DIGITAL ENGINEERING - Undersea Warfare Tactical Advantage Support Kit

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-027
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N221-027 TITLE: DIGITAL ENGINEERING - Undersea Warfare Tactical Advantage Support Kit

OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

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 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 capability that embeds prompts for system usage within the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) system to support proficiency and mission success.

DESCRIPTION: The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare system is used to conduct operations across the entire detect to engage spectrum, including active sonar, passive sonar, sonobuoy operations, and weapons targeting and firing. Mission success relies on operator proficiency during tactical operations.

ASW operations require a highly-perishable, complex skill set. While operator proficiency can be developed and maintained using training, the ultimate purpose of improved proficiency is effective use of the mission system during tactical operations. Providing individualized support in the midst of tactical operations will reduce the time to correctly perform the complex functions from target detection to target engagement, improving mission effectiveness.

The Navy seeks a technology that provide embedded individualized support as operators perform each ASW function. It should be able to extend across the range of support that might be needed, from the apprentice level to those who are masters of employment. The proposed technology will also extend to the full range of functions operators are required to perform. The Navy believes the technology associated with this SBIR topic will provide opportunities to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) techniques.

The solution should demonstrate an improvement in operator performance for apprentice operators without degrading performance of journeyman and master operators, translating to latency reduction of 25% in end-to-end metrics relative to unassisted employment of the system. Testing of the solution will occur using the IWS 5.0 Advanced Capability Build (ACB) step testing process.

Initial testing of the proposed technology may be demonstrated at the contractor facility, but a more robust evaluation of a fully developed toolset will eventually be conducted using representative data gathered from a fleet test event, at a developer site such as the Lockheed Martin Anti-Submarine Warfare Laboratory in Manassas, VA, or from an appropriate Navy training facility such as Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center San Diego, CA (FASW-TC). In order to properly evaluate the technology, the technology will be used with a range of sonar operators across the full functionality of the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 tactical system. These interactions would include real-world or synthetic scenarios that span the detect-to-engage timeline. During Phase I we ask the offeror to propose a representative data set they feel will demonstrate the unclassified capability. During Phase II, the Navy will provide classified data sets to fully exercise the toolset during the detect-to-engage timeline.

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 Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor 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 DCSA 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 tactical advantage support kit (TASK) that provides individualized tactical support prompts across a range of proficiency levels and different tasks within a larger system of systems. Demonstrate the concept meets the parameters of the Description. Show feasibility through analysis, modelling, simulation, and testing. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and a capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Based on the results of the research in Phase I, develop and deliver the prototype solution with architecture and methodology for incorporating the TASK. Demonstrate the prototype meets the required range of desired performance attributes given in the Description. System performance will be demonstrated through installation and prototype testing on a testbed with the lead system integrator.

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 as an embedded capability within a future build of AN/SQQ-89A(V)15. Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use in ASW. Demonstrate and report on performance during laboratory testing. The prototype will be integrated into the IWS 5.0 surface ship ASW combat system Advanced Capability Build (ACB) program, which is being used to update the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Program of Record.

This technology can be used in a wide range of complex systems of systems where AI/ML is used to characterize operator proficiency and just-in-time performance assistance is crucial to mission performance. The technology would be of greatest use in complex safety-critical systems where mistakes carry disproportionate risk of mission failure.


  1. Richardson, John ADM. "A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0," 2018.
  2. Kezunovic, Mladen, et al. "The role of big data in improving power system operation and protection." 2013 IREP Symposium Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - IX Optimization, Security and Control of the Emerging Power Grid; 1-9; IEEE.
  3. "AN/SQQ-89(V) Undersea Warfare / Anti-Submarine Warfare Combat System." United States Navy Fact File, 15 January 2019.

KEYWORDS: Operator proficiency; embedded individualized support; Anti-Submarine Warfare; ASW function; detect-to-engage timeline; tactical operations


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its 22.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 1, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on January 12, 2022, and closes February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est).

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