Navy Threshold Velocity Detector Redesign

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-038
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N221-038 TITLE: Navy Threshold Velocity Detector Redesign

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


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 new threshold velocity detector that identifies two or more distinct velocities, uses little to no power, and reduces corrosion potential compared to the legacy device.

DESCRIPTION: The current threshold velocity detector system is manufactured primarily from aluminum and a custom rubber to allow for operation. This system experiences corrosion due to the direct interface with a sea-water environment and the mechanical design. This incurs a significant rework and life cycle cost. Some areas for improvement for the current system that could increase the performance and maintainability include:

  1. Increase corrosion mitigation: The current system experiences corrosion of the mechanical parts as well as breakdown of the rubber compound over time due to interface with the seawater environment. This could be improved upon by integration of new non-interfacing technologies or new streamlined designs that reduced the parts that interface with the environment.
  2. Integration of new technologies: The current system is a mechanical switch and due to the force/velocity being measured it can act temperamentally and the direct interface with the environment has led to issues with corrosion as previously mentioned.
  3. Reduction in life cycle costs: This could be achieved by installing a Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) item with some modification or at least making the repair of the system easily performed. The current system requires an intensive rework and repair if malfunctioning that costs significant time and money to accomplish.
  4. Ease of testing outside environment: This system has trouble with consistent testing and the new design would require a more reliable and repeatable testing mechanism to ensure proper function out of the environment before the use of the system.

Prototypes will be tested by the contractor and the Navy to meet the requirements of the detector and the program safety requirements.

Replacement of the current inventory of the legacy detectors will also be considered as the program is expected to remain in-service for at least 30 more years. This system could also be used to increase the information in future systems fed into the program and allow for better understanding of the current designs. This will provide opportunities for a lower cost design/simpler design that will relate to a smaller failure pool at the maintenance facilities and reduced downtime for current assets. Preventing corrosion will reduce the costs associated with rework and repairs during these maintenance actions.

The current leading technologies in the velocity detector industry include Coriolis, Differential Pressure, Magnetic, Multiphase, Turbine, Ultrasonic, and Flow velocity detectors. As this situation would support sea-water applications, gas measuring devices such as Vortex and differential pressure meters would likely not fit the application. There are other options in the industry and while these are the leaders in technology, other velocity detectors will be considered. Even using the backbone of a COTS unit, it will require significant R&D effort in order to successfully fulfill this application.

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 and 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 threshold velocity detector, which will be considered for feasibility of manufacturing and ease of installation into the current operation. Design approaches will be developed that will allow all requirements to be met and discussed with the Government. Technology improvements and risk reduction of the aluminum mechanical components to indirect or more corrosive inhibitive materials interfaces will be another focal area of this phase. Upon selecting an approach, a concept will be defined and developed into a buildable design. Analysis will be performed on the concept to determine the feasibility of the concept to meet requirements. Manufacturing processes required to manufacture a threshold velocity detector will be investigated and defined. A cost analysis will be performed to document the total life cycle cost of a new threshold velocity detector in comparison to the legacy design. 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: Manufacture several prototype detectors utilizing the design and manufacturing processed defined in Phase I. These prototypes will be tested to meet the requirements of the detector and the program safety requirements. The testing will be conducted by the contractor and the Navy. When Navy specific assets are required for testing, the Navy will provide the assets or conduct the test for the contractor. In the event of any test failures, conduct root cause investigations and implement corrective actions as needed. Upon successful validation of the prototypes, the prototypes will be delivered to the Government for the completion of program integration testing and in-water testing.

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 threshold velocity detector to Navy use through system integration and qualification testing. Upon completion of a successful Phase II and program integration testing, finalize the design and manufacturing processes into final production drawings that are representative of the end item as tested. Production drawings will be provided to the Government. Document and provide to the Government assembly & disassembly procedures, inspection procedures, maintenance procedures, and repair procedures that will be used to support threshold velocity detectors for the duration of their service life. Once this new detector design is qualified and determined to have cost benefits, and/or performance improvement the new detector will be cut into production. Replacement of the current inventory of the legacy detectors will also be considered as the program is expected to remain in-service for at least 30 more years. Commercial application of this technology can be in any system where a threshold velocity is required to initiate a safety intervention or sequential operation.


  1. "C-8\N-IND\CH-5-1 Flow." 2021-02-09,
  2. Flow Measurement in Open Channels and Closed Conduits. NBS Special Publication. U.S. Department of Commerce, 1981-10-01.
  3. Nisancioglu, Kemal. Corrosion and Protection of Aluminum Alloys in Seawater. Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Trondheim, Norway.

KEYWORDS: Threshold velocity detector; corrosion mitigation; environment; seawater corrosion inhibition; repeatable; underwater body; life cycle cost


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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