDI across all our platforms.  If you have a solution that addresses one type of NDI we are interested.  If you have a solution that can accommodate the autonomy of numerous NDI types, the Navy is very interested. 

N204-A01
Focus 3
4/28/20  Q. For N204-A01 Focus Area 3, is the intent solely to develop technologies that address needs during rework/sustainment/repair activities? Or are shipyard autonomous systems that also address fabrication (and in particular quality assurance to reduce the need for rework) of interest?
N204-A01
Focus 3
4/28/20  A. This topic is focused on Navy depots that perform repair operations.  Although there are many efforts that are common with fabrication efforts (e.g., NDI, quality assurance), the focus of this topic and focus area is specifically for repair activities.
N204-A01 4/27/20  Q. Our team has extensive experience in autonomous NDE for both metals (subjected to corrosion) and emerging materials such as fiber reinforced composites. However, for Phase I, we would like to demonstrate our autonomous NDE approach and prototype system on one specific structure/component, does Navy have any suggestion on that, or is there a preferred approach by Navy on this aspect? We will aim to design our NDE system to have the capabilities to be easily extended and/or scaled up to other DoD structures/components/systems."
N204-A01 4/27/20  A. The Navy encourages proposers to consider a larger structure with varying geometries for its application. A possible solution could be a pressurized Above-ground Storage Tank (AST) containing a petroleum-based product - potentially like a large propane tank to demonstrate efficacy. Should a proposer desire a different test surface we welcome the input.

N204-A01
Focus 2
4/27/20  Q. During the Webinar [held 4/24/2020, now posted to navysbir.com], Mr. McKee indicated that the 3D precision scanning was for both the exterior and interior of the platforms. Is there a size constraint of the interior scanning solution or alternatively a worst case scanning geometry?
N204-A01
Focus 2
4/27/20  A. Navy ideally seeks portable and compact tooling to use for interior scanning. The tooling is intended to be able to scan a variety of components with various geometries, think pumps, piping, electrical runs, etc. The Navy is not constraining this size but recognizes that the larger the system the fewer areas the system will be able to be used. From a worst case scanning geometry perspective, the ability to scan interior tank sections with baffles and various protrusions and services (e.g., pipes and electrical runs) running through them is desired.

N204-A02
Focus 1
5/01/20  Q. 1. What are the exact platforms and systems we are talking about?
2. What data exists as a starting point for sensor fusion, AI, or analytics techniques to be applicable? Could the schema of this data / example data be shared w/ me for initial exploration / model building?
3. What would my proposal have to focus on / show in order to be competitive in the above area?
N204-A02
Focus 1
5/01/20  A. 1. We are not targeting any particular platforms or systems in this focus area.
2. DON will not provide any data in this effort.
3. Proposers need to decide their own focus. We will evaluate all proposed solution as long as the proposed solution addresses specific challenges provided in the topic narrative.


N204-A02 4/30/20  Q. We are seeking to understand if topic N204-A02 is limited to digital solutions. Would a physical device -- an in-situ, continuous air decontamination system for the elimination of airborne viral aerosols -- be considered? For ensuring sustainable operations of naval assets and the health and safety of the crew, air disinfection appears to be a key topic given COVID-19 and the recent experiences of the USS Roosevelt. We would appreciate clarification on if a technology like ours falls within the scope of the current SBIR.
N204-A02 4/30/20  A. The announcement describes digital solutions, including logistics tools. Interpretation of that is up to the proposer and should be addressed in the proposal.
N204-A02
Focus 2
4/30/20  Q. We would like to develop a mobile app that will (a) provide military veteran specific prevalence rates at the city/county level of COVID-19 severe illness risk factors, such as asthma and diabetes; and (b) provide military veteran specific prevalence rates at the city/county level of behavioral health outcomes that may become exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as mental health problems and substance use. The hope with this product is that public health entities (i.e., VA, other private healthcare providers) could use the interactive maps/data in the app to effectively target geographic areas with veteran-tailored messaging/programming.
N204-A02
Focus 2
4/30/20  A. We are not permitted to provide any advice or guidance on solution approach. The announcement does not spell out this type of technology, but does state “specific technical challenges to be addressed include, but are not limited to…”. It is up to the proposer to determine if their technology fits the broad gaps outlined in the announcement.
N204-A02
Focus 2
4/29/20  Q. 1. There are many existing Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) enterprise supply chain management systems in use today. Does the Navy have experience with these kinds of tools? Has the Navy documented the shortcomings or deficiencies associated with these tools? Can that documentation be shared with the successful offeror?
2. Will the Navy consider a proposed solution that does not involve new software tool development? For example, a proposed solution that includes mostly process improvement and change management along with adoption of available COTS and/or GOTS software. From the Navy's perspective, could that type of approach be a viable option for fulfilling the Navy’s requirements and addressing this challenge?
3. Has the Navy completed a comprehensive analysis or study of the state of the Navy’s supply chain management enterprise with respect to medical care and medical supplies? If so, can the results of that study be shared with the successful offeror?
N204-A02
Focus 2
4/29/20  A. 1. This is not a clarification question and is not relevant to the current topic requirement. The potential proposers need to develop their proposed solution(s) without considering any document the Navy may or may not share.
2. We will consider all proposed solution as long as the proposed solution addresses specific challenges provided in the topic narrative.
3. This is not a clarification question and is not relevant to the current topic requirement. The potential proposers need to develop their proposed solution(s) without considering any document the Navy may or may not share.


N204-A02 4/28/20  Q. 1. In the statement "Use of sensor, machine learning, and data analytic technologies to quantify with confidence levels the current status of platforms and systems, and the logistic and maintenance needs." Can you please provide a list for each type of platform and system?
2. In the statement "Improve condition-based maintenance (CBM) with machinery monitoring and prognostics to maximize endurance and operational availability.” Can you please provide a list for each type of machinery that needs to be monitored?
3. Is there a remote power requirement for the system?
4. Is hardware in scope of this BAA?
5. Will NAVY provide the routing endpoints or a description of the routing endpoints for the Digital Logistics Challenge?
N204-A02 4/28/20  A. 1. We are not targeting any particular platform or system. The platforms and systems will be as determined by the proposer.
2. We are not targeting any particular type of machinery. Those are up to the performer to focus on in the proposal. b3. There is no remote power requirements defined for this topic narrative.
4. The operational capability being developed will dictate the level of complexity of the prototype. Hardware is not outside the scope of this topic. All proposed solutions will be evaluated as long as the proposed solution addresses specific challenges provided in the topic.
5. No.

N204-A02
Focus 2
4/28/20  Q. 1. Will the intended capability for digital logistics need to be HIPAA-compliant?
2. Who are the main end users the capability is intended to support: what are their roles in medical logistics/healthcare and where do they typically work?
3. What is the projected/desired start & end dates for Phase 1?
4. To what extent is the emphasis on providers using the capability to actually make treatment decisions, versus supporting the logisticians role enabling those provider decisions? (Is it focused more on supporting information needs of one side or the other?)
N204-A02
Focus 2
4/28/20  A. 1. It is not a requirement. The scope of the technology will be up to the proposers.
2. We are not targeting any particular system or end users. The end users can be defined by the proposers.
3. This BAA leverages Navy SBIR’s Technology Acceleration processes resulting in awards within 45 days from the close date of this BAA. Phase I period of performance shall not exceed 5 months.
4. The scope of the technology developed is up to the proposers.


N204-A02
Focus 1
4/27/20  Q. 1. How does the Navy define “fragile, remote systems”?
2. Can the topic authors provide examples of Navy systems commonly used in fragile, remote areas?
3. Is Focus Area 1 also medically focused like Focus Area 2, i.e., should we consider systems that are used in Role 1 scenarios?
4. Are the primary end users of the technologies for Focus Area 1 in the forward, dispersed locations, or are the end users the logistics managers in charge of resupply and maintenance scheduling in a different location?
N204-A02
Focus 1
4/27/20  A. 1. As described in the topic narrative, “remote” is “a system’s physical remoteness or inaccessibility”, and “fragile” is “not robust, not reliable, and easy to break”. In addition, lack of reliable communication of sufficient bandwidth, adds to the complexity and fragility of providing effective logistical support, that is it is difficult to get the right information, difficult to communicate it to the right people, difficult to determine the best response, and then difficult to deliver that response.
2. This topic area does not target any particular existing system. The topic authors will not provide any specific example to avoid misleading the potential proposers.
3. No, Focus Area 1 is not limited to medically focus solutions. It is unclear what is meant by “Role 1 scenarios”.
4. Focus Area 1 does not have targeted end users at the current time.


N204-A02
Focus 1
4/27/20  Q. 1. How does the Navy define “fragile, remote systems”?
2. Can the topic authors provide examples of Navy systems commonly used in fragile, remote areas?
3. Is Focus Area 1 also medically focused like Focus Area 2, i.e., should we consider systems that are used in Role 1 scenarios?
4. Are the primary end users of the technologies for Focus Area 1 in the forward, dispersed locations, or are the end users the logistics managers in charge of resupply and maintenance scheduling in a different location?
N204-A02
Focus 1
4/27/20  A. 1. As described in the topic narrative, “remote” is “a system’s physical remoteness or inaccessibility”, and “fragile” is “not robust, not reliable, and easy to break”. In addition, lack of reliable communication of sufficient bandwidth, adds to the complexity and fragility of providing effective logistical support, that is it is difficult to get the right information, difficult to communicate it to the right people, difficult to determine the best response, and then difficult to deliver that response.
2. This topic area does not target any particular existing system. The topic authors will not provide any specific example to avoid misleading the potential proposers.
3. No, Focus Area 1 is not limited to medically focus solutions. It is unclear what is meant by “Role 1 scenarios”.
4. Focus Area 1 does not have targeted end users at the current time.


N204-A03
Focus 3
5/05/20  Q. On April 27, BAA Topic 20.4, N204-A03 Focus Area 3 was modified with the addition of "This also includes UxVs designed for undersea launch applications and Groups 1 and 2 UAVs". We are proposing the use of group 3+ UAVs, is this acceptable?
N204-A03
Focus 3
5/05/20  A. No, this would not be acceptable.

N204-A03
5/04/20  Q. 1. [Our firm] may address additional strategic goals presented in reference 3, "Future Undersea Warfare Perspectives". Would these be of interest as new capabilities in a system for this topic?
a. Sensor detection, classification and localization processing. [Our firm] performs this type of processing for oil and gas applications and could investigate post-processing and event detection within the sonobuoy, ASV or AUV before transmission to reduce RF data bandwidth requirements.
b. Anti-jamming processing algorithms and equipment for the receiving electronics. [External links and information on firm removed] we understand anti-jamming might be necessary in sonobuoys, and could investigate specific implementations. We have experts with clearances on staff who could discuss further.
2. What is the technology readiness level (TRL) that is anticipated for the Phase-I proposal relating to reference 9?
a. For example, do you want the proposal to show evidence of a system currently at TRL-X with a work plan to reach TRL-Y by the end of Phase I?
3. For deployable sensor/effector manufacturing, it seems that we are to define and develop deployable system payloads and scalable manufacturing technology as part of the Phase 1.
a. How does this relate to the TRL in the answer to question 2-a?
b. Is the emphasis to be on defining and developing or scalable manufacturing or both equally?
c. Is this program looking for new technology capabilities or finding off-the-shelf products and suppliers with already existing capabilities?
4. Do you expect that accelerated funding from non-SBIR sources could kick in during or before Phase II if the Phase I demonstration is promising?
5. With respect to the Phase I demonstration are you looking for a hardware test or modelling and analysis of a proposed system?
a. Are you looking for a demonstration of a critical building block of the system, such as an individual sensor, or a large subassembly of the envisioned final system?
N204-A03
5/04/20  A. 1.a. Yes
1.b. Yes
2.a. Phase I TRL 3, Phase II TRL up to 6, Phase III TRL up to 9
3.a. Please view DoD TRL definitions which are available online.
3.b. Both b3.c. Both
4. Non-SBIR funding will not be available for the Phase I effort. It is not known at this time if non-SBIR funds will be available during any part of the Phase II effort, or any potential sequential Phase II effort.
5. 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.


N204-A03
5/04/20  Q. A technology barrier is to get the price per UAV down to a point so the unit itself can be considered atritable and be produced at production rates that support automation of the basic airframe/power system. If this could be achieved a CONOPS in which no recovery operations would expose the unit deploying the sensor to tracking my enemy forces.

Our small business would like to propose the manufacturing and test of a few key parts which would prove out the cost/rate of production can be achieved while not having to build the complete design under this topic. Is the focused nature of this approach a proposal that the government would fund?
N204-A03
5/04/20  A. A proposal of this type would be considered by the government.

N204-A03
Focus 1
4/30/20  Q. Would a solution proposing the use of lithium ion batteries capable of ultrafast charge (at the penalty of the amount of energy that can be stored therein) be considered for Focus Area 1?
N204-A03
Focus 1
4/30/20  A. Yes- that would be of interest.

N204-A03
Focus 1
4/28/20  Q. Is the topic N204-A03 accepting electric motor proposals?
N204-A03
Focus 1
4/28/20  A. Electric motors will not be accepted for this topic.

N204-A04
Focus 2
5/01/20  Q. 1. Can you clarify power requirement “Integrate with Razorback TTLR PoR requirements and constraints”?
2. What is the minimum Instantaneous Bandwidth for Phase-I research?
3. What is the minimum requirement for phase linearity?
4. Are requirements for C4I and Secure Communications set forth recently by US Army and Marine reasonable assumptions for Phase-I research?
5. What is the maximum height of the antenna mast acceptable in the operating mode?
N204-A04
Focus 2
5/01/20  A. 1. Nominal power max, for raising and lowering is 75W, but this is nominal/neither threshold nor objective. There is trade space here – do not feel overly constrained by this nominal number. Based on it being a UUV (with limited power), there is some upper limit of the power budget for this, but this upper limit has not yet been established. Specific power details TBD.
2. The specific properties (bandwidth, phase linearity, VSWR, gain, etc.) have not yet been defined, but instead are to be a “best achievable” design given the tight volume and raising/lowering constraints on this topic. Maximizing performance over the entire bandwidth (HF – L-band) is a primary objective of this project.
3. [Same answer as provided for number 2] The specific properties (bandwidth, phase linearity, VSWR, gain, etc.) have not yet been defined, but instead are to be a “best achievable” design given the tight volume and raising/lowering constraints on this topic. Maximizing performance over the entire bandwidth (HF – L-band) is a primary objective of this project.
4. This is a Navy SBIR topic. Use-case and key parameters are described in the topic.
5. No specific height-above-the-waterline goal/requirement has been defined. The higher the better. Ability to operate in sea states 2/3 is desirable, so 0.5 to 1.0 meter of raised height would be ideal. Note: the higher raised, the more that needs to be done with respect to counterbalancing the antenna to maintain platform stability. This is something that needs to be kept in mind, although it’s not a focus of the current SBIR call.


N204-A04
Focus 3
5/01/20  Q. 1. What is the approximate cost range (at volume) the Navy is looking at for this hardware solution? (e.g. <$100 or $1k-10k).
2. Can you please clarify "local and remote centralized control of all assets; ". What type of assets and what type of control?
3. Can you please clarify "provide mission planning tools to establish and execute mission profiles; " What types of missions do you envision?
N204-A04
Focus 3
5/01/20  A. 1. Ideally, we would like the solution to be maximally software with little to no hardware since installing any new hardware on our platforms is very expensive. Any hardware elements are expected to serve as the management console with potential cloud based processing engine and interfaces to non-standard control/management ports of discreet devices to be managed. Cloud service will likely utilize already existing Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES) system and the management consoles could simply utilize existing general purpose processors already installed on shore and platforms. Cost, therefore, cannot be assessed without first evaluating the proposed solution. We have several notional thoughts for an all software solution; however, we will not convey them to allow proposers maximum freedom to innovate.
2. Local control is either just the organic element of the asset to be managed (e.g., operator interface unit on a dedicated computer) or, more desirable, Manager of Managers (MoM) that can perform most, if not all, of the functions in the same local spaces (i.e., does not require more than reasonable walk from the MoM to the element to be managed). Remote centralized control abstracts further on the MoM concept to allow for distant control of the elements from one or more locations. Ideally, remote centralize control will be on a central platform command and control center as well as off platform collocated with the element’s domain control entity (e.g., ARSTRAT for satellite systems). The initial goal is to control all communications and networking system elements.
3. Please refer to https://www.public.navy.mil/cotf/otd/pin11-04.pdf, section 2.a for a sample of mission areas. We are seeking an automated solution that can carry out the “Commander’s Intent,” which is a high level mission statement expected to yield a wide range of actions, including communications and network planning and management in support of the operation .The “commander’s intent” is to be interpreted by the system to appropriately resource and plan the radio frequency spectrum and networking systems to effectively support the mission.


N204-A04
Focus 1
4/30/20  Q. With regard to Requirement N204-A04 of the subject BAA, we would be grateful for clarification of the Navy's VLF requirements as they pertain to size, power, and mission. The requirement description for N204-A04 on Page 36 of the BAA states, "Portable, small form factor communications capabilities that meet these needs may also be used to enable communications and facilitate coordinated responses ashore and afloat for many other types of missions, particularly those conducted in high-demand, low-bandwidth communications environments."

Yet, requirements 1.b and 1.c (on Page 37) then specify the need for transmitters that can be built into 20' and 40' shipping containers and are capable of transmitting powers from 20 kW to 2MW. These large form factors and power requirements seem incongruous with missions executed by small, expeditionary teams that could benefit from VLF comms, if their comms package truly was "small" and "portable". If there is a potential that VLF comms could be delivered in a sailor-portable package, wouldn't that also be of interest?
N204-A04
Focus 1
4/30/20  A. The terms “portable” and “small form factor” in the VLF comms section of this topic are in comparison to the Navy’s fixed VLF antenna sites under the Fixed Submarine Broadcast System (FSBS) PoR. Compared to the size of current Navy VLF high power antennas, a solution that fits into a 20’ or 40’ shipping container and can be loaded on a truck is small and portable. Given the required transmit power, as well as the need to “emulate performance of land-based VLF transmitter and antenna systems operating at the 3-30kHz frequency range” as stated in the topic, a sailor portable package is considered technically infeasible. This solution has the potential to be used in future as not just a truck portable land-based solution, but also can be deployed or transported on a surface ship/ barge or otherwise temporarily anchored above water.

N204-A04
Focus 1
4/30/20  Q. 1. Does emulation of existing Naval VLF stations means that frequencies and modulation scheme currently used should be reproduced in portable solution? If deviation from currently used frequencies is allowed, what would be the lowest permissible frequency for the solution?
2. Is 20 kW of transmitter power a lowest level that solution should provide to “continue to meet Fleet operational and mission needs within the respective Area of Responsibility (AOR)”? Is any threshold in terms of communication distance (shortest) and mission(s) that solution should satisfy to be accepted? Is any max input power level to feed portable solution is anticipated?
3. Does “magnet-based mechanical VLF antenna” mean that antenna is based on moving permanent magnets? Does airborne antenna requirement mean that solution should be able to operate directly from aircraft?
N204-A04
Focus 1
4/30/20  A. 1. Yes, portable solution should emulate existing VLF stations to the maximum extent possible. 2. No information on communication distances and missions can be provided at this classification level. Proposals should meet requirements as listed in the topic. 3. These are two examples of potential solutions for this mobile antenna, they are not the "required solution." Airborne does NOT mean that the solution should be able to operate from aircraft. The topic states that airborne deployment mechanisms "could include, but are not limited to a reeling mechanism and/ or a balloon."

N204-A04
Focus 2
4/27/20  Q. 1. Can more information be provided about the antenna requirements? Including: More precise bandwidth, VSWR, gain, radiation pattern, and radiated power. Alternatively (or additionally) provide more information about the intended use of the antenna (GPS, Satellite comms, terrestrial comms, etc)
2. Does the deployment mechanism need to be neutrally buoyant or positively buoyant with respective to its impact to the UUV? b3. Is the UUV on or near the surface, in a SS2, during communication; on the surface (positively buoyant) or 6-12” underwater or deeper (controlled neutral buoyancy)? This question is of interest due to Mast length.
4. The topic says “The size and layout of the system shall be suitable for integration onto a medium-sized UUV, such as those in the PMS 406 Razorback torpedo tube launch/recovery (TTLR) PoR.” Is this system envisioned to mount onto the exterior of the UUV or into the interior UUV?
N204-A04
Focus 2
4/27/20  A. 1. Satellite comms, as well as terrestrial comms in the HF band. The specific properties (VSWR, gain, radiation patter, radiated power) have not yet been defined, but instead are to be a “best achievable” design given the tight volume and raising/lowering constraints on this topic. Maximizing performance over the entire bandwidth (HF – L-band) is a primary objective.
2. Neutrally buoyant.
3. On or near surface.
4. Exterior of UUV


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