AIR FORCE
16.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Proposal Submission Instructions


INTRODUCTION

The Air Force (AF) proposal submission instructions are intended to clarify the Department of Defense (DoD) instructions as they apply to AF requirements.

Please note that there have been changes made to these instructions. Firms must ensure their proposal meets all requirements of the solicitation currently posted on the DoD website at the time the solicitation closes. Incomplete proposals will be rejected.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is responsible for the implementation and management of the AF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

The AF Program Manager is David Shahady, 1-800-222-0336. For general inquiries or problems with the electronic submission, contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at [sbirhelp@bytecubed.com] (9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). For technical questions about the topics during the pre-solicitation period (11 December 2015 through 10 January 2016), contact the Topic Authors listed for each topic on the Web site. For information on obtaining answers to your technical questions during the formal solicitation period (11 January through 17 February 2016), go to https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/sitis.

General information related to the AF Small Business Program can be found at the AF Small Business website, http://www.airforcesmallbiz.org. The site contains information related to contracting opportunities within the AF, as well as business information, and upcoming outreach/conference events. Other informative sites include those for the Small Business Administration (SBA), www.sba.gov, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, www.aptacus.org/new/Govt_Contracting/index.php. These centers provide Government contracting assistance and guidance to small businesses, generally at no cost.

The AF SBIR Program is a mission-oriented program that integrates the needs and requirements of the AF through R&D topics that have military and/or commercial potential.

Efforts under the SBIR program are expected to fall within the scope of fundamental research. The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics) defines fundamental research as "basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community,” which is distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons. However, the research shall not be considered fundamental where the funded effort presents a high likelihood of disclosing performance characteristics of military systems or manufacturing technologies that are unique and critical to defense. See DFARS 252.227-7018 for a description of your SBIR/STTR rights.

PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

The Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Office is instituting new requirements in an initiative to combat fraud in the SBIR/STTR program. As a result, each Small Business is required to visit the AF SBIR Program website: http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Firm/downloads/SBIRSTTR%20Program%20Rules.pdf and read through the "Compliance with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Rules" training. The Certificate of Training Completion at the end of the training presentation and/or as pg. AF-11 of this document, MUST be signed by an official of your company, AND ATTACHED to your proposal. Failure to do this will result in your proposal being removed from consideration. NOTE: your signed certification of completion must be dated within 90 days of receipt of proposal. This form will not count against the 20-page limitation.

Read the DoD program solicitation at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/ for program requirements. When you prepare your proposal, keep in mind that Phase I should address the feasibility of a solution to the topic. For the AF, the contract period of performance for Phase I shall be nine (9) months, and the award shall not exceed $150,000. We will accept only one Cost Volume per Topic Proposal and it must address the entire nine-month contract period of performance.

The Phase I award winners must accomplish the majority of their primary research during the first six months of the contract with the additional three months of effort to be used for generating final reports. Each AF organization may request Phase II proposals prior to the completion of the first six months of the contract based upon an evaluation of the contractor’s technical progress and review by the AF technical point of contact utilizing the criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation. The last three months of the nine-month Phase I contract will provide project continuity for all Phase II award winners so no modification to the Phase I contract should be necessary.

The Phase I Technical Volume has a 20-page-limit (excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form).

Limitations on Length of Proposal

The Technical Volume must be no more than 20 pages (no type smaller than 10-point on standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper with one (1) inch margins. The Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), and Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form are excluded from the 20 page limit. Only the Technical Volume and any enclosures or attachments count toward the 20-page limit. In the interest of equity, pages in excess of the 20-page limitation (including attachments, appendices, or references, but excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), Company Commercialization Report, Non-Disclosure Agreement Form and Certificate of Training Completion Form will not be considered for review or award.

Phase I Proposal Format

Proposal Cover Sheet: The Cover Sheet does NOT count toward the 20 page total limit. If your proposal is selected for award, the technical abstract and discussion of anticipated benefits will be publicly released on the Internet; therefore, do not include proprietary information in these sections.

Technical Volume: The Technical Volume should include all graphics and attachments but should not include the Cover Sheet or Company Commercialization Report (as these items are completed separately). Most proposals will be printed out on black and white printers so make sure all graphics are distinguishable in black and white. It is strongly encouraged that you perform a virus check on each submission to avoid complications or delays in submitting your Technical Volume. To verify that your proposal has been received, click on the “Check Upload” icon to view your proposal. Typically, your uploaded file will be virus checked. However, if your proposal does not appear after an hour, please contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at sbirhelp@bytecubed.com (9:00 am to 6:00 pm ET Monday through Friday).

Key Personnel: Identify in the Technical Volume all key personnel who will be involved in this project; include information on directly related education, experience, and citizenship. A technical resume of the principle investigator, including a list of publications, if any, must be part of that information. Concise technical resumes for subcontractors and consultants, if any, are also useful. You must identify all U.S. permanent residents to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants. You must also identify all non-U.S. citizens expected to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants. For all non-U.S. citizens, in addition to technical resumes, please provide countries of origin, the type of visa or work permit under which they are performing and an explanation of their anticipated level of involvement on this project, as appropriate. You may be asked to provide additional information during negotiations in order to verify the foreign citizen’s eligibility to participate on a contract issued as a result of this solicitation.

Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into the VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. An “Applicable Contractor” under the VPP is defined as a construction or services contractor with employees working at least 1,000 hours at the site in any calendar quarter within the last 12 months that is NOT directly supervised by the applicant (installation). The definition flows down to affected subcontractors. Applicable contractors will be required to submit Days Away, Restricted, and Transfer (DART) and Total Case Incident (TCIR) rates for the past three years as part of the proposal. Pages associated with this information will NOT contribute to the overall Technical Volume page count. NOTE: If award of your firm’s proposal does NOT create a situation wherein performance on one Government installation will exceed 1,000 hours in one calendar quarter, SUBMISSION OF TCIR/DART DATA IS NOT REQUIRED.

Phase I Work Plan Outline

NOTE: THE AF USES THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE AS THE INITIAL DRAFT OF THE PHASE I STATEMENT OF WORK (SOW). THEREFORE, DO NOT INCLUDE PROPRIETARY INFORMATION IN THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE. TO DO SO WILL NECESSITATE A REQUEST FOR REVISION AND MAY DELAY CONTRACT AWARD.

At the beginning of your proposal work plan section, include an outline of the work plan in the following format:

Cost Volume

Cost Volume information should be provided by completing the on-line Cost Volume form and including the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) specified below. The Cost Volume detail must be adequate to enable Air Force personnel to determine the purpose, necessity and reasonability of each cost element. Provide sufficient information (a-j below) on how funds will be used if the contract is awarded. The on-line Cost Volume and Itemized Cost Volume Information (a-j) will not count against the 20-page limit. The itemized listing may be placed in the “Explanatory Material” section of the on-line Cost Volume form (if enough room), or as the last page(s) of the Technical Volume Upload. (Note: Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site). Ensure that this file includes your complete Technical Volume and the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) information.

a. Special Tooling and Test Equipment and Material: The inclusion of equipment and materials will be carefully reviewed relative to need and appropriateness of the work proposed. The purchase of special tooling and test equipment must, in the opinion of the Contracting Officer, be advantageous to the Government and relate directly to the specific effort. They may include such items as innovative instrumentation and/or automatic test equipment.

b. Direct Cost Materials: Justify costs for materials, parts, and supplies with an itemized list containing types, quantities, and price and where appropriate, purposes.

c. Other Direct Costs: This category of costs includes specialized services such as machining or milling, special testing or analysis, costs incurred in obtaining temporary use of specialized equipment. Proposals, which include leased hardware, must provide an adequate lease vs. purchase justification or rational.

d. Direct Labor: Identify key personnel by name if possible or by labor category if specific names are not available. The number of hours, labor overhead and/or fringe benefits and actual hourly rates for each individual are also necessary.

e. Travel: Travel costs must relate to the needs of the project. Break out travel cost by trip, with the number of travelers, airfare, per diem, lodging, etc. The number of trips required, as well as the destination and purpose of each trip should be reflected. Recommend budgeting at least one (1) trip to the Air Force location managing the contract.

f. Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is permitted. However, cost sharing is not required nor will it be an evaluation factor in the consideration of a proposal. Please note that cost share contracts do not allow fees. If proposing cost share arrangements, please note each Phase I contract total value may not exceed $150K total, while Phase II contracts shall have an initial Not to Exceed value of $750K NOTE: Subcontract arrangements involving provision of Independent Research and Development (IR&D) support are prohibited in accordance with Under Secretary of Defense (USD) memorandum “Contractor Cost Share”, dated 16 May 2001, as implemented by SAF/AQ memorandum, same title, dated 11 July 2001.

g. Subcontracts: Involvement of university or other consultants in the planning and/or research stages of the project may be appropriate. If the offeror intends such involvement, describe in detail and include information in the Cost Volume. The proposed total of all consultant fees, facility leases or usage fees, and other subcontract or purchase agreements may not exceed one-third of the total contract price or cost, unless otherwise approved in writing by the Contracting Officer. Support subcontract costs with copies of the subcontract agreements. The supporting agreement documents must adequately describe the work to be performed (i.e., Cost Volume). At a minimum, an offeror must include a Statement of Work (SOW) with a corresponding detailed Cost Volume for each planned subcontract.

h. Consultants: Provide a separate agreement letter for each consultant. The letter should briefly state what service or assistance will be provided, the number of hours required and hourly rate.

i. Any exceptions to the model Phase I purchase order (P.O.) found at
http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx (see “NOTE” below).

NOTE: If no exceptions are taken to an offeror’s proposal, the Government may award a contract without discussions (except clarifications as described in FAR 15.306(a)). Therefore, the offeror’s initial proposal should contain the offeror’s best terms from a cost or price and technical standpoint. In addition, please review the model Phase I P.O. found at https://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx and provide any exception to the clauses found therein with your cost proposal Full text for the clauses included in the P.O. may be found at http://farsite.hill.af.mil. If selected for award, the award contract or P.O. document received by your firm may vary in format/content from the model P.O. reviewed. If there are questions regarding the award document, contact the Phase I Contracting Officer listed on the selection notification. (See item g under the “Cost Volume” section, p. AF-4.) The Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Contracting Officer later determines them to be necessary.

j. DD Form 2345: For proposals submitted under export-controlled topics (either International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR)), a copy of the certified DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, or evidence of application submission must be included. The form, instructions, and FAQs may be found at the United States/Canada Joint Certification Program website, http://www.dlis.dla.mil/jcp/. Approval of the DD Form 2345 will be verified if proposal is chosen for award.

NOTE: Only Government employees and technical personnel from Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) Mitre and Aerospace Corporations, working under contract to provide technical support to AF Life Cycle Management Center and Space and Missiles Centers may evaluate proposals. All FFRDC employees have executed non-disclosure agreement (NDAs) as a requirement of their contracts. Additionally, AF support contractors may be used to administratively or technically support the Government’s SBIR Program execution. DFARS 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends (Mar 2011), allows Government support contractors to do so without company-to-company NDAs only AFTER the support contractor notifies the SBIR firm of its access to the SBIR data AND the SBIR firm agrees in writing no NDA is necessary. If the SBIR firm does not agree, a company-to-company NDA is required. The attached “NDA Requirements Form” must be completed, signed, and included, with your proposal indicating your firm’s determination regarding company-to-company NDAs for access to SBIR data by AF support contractors. Proposal packages that do not contain an Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements Form (pg AF-10) will be considered incomplete, and will NOT be considered for award. This form will not count against the 20-page limitation.

k. The Air Force does not participate in the Discretionary Technical Assistance Program. Contractors should not submit proposals that include Discretionary Technical Assistance.

PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

Failure to meet any of the criteria or to submit all required documents will result in your proposal being REJECTED and the Air Force will not evaluate your proposal. NOTE: If you are not registered in the System for Award Management, https://www.sam.gov/, you will not be eligible for an award.

1) The Air Force Phase I proposal shall be a nine-month effort and the cost shall not exceed $150,000.

2) The Air Force will accept only those proposals submitted electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/).

3) You must submit your Company Commercialization Report electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/).

It is mandatory that the complete proposal submission -- DoD Proposal Cover Sheet, Technical Volume with any appendices, Cost Volume, Itemized Cost Volume Information, and the Company Commercialization Report, Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements Form, (pg AF-10) and Certificate of Training Completion Form -- be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR Web site at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/. Each of these documents is to be submitted separately through the Web site. Your complete proposal must be submitted via the submissions site on or before the 6:00 am ET, 17 February 2016 deadline. A hardcopy will not be accepted.

The AF recommends that you complete your submission early, as computer traffic gets heavy near the solicitation closing and could slow down the system. Do not wait until the last minute. The AF will not be responsible for proposals being denied due to servers being “down” or inaccessible. Please assure that your e-mail address listed in your proposal is current and accurate. By late February, you will receive an e-mail serving as our acknowledgement that we have received your proposal. The AF is not responsible for ensuring notifications are received by firms changing mailing address/e-mail address/company points of contact after proposal submission without proper notification to the AF. Changes of this nature that occur after proposal submission or award (if selected) for Phase I and II shall be sent to the Air Force SBIR/STTR site address, afprogram@afsbirsttr.net.

AIR FORCE SBIR/STTR SITE

As a means of drawing greater attention to SBIR accomplishments, the AF has developed a SBIR/STTR site at http://www.afsbirsttr.com. Along with being an information resource concerning SBIR policies and procedures, the SBIR/STTR site is designed to help facilitate the Phase III transition process. To this end, the SBIR/STTR site contains SBIR/STTR Success Stories written by the Air Force and Phase II summary reports written and submitted by SBIR companies. Since summary reports are intended for public viewing via the Internet, they should not contain classified, sensitive, or proprietary information.

AIR FORCE PROPOSAL EVALUATIONS

The AF will utilize the Phase I proposal evaluation criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the qualifications of the principal investigator (and team), and followed by Commercialization Plan. The AF will utilize Phase II evaluation criteria in section 8.0 of the DoD solicitation; however, the order of importance will differ. The AF will evaluate proposals in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the Commercialization Plan, and then qualifications of the principal investigator (and team). Please note that where technical evaluations are essentially equal in merit, and as cost and/or price is a substantial factor, cost to the Government will be considered in determining the successful offeror. The next tie-breaker on essentially equal proposals will be the inclusion of manufacturing technology considerations.

The proposer's record of commercializing its prior SBIR and STTR projects, as shown in its Company Commercialization Report, will be used as a portion of the Commercialization Plan evaluation. If the "Commercialization Achievement Index (CAI)”, shown on the first page of the report, is at the 20th percentile or below, the proposer will receive no more than half of the evaluation points available under evaluation criterion (c) in Section 6 of the DoD 16.1 SBIR instructions. This information supersedes Paragraph 4, Section 5.4e, of the DoD 16.1 SBIR instructions.

A Company Commercialization Report showing the proposing firm has no prior Phase II awards will not affect the firm's ability to win an award. Such a firm's proposal will be evaluated for commercial potential based on its commercialization strategy.

On-Line Proposal Status and Debriefings

The AF has implemented on-line proposal status updates for small businesses submitting proposals against AF topics. At the close of the Phase I Solicitation – and following the submission of a Phase II via the DoD SBIR/STTR Submission Site (https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/) – small business can track the progress of their proposal submission by logging into the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirstr.com). The Small Business Area (http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Firm/login.aspx) is password protected and firms can view their information only.

To receive a status update of a proposal submission, click the “Proposal Status” link at the top of the page in the Small Business Area (after logging in). A listing of proposal submissions to the AF within the last 12 months is displayed. Status update intervals are: Proposal Received, Evaluation Started, Evaluation Completed, Selection Started, and Selection Completed. A date will be displayed in the appropriate column indicating when this stage has been completed. If no date is present, the proposal submission has not completed this stage. Small businesses are encouraged to check this site often as it is updated in real-time and provides the most up-to-date information available for all proposal submissions. Once the “Selection Completed” date is visible, it could still be a few weeks (or more) before you are contacted by the AF with a notification of selection or non-selection. The AF receives thousands of proposals during each solicitation and the notification process requires specific steps to be completed prior to a Contracting Officer distributing this information to small businesses.

The Principal Investigator (PI) and Corporate Official (CO) indicated on the Proposal Cover Sheet will be notified by e-mail regarding proposal selection or non-selection. The e-mail will include a link to a secure Internet page containing specific selection/non-selection information. Small Businesses will receive a notification for each proposal submitted. Please read each notification carefully and note the Proposal Number and Topic Number referenced. Again, if changes occur to the company mail or email address(es) or company points of contact after proposal submission, the information shall be provided to the AF at afprogram@afsbirsttr.net.

A debriefing may be received by written request. As is consistent with the DoD SBIR/STTR solicitation, the request must be received within 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection. Written requests for debrief must be uploaded to the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirsttr.com). Requests for debrief should include the company name and the telephone number/e-mail address for a specific point of contract, as well as an alternate. Also include the topic number under which the proposal(s) was submitted, and the proposal number(s). Further instructions regarding debrief request preparation/submission will be provided within the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site. Debrief requests received more than 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection will be fulfilled at the Contracting Officers' discretion. Unsuccessful offerors are entitled to no more than one debriefing for each proposal.

IMPORTANT: Proposals submitted to the AF are received and evaluated by different offices within the Air Force and handled on a Topic-by-Topic basis. Each office operates within their own schedule for proposal evaluation and selection. Updates and notification timeframes will vary by office and Topic. If your company is contacted regarding a proposal submission, it is not necessary to contact the AF to inquire about additional submissions. Check the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site for a current update. Additional notifications regarding your other submissions will be forthcoming.

We anticipate having all the proposals evaluated and our Phase I contract decisions within approximately three months of proposal receipt. All questions concerning the status of a proposal, or debriefing, should be directed to the local awarding organization SBIR Program Manager. Organizations and their Topic Numbers are listed later in this section (before the Air Force Topic descriptions).

PHASE II PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS

Phase II is the demonstration of the technology that was found feasible in Phase I. Only Phase I awardees are eligible to submit a Phase II proposal. All Phase I awardees will be sent a notification with the Phase II proposal submittal date and a link to detailed Phase II proposal preparation instructions. If the mail or email address(es) or firm points of contact havechanged since submission of the Phase I proposal, correct information shall be sent to the AF at afprogram@afsbirsttr.net. Please note that it is solely the responsibility of the Phase I awardee to contact this individual. Phase II efforts are typically two (2) years in duration with an initial value not to exceed $750,000.

NOTE: Phase II awardees should have a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) approved accounting system. It is strongly urged that an approved accounting system be in place prior to the AF Phase II award timeframe. If you have questions regarding this matter, please discuss with your Phase I Contracting Officer.

All proposals must be submitted electronically at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/. The complete proposal – Department of Defense (DoD) Cover Sheet, entire Technical Volume with appendices, Cost Volume and the Company Commercialization Report – must be submitted by the date indicated in the invitation. The Technical Volume is limited to 50 pages (unless a different number is specified in the invitation). The Commercialization Report, any advocacy letters, SBIR Environment Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) Questionnaire, and Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-i) will not count against the 50 page limitation and should be placed as the last pages of the Technical Volume file that is uploaded. (Note: Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site. Ensure that this single file includes your complete Technical Volume and the additional Cost Volume information.) The preferred format for submission of proposals is Portable Document Format (.pdf). Graphics must be distinguishable in black and white. Please virus-check your submissions.

AIR FORCE PHASE II ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM

On active Phase II awards, the Air Force may request a Phase II enhancement application package from a limited number of Phase II awardees. In the Air Force program, the outside investment funding must be from a Government source, usually the Air Force or other military service. The selected enhancements will extend the existing Phase II contract awards for up to one year. The Air Force will provide matching SBIR funds, up to a maximum of $750,000, to non-SBIR Government funds. If requested to submit a Phase II enhancement application package, it must be submitted through the DoD Submission Web site at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/. Contact the local awarding organization SBIR Program Manager (see Air Force SBIR Organization Listing) for more information.

AIR FORCE SBIR PROGRAM MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS

The AF reserves the right to modify the Phase II submission requirements. Should the requirements change, all Phase I awardees will be notified. The AF also reserves the right to change any administrative procedures at any time that will improve management of the AF SBIR Program.

AIR FORCE SUBMISSION OF FINAL REPORTS

All Final Reports will be submitted to the awarding AF organization in accordance with the Contract. Companies will not submit Final Reports directly to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).

AIR FORCE
16.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements

DFARS 252.227-7018(b)(8), Rights in Noncommercial Technical Data and Computer Software – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program (May 2013), allows Government support contractors access to SBIR data without company-to-company NDAs only AFTER the support contractor notifies the SBIR firm of its access to the SBIR data AND the SBIR firm agrees in writing no NDA is necessary. If the SBIR firm does not agree, a company-to-company NDA is required.

“Covered Government support contractor” is defined in 252.227-7018(a)(6) as “a contractor under a contract, the primary purpose of which is to furnish independent and impartial advice or technical assistance directly to the Government in support of the Government’s management and oversight of a program or effort (rather than to directly furnish an end item or service to accomplish a program or effort), provided that the contractor—

(i) Is not affiliated with the prime contractor or a first-tier subcontractor on the program or effort, or with any direct competitor of such prime contractor or any such first-tier subcontractor in furnishing end items or services of the type developed or produced on the program or effort; and

(ii) Receives access to the technical data or computer software for performance of a Government contract that contains the clause at 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends.”

USE OF SUPPORT CONTRACTORS:

Support contractors may be used to administratively process SBIR documentation or provide technical support related to SBIR contractual efforts to Government Program Offices.

Below, please provide your firm’s determination regarding the requirement for company-to-company NDAs to enable access to SBIR documentation by Air Force support contractors. This agreement must be signed and included in your Phase I/II proposal package

Non-Disclosure Agreement Required
(If Yes, include your firm’s NDA requirements in your proposal)

Company:


Address:


Proposal Number:


City/State/Zip:


Proposal Title:



Name:


Date:


Title/Position :


AIR FORCE SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH (SBIR)/
SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER (STTR) PROGRAMS “COMPLIANCE WITH
SBIR/STTR PROGRAM RULES

The undersigned has fully and completely reviewed this training on behalf of the proposer/awardee, understands the information presented in this training, and has the authority to make this certification on behalf of the proposer/awardee. The undersigned understands providing false or misleading information during any part of the proposal, award, or performance phase of a SBIR or STTR contract or grant may result in criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including but not limited to: fines, restitution, and/or imprisonment under 18 USC 1001; treble damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act, 31 USC 3729 et seq.; double damages and civil penalties under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 31 USC 3801 et seq.; civil recovery of award funds; suspension and/or debarment from all federal procurement and non-procurement transactions, FAR Part 9.4 or 2 CFR Part 180; and other administrative remedies including termination of active SBIR/STTR awards.

Signature:


Name:


Date:


Firm Name and Position Title:




AIR FORCE SBIR 16.1 Topic Index


AF161-001
Rapid Expeditionary Fuel Reclamation
AF161-002
Fast-setting, High-strength Material for Expedient Pavement Repair
AF161-003
Explosively Driven Fragment Imaging
AF161-004
State-of-Health Monitoring for Plasma Sources to Correlate Ground Test and Space Environment
AF161-005
Heterogeneous Porous Media for Thermal Transport Mitigation in Hypersonics
AF161-006
Neutral Particle Dynamics in Transient Plasma to Determine Ground Test Chamber Interactions
AF161-007
Validation of Low Hydrogen Embrittlement (LHE) Alkaline Zinc Nickel Electroplating for Steel and Aluminum Electrical Connectors, Back-Shells and Components
AF161-008
Generator Power Recapture
AF161-009
Material Sensor Technology for Chemical Cleaning and Stripping Process
AF161-010
Additive Manufacturing Technique for Replacement of Complex Castings
AF161-011
Acoustic Emission of Frangible, Composite, Concrete and Metallic Radar Towers
AF161-012
Additive/Rapid Manufacturing Reverse Engineering, Processing and Production Integrated Solution for Agile Manufacturing of Air Force Tooling, Fixture and Prototype Production
AF161-013
High Precision, Non-Line-of-Sight Point Cloud Generation
AF161-014
Reconfigurable Interface Test Adapter
AF161-015
Maintenance Data Collection from Non-Networked Automatic Test Equipment
AF161-016
Radio Frequency Range Modernization, Compatibility and Capability Study
AF161-017
Prediction of Stress Corrosion Cracking
AF161-018
Landing Gear Fatigue Model K Modification
AF161-019
Reconfigurable Manufacturing: A New Paradigm for Improved Performance of Depot Processes
AF161-020
Quasi-Model Development using Digital and Non-destructive Inspection Data
AF161-021
In-Process and Final Non-destructive Inspection Methods of Additive Manufactured (AM) Simulated Aerospace Critical Parts
AF161-022
Installed Systems Near Field Antenna Pattern Measurment System
AF161-023
Avian Collision Deterrents for Reflective Surfaces
AF161-024
Prediction of Boundary Layer Transition on Hypersonic Vehicles in Large-Scale Wind Tunnels and Flight
AF161-025
Micro-Climate Automated Recorder
AF161-026
Real-Time Parameterized Reduced-Order-Model (ROM)-Based Aeroservoelastic Simulator
AF161-027
Millimeter-Wave Micro-SAR (MMW uSAR)
AF161-028
Cryo-Vacuum FTS using COTS Parts for Sensor Responsivity Measurements
AF161-029
High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) Magnets
AF161-030
High Speed Extraction of Hyperspectral Images within a Plume Radiation Database Structure
AF161-031
Rapid Assessment of Structural Vulnerability
AF161-032
yIRIG Data Recorder Validationup
AF161-033
Precise Autonomous Vehicle Velocity Control
AF161-034
Fiber Metrology Verification and Validation for High Power Fiber Lasers
AF161-035
Image Processing that Supports Air-to-Air, High-Bandwidth, Image-Based, Active Tracking
AF161-036
Mitigation of Scintillation and Speckle for Tracking Moving Targets
AF161-037
Compact Optical Inertial Reference Unit for High Energy Laser System Line-of-Sight Stabilization
AF161-038
Generation of High Rep-rate/High Average Power USPL Sources
AF161-039
Game-Based Combat Rescue Helicopter Aircrew Mission Training and Rehearsal
AF161-040
Wearable Head Tracker System (WHTS)
AF161-041
Software Architecture Evaluation Tool for Evaluating Offeror Proposals
AF161-042
Simplified Aero Model Development and Validation Environment
AF161-043
PED Operational Domain (POD)
AF161-044
Finite Element Model of the F-35 Ejection Seat
AF161-045
Information Fusion to Enable Shared Perception between Humans and Machines
AF161-046
Inexpensive Haptic Devices and 3D Medical Game for the Interosseous Infusion Procedure
AF161-047
Cognition Biomarker Measurement in Sweat as an Index of Human Performance
AF161-048
Microdosimetry of High Amplitude Ultrashort RF and Electric Fields
AF161-049
Multi-modal Synthetic Sensor Data Generator with Real-World Environmental Effects and Sensor Physics
AF161-050
Microcosm Forecasting Utilizing Swarm Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology
AF161-051
Airborne Network using Spectrum-Efficient Communications Technologies (ANSECT)
AF161-052
Cognitive Airborne Communications with RF Interference Mitigation and Anti-jam Capabilities (RIMA)
AF161-053
Airborne Cloud for the Tactical Edge User (ABC)
AF161-054
(This topic has been deleted from this solicitation)
AF161-055
Survivable, Secure and Dependable Wireless Communications
AF161-056
Fusion of Multiple Motion Information Sources
AF161-057
ySecure and Survivable Antennas for Communication in a Nuclear Environmentup
AF161-058
Modular, Secure and Affordable Design for NextGen ADS-B Integration
AF161-059
Event Recognition for Space Situational Awareness
AF161-060
Object Based Production (OBP) for Satellite Characterization
AF161-061
Object Based Production (OBP) for Satellite Characterization
AF161-062
Innovative TWTs for VW Band Communications
AF161-063
Mission Visualization
AF161-064
Coordinated Data, Better Information, Enhanced Decision Making
AF161-065
Information Synthesis Algorithms for Sense and Avoid (SAA)
AF161-066
Rapid and Reliable Identification of Counterfeit Electronic Components
AF161-067
High-Performance Body Armor-Integrated, Multifunctional Batteries for Dismounted Soldier
AF161-068
High-Temperature Electric Wires
AF161-069
Physics-based airframe stress calculations at flow-separation dominated flight conditions for aircraft operational clearance, life prediction and inspection scheduling
AF161-070
Advanced Circuit Technologies for Reliable, Low-Cost, High-Temperature Electronic Controls
AF161-071
High-Speed Measurements of Flame-Stabilization Processes in Vitiated Augmentor Environments for Understanding Screech, Rumble, and Blowoff
AF161-072
yuStructurally Embedded Heat Exchangerp
AF161-073
Online Chemical Diagnostics for Fuel System Flows
AF161-074
Durable Pre-cooling Heat Exchangers for High Mach Flight
AF161-075
Automated Synthesis of Propulsion-Power-Thermal Architectures
AF161-076
Probabilistic Design of Fuel Thermal Management Systems
AF161-077
Fast Valve for Starting Hypersonic Wind Tunnels
AF161-078
Integration of "Cold Atom" Technologies into Prototype for Use in Heavy Aircraft
AF161-079
Embedded Computing Cyber Testing and Assessment Methods
AF161-080
Additive Manufacturing Techniques
AF161-081
Precision Spacecraft Instrumentation Booms
AF161-082
L Band Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog Converter
AF161-083
GNSS Jammer Location Using Multipath Exploitation
AF161-084
Cognitive UHF Radio for Enhanced GPS Crosslinks
AF161-085
Improved Satellite Catalog Processing for Rapid Object Characterization
AF161-086
Solid-State Power Amplifier Thermal Management
AF161-087
Algorithm Development for WFOV Mission Data Processing
AF161-088
Integrated Code Base and High Performance Embedded Computing Tool
AF161-089
Development of Flat Lens Technology
AF161-090
High Data Rate/Low SWaP-C GPS Crosslinks
AF161-091
Low Probability of Intercept PNT Augmentation Network
AF161-092
Hypervelocity and Plasma Reentry Research Testbed
AF161-093
Multi-material Additive Manufacturing for Advanced Space Systems
AF161-094
Robust spacecraft solar array technology
AF161-095
Resilient Sturctural Sensing Technologies for Responsive Anomaly Resolution
AF161-096
On-orbit Calibration of Staring Imaging Sensors Using Innovative Techniques and Field-deployable Instrumentation with High Radiometric and Temporal Sensitivity
AF161-097
Novel High Transmittance Curved Surface Laser Eye and Sensor Protection
AF161-098
Enhanced Starting Reliability and High Altitude Operation of Internal Combustion Engines on Miniature Munitions
AF161-099
Ultra Miniature Beam Steered Laser Radar System
AF161-100
Multi-Axis Precision Seeker-Laser Pointing Gimbal
AF161-101
yuFiber Optic Networking Technology for Advanced Payload Integration on F-35 and Other Platformsp
AF161-102
yuHigh Fidelity Algorithm to Model the Statistical Variations of Ground Target Signatures in Scene Generator Systemsp
AF161-103
Low Signal to Noise Ratio Radar Technology Investigation
AF161-105
Sensors for Remote Airfield Assessment
AF161-106
Compact SWIR DFOV Optics
AF161-107
Integrating the EPIC Hydrocode with MEVA and Endgame Framework
AF161-108
Innovative, Cost-Effective Techniques for Antenna Electronic Beam Steering
AF161-109
Develop Urban Target Cumulative Structural Damage Models
AF161-110
Ultra-Wideband Structurally Integrated Antenna Architectures
AF161-111
Manufacturability Improvements for Highly Integrated Monolithic Exploding Foil Initiator
AF161-112
Armament Life-cycle Status Monitoring Device
AF161-113
Direct Measurement of Protection System Breakdown and Corrosion Processes within Aircraft Structures
AF161-114
Alternative Nondestructive Testing Inspection Method of In-service Aircraft Bolts and Wheels
AF161-115
Direct Measurement of Bondline Temperature During Composite Repair/Fabrication
AF161-116
Rapid, Local Characterization of the Fatigue Crack Growth Behavior
AF161-117
Automated High Speed Grind for- High Pressure Compressor Blade Repair
AF161-118
Blade Repair of Integrally Bladed Disks (IBDs)
AF161-119
Non-Destructive Inspection for Repaired Integrally Bladed Disk Airfoils
AF161-120
Development of a High-Temperature Bond Coat for Environmental Barrier Coatings on SiC/SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)
AF161-121
NDI Tool for Heat Damage Detection in Composites
AF161-122
Novel Moderate Temperature Polymeric Absorbing Material
AF161-123
MQ-9 Lightweight Anti-Ice/De-Ice Solution
AF161-124
Accelerated Adhesive Cure for Nutplate Repair
AF161-125
Self-Referencing Positioning System
AF161-126
Structrual High Power Microwave, Nuclear and Electromagnetic Pulse Protection of Organic Matrix Composite and Ceramic Materials for Munitions
AF161-127
Chromium-Free Flexible Primer
AF161-128
Materials Processing for Heterogeneous Integration of Optical Isolators
AF161-129
Certification Modeling for Composites with Voids and Wrinkles for Engines and Structures
AF161-130
Innovative Application and Modifications of Scanning Kelvin Probe Technologies for Measurement of Coating Degradation and Detection of Corrosion
AF161-131
Airborne Graph Analytics Applications for Multi-sensor Fusion and Integration
AF161-132
Fully-Adaptive Radar Modeling and Simulation Development
AF161-133
Radar Agnostic, Low Computation Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Automatic Target Recognition (ATR)
AF161-134
Low Profile Multiband Airborne Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Antenna
AF161-135
Lightweight Infrared Search and Track Systems
AF161-136
Deployable Lightweight Upper Air Sensing System
AF161-137
Wideband Efficient Dual Polarized High Frequency (HF) Communication Antenna
AF161-138
Cognitive Processing and Exploitation of 3D Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Imagery Data
AF161-139
Automated Target Recognition (ATR) Detection from Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Data
AF161-140
Multi-Attribute Circuit Authentication and Reliability Techniques
AF161-141
Integrated Circuit Authentication and Reliability Tool and Techniques
AF161-142
Integrated Circuit (IC) Die Extraction and Reassembly
AF161-143
Electronic Image Stabilization for Staring Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Sensors
AF161-144
Continuous High Pulse Repetition Frequency (HPRF) Mode for Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD)
AF161-145
Compact Wideband Direction Finder
AF161-146
V-Band Terminal Low Noise Amplifier
AF161-147
High Performance Global Positioning System (GPS) M-Code Acquisition Engine
AF161-148
Q-Band Uplink Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA)
AF161-149
Synergistic/Combine Radio Frequency/Electro-Optical (RF/EO) Processing for Synthetic Aperture Imaging (SAR)
AF161-150
Cloud Services for Trustworthy Microelectronics Assurance
AF161-151
Automated 3D Reconstruction of a Scene From Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance Video at High Zoom
AF161-152
Broadband Beam Steering Devices for Midwave Infrared (MWIR)
AF161-153
Fusion of Kinematic and Identification (ID) Information
AF161-224
Hypersonic Weapon Airframe Simulator for Thermal Loading and Structural Vibration

AIR FORCE SBIR 16.1 Topic Descriptions

AF161-001
TITLE: Rapid Expeditionary Fuel Reclamation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop an expeditionary-capable system to perform rapid reclamation of fuel spilled from storage containment due to accident or damage to a condition suitable for immediate reuse.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force employs enormous quantities of hydrocarbon fuels (JP-8 being the primary concern) in storage systems around the world. Large amounts of fuels can potentially be lost due to tank puncture or destruction. Fuel spilled during tank failure is usually captured in fuel tank containment berms, where it acquires contaminants during exposure to the elements or fire-fighting activities. Three types of contaminants are of primary concern, at a total concentration of 2 percent or less: water from rain or run-off; particulate matter, such as dirt, grime, mold, etc., which may be chemically reactive with JP8; and fire suppressants—particularly aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), which may produce foam/fuel emulsions or chemically alter fuels. The Air Force seeks solutions that will rapidly decontaminate fuels, on site, producing fuel that can be placed back into the dispensing system via fuel truck or pumped directly to storage to be immediately used. This system will separate the contaminants from the spilled fuel and pump the contaminated refuse into a separate system or holding area. The system will continuously or iteratively monitor the quality of the fuel during the reclamation process(es).

The most difficult challenge is expected to be emulsions; minimizing the time to solve the issue of contaminated emulsions is an objective of the system. The following are specific minimum requirements for the final system:
1) can be towed by a small truck or similar vehicle; 2) setup time less than one hour; 3) redundant elements susceptible to consumption or occlusion, so process flow can be maintained during replacement; 4) in-situ monitoring and verification that recovered fuel is usable; 5) automated alarm and/or shutdown when operating conditions exceed design safety specifications, or other faults occur; 6) separate paths and storage capacity for recovered fuel and treatment residues; 7) 10,000-gal/hr throughput after breaking emulsions; 8) 200,000-gal capacity for a single event; 9) 80 percent recovery of fuel from the first cycle through the process; and 10) ability to pump fuel from a berm system that is burning.

The initial concept would be to place the decontamination capability between the contaminated fuel pool and an R-11/R17.5 fuels truck or a nearby storage tank, so the technology separates and purifies spilt fuel as it pumps the recovered fuel back into the "clean" system. Proposed technologies must be technically sound and realistically feasible for engineering design, production and testing. The intent is to incorporate the technology into existing fuel filtering/recovery systems to improve and enhance fuel recovery capability.

PHASE I: Develop and demo as breadboard prototype concept to remove 0.5 wt-percent each of water, AFFF, rust fines and soot from JP-8. Design system to monitor fuel quality in reclamation flow. Propose prototype-to-product concepts for a rapid, transportable fuel reclamation system that measures fuel quality throughout the process. Deliverables: system designs, four interim and one final technical report.

PHASE II: Refine breadboard and pilot-scale capability to demonstrate all steps of a continuous fuel reclamation process and flow quality monitoring at a rate of 10 gal/min for 30 minutes and that is suitable for engineering development to a final product. Deliverables: 11 interim reports & a final technical report that details of designs and testing, including test results, and an initial manufacturing design for a fieldable system scaled to satisfy the full set of performance conditions above.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Final product will be suitable for fuel recovery due to loss at commercial fuel-handling and storage facilities due to attack, accident or natural disaster, and rapid fuel reclamation to minimize environmental damage due to accidental fuel spills from storage locations.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: JP-8, fuel recovery, reclamation, kerosene


AF161-002
TITLE: Fast-setting, High-strength Material for Expedient Pavement Repair


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate performance of a material that can be used as a pavement top layer that, within a target of one hour from start of application to a prepared sublayer, can support at least 100 passes of loading equivalent to landing a C-17.

DESCRIPTION: In a global scenario, pavement infrastructures constitute the key element for air transportation systems. As aircraft operating surfaces, pavements are intensively used and their failure due to serious damage—either structural or functional—determining service interruptions imposes considerable impact on operations. Limitations on pavement accessibility can even prevent successful execution of missions. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to identify or develop a material or series of materials to serve as a pavement capping layer, which quickly reach a state of setting or rapidly cure after application to a condition of strength sufficient to restore the ability to support aircraft traffic. In the context related to damage and subsequent repair, two categories of scenarios are to be considered. The first scenario refers to the spall repair due to routine wear and tear, freeze/thaw, and erosion; the other scenario is related to crater repair due to damage inflicted by incoming munitions. The latter is the more extreme case, as it represents an extreme event and the time to recovery in an uncertain environment must be as short as possible. In either circumstance, time expended to repair inflicted or cumulative pavement degradation is the main activity that causes interruption of vital airborne operations, and the goal of this topic is to identify superior expedient repair materials that will significantly shorten the time needed to restore minimal operating functionality.

Under the best possible post attack conditions, application, compaction and setting to load-bearing strength of asphaltic materials requires from 80 to 100 minutes. This time period includes material placement, compaction, and flooding the surface with water to accelerate the cooling process. The analogous procedure using a rapid-set Portland cement capping material requires approximately 120 minutes for placement and curing. The ideal product is a material that develops load supporting strength rapidly while allowing sufficient time for placement and work-up. The two key requirements are the limited time for placement and rapid strength development sufficient to support the designated aircraft load.

The target for this topic is a material and application process that will achieve performance equivalent to or better than the existing best material in 60 minutes or less. Selection factors include compatibility with existing construction equipment, logistical requirements, novelty and cost Proposals based on warm mix asphalt will not be accepted.

PHASE I: Develop a paving material that has the ability to sustain aircraft traffic (equivalent to C-17) and has limited construction time up 75 minutes. Provide experimental evidence of the material strength development as a function of time.

PHASE II: Refine composition and delivery method to limit placement and cure time to 60 minutes or less from start of application. Prepare a “best” material composition for full-scale test section (at least 8 ft by 8 ft) application and traffic testing. Construction and traffic testing (with C-17 load cart) will be conducted at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center pavement testing facility. Cost analysis, product transition plan and environmental issues shall be included in Phase II.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Rapid pavement repair in support of timed military infrastructure recovery; commercial application in support of Transportation Agency maintenance practice for strategic roadways and runways supporting intense commercial activities and freights.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: aircraft operating surface, crater, expedient, runway


AF161-003
TITLE: Explosively Driven Fragment Imaging


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

OBJECTIVE: Develop test diagnostics to determine the size and velocity of explosively driven particles and/or fragments ranging in size from 100s of microns to several centimeters in the largest dimension. Fragments may be inert or reacting during measurement.

DESCRIPTION: Many tests in both the qualification of a new energetic material and warhead design require the determination of size and velocity of fragments[1-2]. Traditionally, the size of the fragments has been measured by firing into a soft material such as sand, insulation, or shaving cream. The fragments must then be removed from the material by hand and individually measured, which is extremely time consuming.

Recently, high-speed imaging techniques have become more feasible for both research and test and evaluation. High-speed cameras and radar may provide the measurement ability with the development of considerable post processing techniques. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) has been used to measure the velocity of an explosively driven expanding cloud of particles[3]. Particle Doppler Velocimetry (PDV) is emerging as a technique to measure velocity during high-speed tests[4]. Schlieren imaging is showing promise in imaging high speed experiments [5]. Additionally, manual techniques have shown some advances over the traditional methods. For example, a particle strip recorder that captures particles as a function of time and then allows for counting in the post-processing. However, by itself, none of the techniques described here will determine the fragment velocity and size for the complete distribution of particles generated during the explosive fragmentation of a composite or metal tube.

The test environment for explosively driven fragments is extremely harsh. Both the explosive fireball and the fragments will damage most test equipment. Due to this environment, measurement tools must be protected with only disposable parts exposed to the test environment. This requirement will drive the design of any test system, particularly those based on high-speed imaging, in which the camera or other device can be extremely costly.

There is a need to replace manual fragment size, velocity, and angle measurement techniques with real-time imaging techniques capable of capturing simultaneous size, velocity, and angle during explosively driven (high speed) events. The technique needs to be survivable for the harsh test environment. The technique needs to be able to capture greater than 80 percent of the fragments in large scale tests. Additionally, it needs to be versatile enough to capture micron sized particles during small scale experiments. It may require more than one complimentary technique to meet these requirements. Finally, post-processing should be automated to reduce data reduction time as much as possible. Ideally, post-processing would result in a z-data file capable of implementation in standard lethality codes.

PHASE I: Design of system capable of measuring particles and/or fragments ranging from 100s of microns to several centimeters in the longest dimension created through explosive loading of a metal or composite tube. Long aspect ratio fragments should also be considered. Multiple complimentary test techniques may be considered to capture the complete size range.

PHASE II: Build hardware based on Phase I design. Validate measurement technique, including testing, modeling and simulation. Representative test articles range from 2-inch dia. by 7-inches long to approximately 11-inch dia. by 80-inches long. Any demonstrations would be expected on small articles with modeling and simulation to prove validity for large articles. Due to extremely large number of fragments and particles in a given test event, post-processing should be automated to the extent possible.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Test techniques for the measurement of fragments would be useful at all major DoD weapon test facilities to reduce data reduction time. Additionally, high-speed particle measurement techniques are applicable in aerospace applications, e.g., debris impacting a spacecraft.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: fragment, explosive, test measurement


AF161-004
TITLE: State-of-Health Monitoring for Plasma Sources to Correlate Ground Test and Space Environment


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

OBJECTIVE: Develop an instrument package capable of high fidelity measurements and long-term state-of-health monitoring of plasma properties from partially ionized electric propulsion plasma source in the space environment test chambers.

DESCRIPTION: The use of electric propulsion (EP) for satellite station-keeping, orbit transfer, and re-positioning has demonstrated significant advantages over hydrazine-based chemical propulsion systems, such as lower satellite wet mass and lower cost with smaller launch vehicles.[1,2] However, the low thrust inherent in EP devices necessitates many weeks or months of firing, which imposes significant schedule and cost requirements on the lifetime qualification testing and introduces uncertainty for possible thruster plasma interactions with the test and evaluation (T&E) vacuum chamber. There are significant differences between the space environment and T&E in a ground chamber at approx. 1x10-5 torr, such as (1) four or more orders of magnitude lower pressure in the geostationary earth orbit (GEO) that impacts thruster performance, lifetime, and plasma discharge oscillations; (2) the presence of grounded, metallic facility walls that generate sheaths in the vacuum chamber and negate the spacecraft charging that is inherent on-orbit; and (3) the presence of back-sputtered chamber particles on the thruster surfaces that may influence thruster discharge characteristics or lifetime.[3-4] State-of-the-art EP plasma models have limited predictive capability and cannot capture these facility interactions or differences between ground T&E chambers and space environment[5]. Thus, the need for on-orbit thruster-spacecraft state-of-health (SOH) monitoring is becoming an essential tool to correlate flight data to ground T&E and plasma simulations.

In the absence of EP flight qualification testing on a space platform, future spacecraft with EP will rely on extensive ground T&E and ultimately assume increased risk for a system that has not been demonstrated in the operational environment. To accelerate improvement in ground T&E capabilities and predictive modeling, a self-contained sensor suite with diagnostics is needed to directly compare thruster plasma between different test facilities and in space. Possible diagnostics include energy analyzers, flux probes, and Langmuir probes. The diagnostic would be capable of periodic, time-averaged measurements as well as time-resolved capabilities to periodically evaluate plasma oscillations up to ~100 kHz. Although these diagnostics exist separately, this test capability must satisfy a number of criteria to support state-of-the-art satellite T&E, including a self-contained unit (such as a 10cm x 10cm x10cm, or 1U cubesat) with low power requirements <10 W, has the ability to survive the space environment up to 15 years, includes power electronics and data handling, and possesses the flexibility to determine plasma properties both on-orbit and a vacuum chamber. This last requirement is complicated by the differences in the ambient plasma and background conditions between ground T&E chamber and space environment described above. It is expected the same SOH monitoring unit would be operated on the ground and a satellite.

Upon successful technology demonstration with a representative Hall thruster system, the measurement capability would be transitioned to research facilities at the Air Force Research Laboratory and/or the Air Force Test Center. Opportunities to directly compare ground T&E results to measurements of the space environment may become available as capabilities reach more advanced levels.

PHASE I: Perform proof-of-concept analysis and experiments that demonstrate the feasibility of the diagnostic suite for a xenon plasma in representative ground chamber environment. Identify key requirements for validating the technology, potential challenges, accuracy, limitations, cost estimate for a protoflight system, and propose approach for Phase II demonstration.

PHASE II: Develop diagnostic capability with temporal resolution of 10 microseconds. Demonstrate technology objectives with xenon plasma in a Hall thruster discharge at an Air Force facility. Deliverables include diagnostic hardware, measurement uncertainty analysis, calibration technique, and documentation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Flight hardware would for transition to DoD organizations and prime contractors conducting electric propulsion research, T&E, and flight support to other national space assets. Additional transition partners may include NASA and the U.S. industrial sector for commercial satellites.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: plasma, diagnostic, state-of-health, Hall thruster


AF161-005
TITLE: Heterogeneous Porous Media for Thermal Transport Mitigation in Hypersonics


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Design and develop thermal insulators containing thermal radiation inhibitors for reusable application at temperature exposures exceeding 1650K over one hour, and highest possible heat load configuration that is pertinent of hypersonic platforms.

DESCRIPTION: Hypersonic vehicle systems require efficient thermal insulators that are optimized to manage thermal radiation transfer and gas conduction heat transfer and offer structural protection during sustained hypersonic flight and atmospheric entry where the maximum temperature capability can exceed 2000K. This technical challenge requires theory application for radiative properties of diffusion scattering in porous media which also takes into account combined radiation and conduction heat transfer. Theoretical approaches can in principle exploit natural transparency and reflectivity properties for electromagnetic waves in the hypersonic regime provided the interplay between the surface characteristics and the porous media are designed to selectively control the emission, absorption and scattering of thermal radiation. The objective of this solicitation is to design insulators that efficiently suppress the radiation mode of heat transfer through physics based models, demonstrate fabrication technologies, and validate the predicted response at the hypersonic regime of interest.

PHASE I: Design and develop thermal radiation inhibited structures for reusable applications at temperatures exceeding 1650K over one hour, and highest possible heat load configuration that is pertinent to hypersonic platforms. Design and fabricate insulator media that validates predicted thermal transport properties.

PHASE II: Develop both analytical, first-principle theories, and random walk models of the radiative and conductive properties of optimized insulator media. Establish model extrapolation strategies for the best available model that minimizes the adverse effect of length scale changes. Optimize scattering, absorption, and morphological stability of heterogeneous porous media for temperatures exceeding 1650K. Transition technology to the industrial constructs.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential transition partners include the Air Force, DARPA, NASA and the U.S. industrial sector for hypersonic application. Alternative aeronautics markets may also be possible for air-breathing applications, industrial applications such as plasma processing and micro-fabrication techniques.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: hypersonics, ablation, emissivity, reflectivity, black-body radiation, opacifier


AF161-006
TITLE: Neutral Particle Dynamics in Transient Plasma to Determine Ground Test Chamber Interactions


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

OBJECTIVE: Develop measurement capability to determine neutral particle flow dynamics in plasma far from equilibrium.

DESCRIPTION: The impact of plasma source technology is expanding, ranging from innovative terrestrial applications such as water decontamination and purification, plasma processing, and plasma micro/nano-fabrication techniques to highly efficiency electric propulsion for satellites maneuvering[1,2]. Although the methods of plasma generation and operational environments are diverse, the ability to characterize neutral particle dynamics provides critical information on ionization processes, energy conversion, and interactions with surrounding materials. For plasma far from equilibrium and in extreme environments, the spatial and temporal variation of neutral particle properties drives plasma behavior and instabilities. However the dynamic variation in neutral distribution is extremely difficult to quantify. In many cases the direction of technology advances further exacerbates these challenges, such as the increased power and xenon gas propellant throughput of electric propulsion systems that are pushing the limits of ground test chamber pumping capability. Background pressures of world-class research, test and evaluation (T&E) vacuum chambers used for advanced electric propulsion are four or more orders of magnitude higher than the geostationary earth orbit (GEO) environment, and significant chamber upgrades are cost prohibitive. Historically, background pressures less than 3.0x10-5 torr were considered acceptable for flight qualification of electric propulsion systems[3]. However in some cases, such as a Hall thruster, the elevated background neutral particles have impacted thruster instabilities, performance, lifetime, and exhaust ion plume[4]. Thus, understanding the neutral particle dynamics is critical for T&E.

State-of-the-art neutral diagnostics for a partially ionized gas do not enable high-fidelity interrogation of both spatial and temporal features of the neutral dynamics at sufficient resolution needed to improve predictive plasma models, T&E capabilities, and develop next generation plasma source technologies. The objective is to measure neutral particle number density with measurement resolution of 1-10 microseconds and 1-5 mm in a partially ionized xenon gas. To this end, an innovative neutral particle diagnostic capability may be developed for a Hall thruster plasma source with xenon propellant, where xenon plasma number density is approximately 0.1-5.0x1018 /m3 and electron temperature ranges from 1eV to 40eV [5]. Non-intrusive measurements that do not perturb the plasma, a portable diagnostic configuration, and cost-effective approaches are preferred.

Upon successful technology development, the measurement capability would be demonstrated and transitioned to Air Force research and/or test facilities.

PHASE I: Perform proof-of-concept analysis and experiments that demonstrate the feasibility of the neutral diagnostic measurement technique in partially ionized xenon gas. Identify key requirements for validating the technology, potential challenges, accuracy, limitations, and approach for Phase II demonstration.

PHASE II: Develop a fully functional neutral number density measurement capability with resolution of 1-10 microseconds and 1-5 mm in a partially ionized xenon gas. Demonstrate technology objectives with xenon propellant in a Hall thruster discharge at Air Force facility. Deliverables include diagnostic hardware, measurement uncertainty analysis, calibration technique, documentation, and data.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential transition partners include the Air Force, NASA and the U.S. industrial sector for commercial satellites. Alternative terrestrial markets may also be possible, industrial applications such as plasma processing and micro-fabrication techniques.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: neutral diagnostic, plasma, partially-ionized, Hall thruster


AF161-007
TITLE: Validation of Low Hydrogen Embrittlement (LHE) Alkaline Zinc Nickel Electroplating for Steel and Aluminum Electrical Connectors, Back-Shells and Components


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate environmentally friendly, low-hydrogen embrittlement (LHE) alkaline zinc nickel plating for replacing cadmium plating on steel and aluminum electrical connectors, back-shells and components for aircraft system components.

DESCRIPTION: Many of the electrical connectors currently used by DoD contain cadmium (Cd). Additional components on some DoD weapons systems require a ground path for static discharge (i.e., C-5 fuel tank vent caps). These components also require Cd plating due to highly corrosive environments. Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Furthermore, the cadmium is typically coated conversion coated with a hex-chromate which is also hazardous. Both the cadmium plating process and its subsequent conversion coating have been proven to be toxic (unlike other processes such as chromium plating, where a hazardous process yields a non-hazardous coating).

In January 2007, the U.S. President signed Executive Order (EO) 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, requiring government agencies to reduce the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials that are acquired, used, or disposed. Cadmium is among the chemicals to be reduced by the DoD. Additionally, wastewater discharge from cadmium electroplating baths must meet effluent limitations dictated by regulations under the Clean Water Act, and any sludge from wastewater treatment must be managed as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). As a result of these regulations, the use of cadmium significantly raises the maintenance costs throughout the life of the plated parts. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted to analyze the cost impact of using an alternative coating in place of cadmium electroplating versus the costs of implementing a full medical surveillance program. Based on data from NADEP Cherry Point, elimination of cadmium electroplating would save the facility more than $20,000 per employee per year. The costs-per-square-inch for plating varies from facility to facility, but similar cost savings is anticipated at other DoD depots.

Due to these increasing costs, regulatory pressure, and risk to personnel performing these processes, the sustainability of the DoD’s surface treatment capability is somewhat threatened. Therefore, this effort seeks to gain approval for the use of Low Hydrogen Embrittlement (LHE) Alkaline Zn-Ni on aluminum and steel electrical connectors and other components with electrical/ground path critical applications. It is anticipated that the successful implementation of this alternative coating will not only comply with the requirements of EO 13423, but will also reduce total life-cycle costs of the weapon system.

PHASE I: Demonstrate plating technique to apply LHE alkaline Zn-Ni plating on aluminum and demonstrate the feasibility of replacing cadmium plating with a LHE alkaline zinc nickel plating on steel and aluminum electrical connectors, back-shells and components on aircraft and propeller system components.

PHASE II: Further develop, optimize and implement the approach from Phase I and demonstrate the process improvements with LHE alkaline zinc nickel electrical application development and test articles designed in Phase I. Mechanical and environmental properties, as well as process techniques, will be optimized and validated. Component alloy qualification testing and actual part service evaluation testing will be conducted.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The elimination of cadmium is beneficial for both military and commercial aircraft applications. Any aircraft currently utilizing cadmium plating on electrical connectors, back-shells and components for aircraft system components will have applications for this approach.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: electrical, connectors, backshells, aircraft, steel, aluminum, zinc-nickel, cadmium


AF161-008
TITLE: Generator Power Recapture


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this topic is to increase the depot energy efficiency by utilizing electrical energy produced by testing generators.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force tests and repairs both airborne and ground power generators. The generators are mainly AC with one 277V DC generator. Several generators are run, sometimes for several hours at a time, to perform test and repair functions. There is an opportunity here to capture the power being created by the test generators. The Air Force desires to capture the test energy to enhance facilities energy efficiency and have a positive environmental impact.

The generator tests must conform to and meet technical order (TO) requirements. Essentially the generators are run/tested at 0-, 25-, 50- and 100-percent loads for a certain amount of time. The critical requirement is to be able to accurately apply the load while the test stand monitors the generator. There are both resistive and reactive elements to the loads that must be applied.

The AC generators produce either 120V or 208V output at either 60Hz or 400Hz. The size of the generators range form 10kW up to 900kW. The facility has both 120V and 208V electrical power.

PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary business case analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements. Investigate/prepare paper work for required certifications.

PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to a flight-ready article and shall undergo testing to validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design. Obtain certifications/authorization to put energy into the building / power grid.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: If cost effective, implement developed technology.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: generators, energy production, support equipment, power, efficient depot


AF161-009
TITLE: Material Sensor Technology for Chemical Cleaning and Stripping Process


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Find an automated method of identifying alloys (in a production environment) prior to processing in a chemical cleaning/stripping solution.

DESCRIPTION: The current process for identifying alloy groups is time consuming and prone to human error. It requires the technician to examine the part, identify a part number, and then compare that part number to a list of part numbers to determine the alloy(s) present in the part. Misidentification of the part happens far too often, resulting in the parts being placed in the wrong chemical solution, resulting in damage to the part. Every part that is placed in the wrong solution must be evaluated by an engineer, and can result in the part being condemned for further use. The parts needing to be cleaned usually contain dirt on them or have various coatings on them that hinder the ability to identify the alloy(s). Titanium, aluminum, and magnesium are the alloys that cause concern, because the various chemical solutions used can damage these alloys.

Evaluate methods available for detecting the following alloys (at a minimum): titanium, aluminum, and magnesium in aircraft and aircraft engine parts in a production (not laboratory) environment. Successful methods should correctly identify the alloy(s) in a matter of seconds, not minutes, with a very high probability of detection. Parts to be tested should have various coatings and them and can possibly be dirty. The coatings and dirt would be such that you would find on a typical aircraft part or typical aircraft engine after it has been in use for hundreds or even thousands of hours.

PHASE I: Research and develop concept demonstration that shows technology proposed addresses the above requirements

PHASE II: Prototype the detection method first in a laboratory and then in a production environment at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. Conduct multiple trials and refine the method by testing it against various aircraft and aircraft engine parts (of all sizes and types) to ensure that it works regardless of part being tested.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition the method to AFMC for use in its facilities at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; Hill AFB, Utah; and Warner-Robins AFB, Georgia, as well as any other Air Force or DoD facilities that could benefit from it.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: material sensor technology, chemical cleaning, chemical stripping, alloys, titanium, magnesium, aluminum, coatings


AF161-010
TITLE: Additive Manufacturing Technique for Replacement of Complex Castings


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop agile/additive manufacturing technologies for Air Force to replace traditionally complex cast tooling or the current cast parts with high precision tolerances and intricate internal features that cannot be machined.

DESCRIPTION: Many aerospace systems require intricate castings of aluminum or steel parts with multiple internal surfaces that are very difficult to make resulting in a very high first article failure rate. In addition, many are needed in low volume making production runs extremely costly and time consuming to manufacture. A technology is being sought that has the ability to employ additive manufacturing techniques to resolve the manufacturing complexity, cost and time issues created through the traditional casting approach. This technique must produce parts accurate to 0.0005 inches with an objective of 0.001-inch threshold for the entire part. The technology must be capable of placing material with properties meeting or exceeding the material properties currently used in each application. These materials include, but are not limited to A356-T6 Al, 7075-T651 AL, CRE Steel (15-5PH and 17-4PH), 4140 and 4340 Steel. Secondary manufacturing procedures, such as heat treatment or protective finishing, are allowed to achieve final properties. The bounding box for most parts is 18 in x 18 in x18 in or less though some parts would require a larger capacity of approximately 24 in x 24 in x 36 in. The final operation should be as automated as possible and require very little user training. The technology must leverage information from a fully annotated solid model to define its finished shape.

Limitations of current casting techniques drive high cost and schedule requirements for many aerospace system components especially when purchased at low volume. Additive manufacturing has demonstrated strong potential for being utilized as a replacement but has not yet been demonstrated for the size, strength and volume of these applications. This project will most likely require new innovative equipment and processes to be developed to demonstrate the ability of the technology to meet the requirements of each phase.

To support this effort an Agile/Additive Manufacturing government team will be identified and assigned from across the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and Air Force Research Laboratory to assist in the Phase I effort. The team will assist in part selection and in providing any supportive part technical information that is available. In many cases it may be necessary to reverse engineer the part and create the data needed.

PHASE I: Research and develop a scoped effort to explain how agile/additive manufacturing can replace current casting tooling and selected casted parts without the need for cast tooling in a concept demonstration. The final report can detail requirements for any proposed Phase II continued development to meet tolerance objects shown above.

PHASE II: Based on the Phase I concept, continue the research/development for prototype demonstration on selected cast tooling and cast parts jointly agreed on by proposer and the government support team. Final report will document results, benefits, any airworthiness test requirements and transition plan required to complete transition into production capability.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The technology developed during Phase II will allow enhancements to expand to more complex cast tooling or parts with tighter tolerances.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: additive, manufacturing, cast, casting


AF161-011
TITLE: Acoustic Emission of Frangible, Composite, Concrete and Metallic Radar Towers


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop the acoustic emission (AE) technology into a non-destructive inspection (NDI) sustainment/inspection tool. This technology will be applied to towers (composite and metallic), as well as the composite concrete foundations.

DESCRIPTION: Advanced radar notification is a critical item for warfighter capabilities. The ongoing sustainment and inspections of these facilities is critical to the warfighter capabilities. Many of the radar sites throughout the world are over 50 years old and have had very little NDI inspections. For five years the NDI Program Office (NDIPO) at Hill AFB, Utah, has been involved in a sustainment/inspection program. In the past five years of inspections, there have been very little inspection breakthroughs. Due to lack of access to welds and the difficult location of many parts of the towers, no standard methods have been developed. Visual inspection of welds using a bore scope and pulse echo ultrasonic on assembly bolts have been the extent of inspection capability. An NDI inspection method that is more sensitive than visual inspection will be a vast improvement for the reliability of the NDI inspections.

The AE technology will allow the placement of sensors at selected locations on the towers. The natural stress of the radar rotation will provide a mechanism to cause an acoustic emission. The acoustic emission instrumentation shall capture and provide data for permanent record and analysis. This same NDI method has an application on fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) towers that are being installed present day. There is also some potential that the method may offer some data on the composite concrete foundations for many of these towers.

The proposer should 1) research and develop Acoustic Emission technology to instrument radar tower for NDI inspection and 2) conduct preliminary Business Case Analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Mishap avoidance shall not be included in cost calculations.

PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary BCA to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Mishap avoidance shall not be included in cost calculations. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements.

PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to a flight-ready article and shall undergo testing to validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop technology for proof of technology on radar towers. If successful the technology will be matured toward Technology Readiness Level 9.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: acoustic emissions, NDI, towers, radar, nondestructive inspection, non-destructive inspection


AF161-012
TITLE: Additive/Rapid Manufacturing Reverse Engineering, Processing and Production Integrated Solution for Agile Manufacturing of Air Force Tooling, Fixture and Prototype Production


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Capability to allow Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) engineers and technicians to rapidly reverse engineer, process, produce, and validate tools, fixtures, and prototypes to perform depot-level maintenance.

DESCRIPTION: Insertion of additive manufacturing with new rapid manufacturing methods has the capability to transform the cost curve and the lead time required to produce many kinds of parts for the aerospace industry. However, certification requirements for flying aerospace parts require robust qualification testing and a thorough understanding of the quality of the base material. Tooling, fixtures, shop aids, and prototypes still have stringent requirements; however, the requirement for an in-depth understanding of the material is not as robust as it is for flying, critical aerospace parts.

The desired outcomes of this program are an integrated process, service, and innovative products that would assist AFSC engineers to efficiently design, reverse engineer, produce, and validate geometry of non-flying parts that are necessary for the depot maintenance of aircraft.

In order for a rapid manufacturing process to be useful for the AFSC for tooling, fixtures, and prototypes, several hurdles must be crossed. The process must be able to allow AFSC engineers to rapidly reverse engineer parts in hand or use CAD/drawings that already exist.

In order for a process to be useful for AFSC engineers, it should:
a) Minimize the software handoffs required from initial data collection (for reverse engineering) or from standard CAD files (if 3D models exist or were build/designed) to part production and validation.
b) Consider part requirements for end use of the part. For example, tooling and fixtures may require a certain surface finish that is not achievable via some manufacturing processes without post processing and machining.
c) Provide dimensional validation to the user when needed. Due to the dynamics of additive manufacturing processes (residual stress) and the typically open loop nature of production, dimensional validation may be necessary because parts may warp when being built. This could be achieved through post process machining using a machine tool or conventional inspection methods. It is important to provide some sort of method for dimensional validation, especially if the part will be used for a fit check or for production of parts (like sheet metal forming).
d) Result in an objective of a 2-5 day turnaround for parts repair/production from job generation to assist in the rapid design and check method. This would involve any necessary reverse engineering processes, manufacturing process development, manufacturing, and quality assurance process necessary for the part.

PHASE I: Research and develop a concept demonstration that can address the above requirements.

PHASE II: Based on the Phase I research, work with AFSC government team to continue development of the Phase I concept into a prototype agile manufacturing capability. The contractor and the AFSC team will jointly select parts to be produced that will be used to test and validate the above requirements and demonstrate the objective timelines can be accomplished. The final Phase II report will document results and provide transition plan for implementing capability into AFSC complexes.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III will be to build off of prototype capability into a production implementation not only into AFSC, but also for commercialization with aerospace manufacturing support contractors within the Complex of the Future Innovation Centers.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: 3D printing, rapid manufacturing, additive manufacturing


AF161-013
TITLE: High Precision, Non-Line-of-Sight Point Cloud Generation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop a technology capable of generating high precision point cloud scans of intricate parts with multiple internal services that are not accessible for traditional laser scanning or other line-of-sight techniques.

DESCRIPTION: Many gun systems in armament require intricate castings of aluminum or steel parts with multiple internal surfaces that are very difficult to inspect with traditional means and impossible to inspect with line of sight surface scanning such as laser scanning. This makes it extremely difficult and time consuming to inspect these parts during first article testing or production lot testing which adds to lead time and risk associated with procurement. It also makes government testing of failed parts nearly impossible because of the lack of specialized tooling and fixtures to hold/check the parts.

A technology is being sought that has the ability to look through the part (similar to an X-ray) and generate a very precise point cloud or surface model of the part. This point cloud or model must be accurate down to 0.0001-inch objective, 0.0005-inch threshold for the entire part. The technology must be capable of working through any steel or aluminum with a wall thickness of approximately 0.5 inches. The operation should be as automated as possible and require very little user training. The bounding box for most parts is 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in. or less, though some parts would require a larger capacity of approximately 24 in. x 24 in. x 36 in.

Current scanning inspection techniques are limited to surface laser scans. There are some rudimentary X-ray inspection techniques, but these are mostly limited to visualization and flaw detection. There is currently no technology that can measure, visualize, and display non-line-of-sight dimensions, though it may be possible to marry current line-of-sight scanning with X-ray or other non-destructive inspection techniques.

PHASE I: Demonstrate hidden surface scan feasibility and develop a complete a demonstration of concept for accurately measuring non-line-of-sight dimensions.

PHASE II: Demonstrate a full scan of a moderately complex casting up to 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in., with internal dimensions accurately measured, tolerance, and displayed.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate a full scan of a complex casting up to 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in., with internal dimensions accurately measured, tolerance, and displayed.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: point cloud, non-line-of-sight dimensions


AF161-014
TITLE: Reconfigurable Interface Test Adapter


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop a reconfigurable interface test adapter (RTA) that can adapt the physical and software differences between automatic test systems' (ATS) enabling test program set (TPS) transportability.

DESCRIPTION: For decades, the automatic test community has worked to develop hardware standardization and interface protocols that aid in mitigating the impact of equipment obsolescence on the repair and maintenance mission. The traditional view of TPS transportability in this environment has always been one of migrating a legacy TPS to a new hardware architecture design born out of a need to replace aging technology or provide new test capability. The DoD has recognized the benefit of standardizing ATS through policy guidance whose intent is to drive the services to a common configuration test environment, thereby reducing life cycle sustainment costs for all DoD systems.

The goal of this topic is to develop an RTA that can adapt the physical and software differences between ATS that are test system architecture agnostic. Although standardization has advanced to the point where these ATS look and function similarly, there are two major hurdles that continuously thwart efforts to develop a standard core test system, the lack of a standard Unit Under Test (UUT) interface and the lack of an open architecture software design that facilitates operations in any environment and on any test system architecture. Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) provides promise with regards to the development of standardized test software interfaces.

The desired RTA must be able to interface test adapters from existing TPS, not require extraordinary manual reconfiguration of the interface connector assembly, be able to identify TPS hardware configurations, and fit within existing DoD Family of Testers (FoT) ATE core real estate. Moreover, the envisioned system must be able to re-host the critical test functionality through middleware that interfaces to the Versatile Depot Automatic Test Station (VDATS), as well as other ATE variants across the DoD.

PHASE I: Conceptualize and design the hardware and software for an RTA based on standard/open architectures. The proposed solution must be generic and capable of expanding to any ATS.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype of the RTA and demonstrate the transportability of TPS from one ATS to another (e.g., next-generation Navy Consolidated Automated Support System to VDATS).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Finalize the ITA for implementation into all DoD FoTs beginning with VDATS. Commercial Application: The methodology and technology have direct applicability to management of civil aircraft and commercial vehicles.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: automated testing equipment, automatic testing system, test program set, reconfiguration, VDATS, TPS, RTA


yuAF161-015p
TITLE: Maintenance Data Collection from Non-Networked Automatic Test Equipment


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to monitor the health of automatic test equipment (ATE) systems by collecting operating time, down time, calibration and self-test results system, maintenance actions - serial number tracking of parts, etc.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force desires the determination of a method to provide the capability to perform automated maintenance data collection (MDC) from non-networked ATE. The method used must not involve connection to the DoD Global Information Grid. The ATE’s control and support software could be used or the method could be a standalone application.

Data collected should include, but not be limited to: operating time duration; down time duration; calibration and self-test results and date; system failures and date; system maintenance actions to include date and items removed and replaced, by part number and serial number; system temperature variations and date; cannibalization actions to include part number and serial number and part/serial number of system out and system in; and ATE utilization, i.e., unit under test (UUT) evaluated/tested with part number, serial number and date. The collection of data should be automated as much as possible with limited manual input only when automation is not possible.

To satisfy the requirements of AFI 21-103, Ch. 7, ATE Inventory, Status, and Utilization Reporting:

PHASE I: Develop and validate solution that meets above requirements. Demonstrate ability to collect and analyze the above requested data. Conduct preliminary business case analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to requirements.

PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to a collection method capable of supporting various ATE used by the Air Force depot at Hill AFB, Utah, and shall undergo testing to validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Implement selected and validated solution in support of depot operations.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: radar, automated test equipment, ATE


AF161-016
TITLE: Radio Frequency Range Modernization, Compatibility and Capability Study


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: The equipment for testing aircraft radars is out of date and no longer supportable. New technology has to be researched and developed to modernize the radio frequency (RF) test ranges in the sustainment community.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is interested in combining the Air Force Sustainment Center's RF ranges into one maintenance contract, and to standardize the capabilities and compatibility across the AFSC complexes, i.e., at Tinker, Hill and Robins AFBs. The equipment for testing aircraft radars is out of date and no longer supportable. Therefore, there is a need to research and develop new RF equipment to test radars systems at the three complexes.

The Nose Radome Electrical Test System (NRETS) RF Radome ranges was upgraded in the 1980s and "refurbished" in 2000/2001. NRETS RF ranges test, verify, and validate radome’s capabilities and calibrate. The maintenance and upkeep for the 15-plus-year-old RF equipment has become very difficult. Neither equipment replacements nor parts for refurbishing can be found or purchased. In fact, last year the N2 RF range was down for eight months, leaving the N1 to handle the full workload. The N1 RF range, therefore, became a single point of failure, potentially risking a total work stoppage. The two Fire Control RADAR Antenna Test System (FCRATS) RF Antenna ranges have similar RF to the NRETS RF ranges and are only four years newer, having been refurbished in 2004/2005. The FCRATS RF ranges are quickly becoming a potential risk for a workflow stoppage, as well.

The RF Range Modernization, Compatibility & Capability Study effort proposes to research and develop upgrades to NRETS RF Radome ranges (N1 and N2) and FCRATS RF Antenna ranges (F2 and F3).

Note there two additional FCRATS RF ranges (F1 and F4) that are currently not being used, but are being cannibalized to maintain the functioning (F2 and F3) ranges. The F4 FCRATS RF range is also being looked at for possible new workloads.

The proposer shall research and develop solutions to identified problems for the FCRAT RF Antenna ranges obsolete/unsupportable equipment. The equipment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

The study's research and development effort will result in verifying and validating the new technologies in the two NRETs and two FCRATs RF Antenna ranges previously mentioned, including control rooms, subsystems equipment/components, software and capabilities, and their interfacings and compatibility, to ensure current and future range capabilities, possibilities of workflow growth and for their future sustainability of the worldwide fleet. The proposer shall perform business case analysis (BCA) for the developed solution.

PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary BCA to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements. Investigate/prepare paper work for required certifications.

PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to installation-ready article and shall undergo testing to verify and validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: If the RF Range Modernization, Compatibility & Capability Study R&D program proves cost effective, then we will implement developed, verified and validated solution(s) in Air Force depot operations.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: RF antenna range, FCRAT, radome, NRET


AF161-017
TITLE: Prediction of Stress Corrosion Cracking


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative non-destructive inspection (NDI) method to detect stress corrosion cracking early in an aircraft’s lifecycle.

DESCRIPTION: Stress corrosion cracking is the cracking induced from the combined influence of tensile stress and a corrosive environment. Stress corrosion cracking has an adverse effect on aircraft materials and structures and is a big detriment to aircraft structural integrity. It is globally recognized as a significant threat to the safe and efficient operation of aircraft and other weapons' structural systems not only in the Air Force and all military organizations but throughout aerospace industry in general. It is also a grave concern in power generation, oil and gas, transportation, and every industry foreign and domestic where environment assisted degradation of structures is a peril.

The problem itself can be quite complex. Over the years, several non-destructive examination techniques to identify, detect, and evaluate the severity of stress corrosion cracking indications have been developed. However, detection of stress corrosion cracking usually occurs manually and late in the depot cycle thus preventing early effort to increase its life cycle, hence impacting aircrafts' availability and significantly increasing depot maintenance cost.

An innovative NDI method to detect stress corrosion cracks early in the aircraft’s life cycle is needed to minimize maintenance cost and increase aircraft readiness. It is necessary to design and develop an NDI method that can predict stress corrosion cracking early or before its onset. This prognostic NDI method should also be able to evaluate/calculate corrosion crack growth in order to properly manage maintenance using condition-based maintenance principles.

A non-destructive testing method that could predict onset of stress corrosion cracking can significantly reduce maintenance costs, extend mechanical system’s service life, and protect safety of critical assets, such as crews and passengers' safety and structures, and increase aircraft’s readiness and mission capability. This method could also be used as a tool to implement condition-based maintenance that will enhance weapon systems' life, durability, and the reduction of failure risks.

PHASE I: Research feasibility of an NDI method that could identify stress corrosion cracking early in the life cycle of weapons systems. Develop concept demonstration that conforms to the above requirements.

PHASE II: Demonstrate a NDI testing method for detection of stress corrosion cracking before its onset and develop a working prototype of the proposed system. The NDI testing method must be able to demonstrate the detection rate on validated and verified stress corrosion specimens with testing performed by a small sample of NDI technicians.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: NDI inspection method can be applied to the commercial aerospace, oil and gas, and transportation industries for protection/safety of critical assets for materials and structures that are consistently exposed to corrosive environments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: stress corrosion cracking, nondestructive inspection, nondestructive evaluation, nondestructive testing, probability of detection study, nondestructive testing method, stress corrosion specimens, condition-based maintenance, NDI, NDE, non-destructive


AF161-018
TITLE: Landing Gear Fatigue Model K Modification


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop more precise predictive models for the fatigue characteristics of landing gear by developing the modification factors.

DESCRIPTION: MDT Landing gear experiences numerous processing steps that expose it to environments and chemicals that influence microstructure and surface finish in a way that negatively impacts fatigue life. These effects are difficult to include in landing gear fatigue models because specific effect curves (K modification) are unavailable for specialized landing gear material/process combinations typically used by the Air Force. It is desirable that modification factors be developed for the following material/process combinations so the Air Force can incorporate fatigue reductions into landing system models,

Materials to be considered:
- 300M
- 4340
- 4330
- 7049-T73
- 7075-T73
- 2014-T6
- Ferrium S53

Processes to be considered (all processes per TO 4S-1-182):
- Cadmium plate per MIL-STD-870/MIL-STD-1500/AMS-QQ-P-416
- Chromium plate MIL-STD-1501/AMS-QQ-C-320
- LHE Zinc Nickel plate AF DWG 201027456
- HVOF Plating per AF Dwg 200310641
- Electroless Nickel Plating MIL-C-26074
- Electrolytic Nickel Plating MIL-STD-868/AMS-QQ-C-290
- Anodize per MIL-A-8625
- Chemical Conversion Coating per MIL-C-5541
- Temper Etch per MIL-STD-867

The primary method of fatigue initiation used is strain life sequenced damage accumulation. This research should address repeated processing of parts. Typical landing gears will be subject to adverse processes multiple times throughout the parts' life cycle, this should be considered. The final deliverable should be detailed engineering reports that provide the k factors for fatigue modeling.

PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary business case analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Mishap avoidance shall not be included in cost calculations. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements.

PHASE II: Perform testing to develop the modification factors that meet the requirements listed in the description. Report the modification factors so that the Air Force can incorporate fatigue reductions into landing system models.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete the data produced in Phase II into a HBM nCode database/module for streamlined integration into Air Force models.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: landing gear, fatigue, k factors, modeling fatigue


AF161-019
TITLE: Reconfigurable Manufacturing: A New Paradigm for Improved Performance of Depot Processes


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Given an existing manufacturing system/process, reconfigure its components, controls, communications, etc., to meet new operational requirements

DESCRIPTION: Manufacturing companies are facing unpredictable high-frequency market changes driven by global competition. The Air Force’s Air Logistics Complexes (ALCs) are faced with similar problems where the complexity and tight integration of depot manufacturing processes (components, machines, controls, software) make them brittle and hard to modify in response to changing requirements. A new paradigm is recently emerging to augment or replace in some cases the classical flexible manufacturing technologies. Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS) are viewed as an engineering technology that aims to address changes in manufactured products via rapid reconfiguration and improved flexibility of manufacturing systems-machines, controllers, design methods, software modules, etc. RMS provide exactly the capacity and functionality needed, exactly when needed. RMS is based on principles of modularity, scalability, integrability and dagnosability. It presupposes the availability of sensors and sensing strategies that monitor the health and performance of system components/modules, and software algorithms for the detection and prediction of incipient failure modes. The anticipated benefits include improved productivity, reduced machine downtime and rapid response to product changes. RMS technologies address manufacturing processes designed at the onset for rapid change in structure, as well as in hardware and software components, in order to quickly adjust production capacity and functionality within a part family in response to sudden changes in demand. We distinguish between two types of reconfiguration: off-line and on-line. Off-line reconfiguration aims to address manufacturing processes designed for rapid change in structure, as well as in hardware and software components, in order to quickly adjust production capacity and functionality within a part family in response to sudden changes in demand. On-line reconfiguration, on the other hand, attempts to reconfigure system hardware/software on-line under actual operating conditions to meet new operational requirements or compensate for internal/external stresses (fault or failure modes).

The conceptual design and performance assessment of a reconfigurable manufacturing system is desired initially to demonstrate potential benefits to the ALCs of these emerging technologies. A suitable testbed will be selected jointly by the contractor and ALC personnel. A modeling framework is necessary to represent the structural and functional attributes of the selected manufacturing process. The model must be capable of capturing critical dependencies between reconfigured components while assessing the viability, stability and performance of the reconfigured system. Appropriate performance metrics will be defined to assist in the design and performance assessment of the reconfigured system. Such performance metrics are used to assert that the reconfigured system is performing as desired/designed. Obviously, methods for system verification and validation (V&V) come to mind as the most rigorous tools to achieve this objective. Other simpler performance criteria may be appropriate initially. An important consideration for our objective: How does reconfiguration of one component affect the operation of other (neighboring) components? What needs to be done in order to maintain desired system behavior? Dependency graphs, directed graphs and other similar tools may provide the desired modeling framework. Other candidate approaches may include hybrid automata, genetic algorithms, parametric models, etc. Furthermore, it is an important requirement for software reconfiguration purposes, that an open systems architecture be considered as a suitable framework.

PHASE I: Develop a modeling framework to represent in simulation the basic system components and their interconnections. Identify the impact of the reconfigured component(s) on other components and investigate if the reconfigured system meets design/desired performance criteria. Demonstrate the efficacy of the reconfiguration approach in simulation.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system for reconfigurable manufacturing systems and demonstrate its applicability to a process to be designated by the ALC. Optimize reconfiguration strategy, test and evaluate an online version. Demonstrate the online reconfiguration approach in the presence of machine or component/software incipient failures.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Enhance prototype system for reconfigurable manufacturing systems to maximize systems’ utility for military complex depot implementation. Prepare technology for further military and commercial transition.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: RMS, reconfigurable manufacturing, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, flexibility, modeling


AF161-020
TITLE: Quasi-Model Development using Digital and Non-destructive Inspection Data


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: An effective way is needed to generate 3D models for visualization purposes without having to bear the costs of fully reverse engineering them.

DESCRIPTION: With the average aircraft in the Air Force inventory being over 25 years old, the oldest fleet in history, the Air Force is currently sustaining many aircraft that are past their originally intended design lives. Furthermore, weapons system support costs are going up 6-8 percent per year and aircraft maintenance costs per unit have risen 10 percent in the last three years. With the given budget pressures, the Air Force has been forced to rethink its maintenance and sustainment strategies for older in-service aircraft. As a result, programs such as CBM-Plus and HVM were initiated to address the rising costs and the weapon system availability issues. If these programs are to meet their potential, they must adopt digital methods technologies in order to efficiently collect, visualize, trend, and integrate with other engineering and maintenance systems. One major hurdle that prevents such methods from being implemented is the fact that most of these aircraft were designed before 3D software modelling capabilities were available. As a result, these aircraft were delivered with now obsolete 2D paper-based drawings of parts and assemblies instead. The Air Force needs an effective way to generate 3D models for visualization purposes without having to bear the costs of fully reverse engineering them.

The 3D geometric models of structures can already be generated using non-destructive inspection (NDI) data, so long as the methods used to collect the data involve the use of 3D Computed Tomography (CT) or other holographic scans of the part or assembly. Unfortunately, these methods can be cost prohibitive, and are not always practical for generating models when dealing with complex structure already installed on aircraft. Plus, if these components and assemblies were removed for the sole purpose of reverse engineering models, the aircraft will likely be damaged and the component could be bent or broken in the removal process. Disassembling aircraft structures would be unnecessary if adequate models could be constructed using NDI data from scanning systems or from point measurement systems. Other data that could be used to build these types of structural models would include but not limited to digital photographs, text, other drawings, etc.

This topic seeks to develop a methodology capable of developing visualization models for parts and structures using NDI, digital, and analog data. The models should be developed with commercial standards in mind. Developing complete models that have been fully reverse engineered or near equivalent are not required. Fabricating parts and structures based on these models is not the overall goal based on this topic. However, the models must enable users to visualize aspects of interest within aircraft structure and components. The models will be used by Air Force engineering and maintenance functions to baseline current status and predict trends by superimposing other data relevant to their operations. The developed system shall also have the flexibility to enable the models to be updated as higher fidelity and better information comes available.

The commercialization potential for such a system would be very high, provided it is easy to use, and can work with many different NDI file formats, text, and drawings. The system should output a model that can be used in a broad number of software packages. Therefore, the proposer is encouraged to use commercial standards in their development wherever possible. If these items are adequately addressed, this system could have many commercial applications in numerous industries to enhance manufacturing and in-service quality control programs for current and past production components. FAA might have interest, for example.

PHASE I: Research and develop a concept demonstration that addresses the above requirements. A Phase I final report will provide results of how the demonstration met the requirements and address the boarder scope capability for a Phase II effort.

PHASE II: Based on a successful demonstrated concept, develop a pilot prototype that meets the requirements of this topic. A Phase II final report will document the results and provide transition plans needed to implement into production capability.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The resulting capability could require enhancements for the production implementation across military installations and the many potential commercial applications in numerous industries to enhance manufacturing and in-service quality control programs for current and past production components.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: NDI, nondestructive inspection data, 3-Dimensional Geometric Models, 3D computed tomography CT, non-destructive inspection


AF161-021
TITLE: In-Process and Final Non-destructive Inspection Methods of Additive Manufactured (AM) Simulated Aerospace Critical Parts


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Research, develop and establish in-process and final non-destructive inspection (NDI) monitoring requirements and methods able to identify material defects of additive-manufactured (AM) simulated critical weapon systems parts.

DESCRIPTION: Additive manufacturing entails building three dimensional objects by adding material in successive layers. This innovative technology enables engineers to create non-traditional shapes and sizes, speeds up production processes, and reduces costs and product lead times from order to delivery.

Today, additive manufacturing is thought to still be a rapid prototype capability but the technology has been progressing at a rapid rate. One of the most notable needs is the industry agreement for the development of proper NDI methods and implementation of non-destructive testing (NDT) for product acceptance, as well as its use for repeatable production capability. Basic physical properties must be understood and measured. This will provide the NDT engineer with the knowledge to select the methods parameters with confidence and known expectations. These parameters should be identified to support the proper technique development for the determination of flaws. The lack of detection of defects can have a detrimental effect of the part’s service life.

Companies are developing the AM process using proprietary or restricted parts. Due to this, the sharing of NDI samples is most limited. Designing a sample or samples which provide the needed characterization elements is necessary.

As additive manufacturing production processes gain industry popularity the need to perform non-destructive inspection of additive manufactured parts is essential. For an Air Force systems program office or Air Force Sustainment Center complex to transition and implement additive manufactured airworthiness or critical parts in their weapon systems of responsibility, a reliable nondestructive testing inspection in-process and final inspection must be in place:
- Include the development of a physics-based model that correlates the data collected with changes in the NDI response to a defect in the AM test parts.
- Validate models through additional test coupons, followed by destructive testing and metallography.
- Perform limited probability of detection (POD) study.

Traditional NDI methods can be used on the finished parts, but more often than not, it is not possible to get 100-percent coverage in these inspections due to the complexity of geometry of finished AM produced parts. Final inspection of an AM part with one or more nondestructive, non-contact inspections that can be done concurrent with the AM build process is needed. In-process inspection of a part as it is being manufactured will reduce the amount of material that needs to be inspected and could even enable immediate correction of manufacturing defects while it is manufactured.

PHASE I: Research and develop proof of concept for proposed manufacturing in-process NDI to detect and quantify possible AM process-induced defects that demonstrate meeting the above requirements. The Phase I final report should provide an approach in a Phase II effort to demonstrate with selected parts or coupon designed to validate results.

PHASE II: Construct a prototype NDI system and collect inspection data during the AM process based on the concept from Phase I. Demonstrate affectivity of the inspection system and ability to collect the appropriate data during the AM build to model material properties and defect locations in the part.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Enhance system hardware and software to maximize systems’ utility for military complex depot implementation. Identify limitations of the inspection systems and probabilities of detection for critical defects. Prepare technology for further military and commercial transition

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: NDI. NDT, non-destructive testing inspection, magnetic particle inspection, penetrant testing inspection, additive manufacturing, porosity, defects, nondestructive testing inspection, nondestructive inspection


AF161-022
TITLE: Installed Systems Near Field Antenna Pattern Measurment System


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Identify concept for probing the electromagnetic near field of electrically large test items for the purpose of installed system far field antenna radiation pattern characterization.

DESCRIPTION: Antenna performance characteristics change when installed on a platform. These changes can be measured and/or modeled, but limitations currently exist that prohibit cost effective and accurate results. In order to achieve accurate measured results to validate models, far field measurements can be taken. However, to achieve reliable results the far field distance approximation calculation requires using the largest physical dimension of the platform, which in the case of an aircraft easily results in a far field distances of thousands of meters. The preferred method to relax this far field requirement is to systematically probe the near field of the radiation pattern, and then mathematically calculate the resulting far field radiation pattern.

Although near field antenna ranges are well understood, a portable and repeatable method to implement in a large anechoic chamber, or open air, over an electrically very large and heavy platform, such as a full scale fighter aircraft, is not well understood.

The goal of this topic is to research and develop an automated, portable, wide-band, large-scale near field antenna scanning system for the purpose of installed antenna far field antenna radiation pattern characterization suitable for use in large anechoic chambers, as well as open air applications.

PHASE I: In nine months, deliver a report showing a portable scanning system capable of large scale near field sampling of systems under test over a frequency range of at least 100 MHz to 18 GHz. Define/develop antennas, probes, measurement equipment, and far field transform algorithms, and calibration procedures. Quantify sample space, scan time, and far field calculation errors and trade-offs.

PHASE II: Build, deliver, and demonstrate system identified in Phase I.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Applicable for all DoD-installed RF systems for mitigation of electromagnetic interference between RF systems, performance assessment of electronic warfare systems and performance confirmation of safety-of-flight RF systems. Commercial FAA and automotive applications are identical.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: near field antenna pattern, electrically large, far field transform, installed system testing


AF161-023
TITLE: Avian Collision Deterrents for Reflective Surfaces


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop innovative avian deterrent materials for solar photovoltaic panels, building glazing and other reflective surfaces. Research may also consider deterrents for wind turbines, power lines, and other sources of avian collision.

DESCRIPTION: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits take of migratory birds unless specifically permitted by the Secretary of the Interior. Proposed actions involving utility-scale solar are being scrutinized for possible “special purpose” take permits in the event of migratory bird fatalities. At the current time, mitigation is reactive and focuses upon collection of bird carcasses and fatality data by trained biologists and field personnel.

Approximately 800 million birds are killed each year as a result of collision with buildings, power lines, communication towers, wind turbines, and solar power plants. While the majority of avian fatality is associated with building collision, a growing number of birds are killed through collision with solar photovoltaic panels and mirrors installed at solar thermal plants. The numbers of birds killed in this manner are conservative, as not all installed solar facilities have active bird collection programs in place. As evidenced by recent reports, regulatory agencies, including the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Energy, as well as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Argonne National Laboratory, are interested in causes of avian collision with reflective surfaces. Some reviewers speculate birds, particularly water birds, such as the Yuma clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis), mistake ground-mounted reflective surfaces for water and attempt landing. However, further study must be accomplished in order fully understand the causes of these avian fatalities and to propose solutions.

This topic calls for research and development of methods of deterring avian collision with existing and future solar photovoltaic facilities, buildings, and other reflective surfaces. A number of utility-scale solar photovoltaic plants are under construction or are currently in operation in southwestern deserts in the United States. Proposed California Senate Bill 350 is under consideration and, if approved, the current Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 33% will be increased to 50% and will drive additional renewable energy and solar photovoltaic development. While increasing the California RPS is encouraging to the market for renewable energy and plans to reduce greenhouse gases, migratory bird fatalities as a result of additional solar facilities are likely to grow without further research into causes and implementation of successful mitigation.

If successful, this project will result in retrofit solutions for existing solar facilities and manufactured solutions for future solar facilities. Further, if causes of avian collision with solar infrastructure are similar to causes of avian collision with buildings, this project will result in solutions for existing buildings - the primary source of avian collision fatality.

PHASE I: Research in this phase should focus on causes of avian collision and validation of research outcomes. Sources of avian attraction to reflective surfaces should be examined and compared to existing theories such as polarized light pollution. If validated, results of this phase will be used as the foundation for methods developed in Phase II.

PHASE II: Phase II requires a prototype developed from validated Phase I outcomes. Development of methods and solutions tailored to retrofit of existing facilities should include installation methodology and troubleshooting options for installers. Phase II also requires prototype development and testing of one or more manufactured solution(s).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Solutions developed could be used on any military structures or towers with reflective surfaces including solar photovoltaic projects. Commercial Application: Solutions developed would be useful to builders of office structures as well as to renewable energy developers.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: reflective surface, avian collision, solar photovoltaic, PV, building glazing, bird fatality


AF161-024
TITLE: Prediction of Boundary Layer Transition on Hypersonic Vehicles in Large-Scale Wind Tunnels and Flight


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop computational tools and methodologies to predict boundary layer transition in large-scale hypersonic wind tunnels and include relevant physics to allow the extrapolation of ground test measurements to flight conditions.

DESCRIPTION: Historical correlations[1] used for predicting boundary layer transition (BLT) in large-scale hypersonic wind tunnels are only applicable to specific geometries such as sharp cones and cannot be used for flight prediction. Recent experiments[2,3] and analysis have shown that the onset of 2nd mode BLT on sharp cones can be predicted in the Arnold Engineering Development Center's Tunnel 9 over a wide range of unit Reynolds numbers and angles of attack. The new prediction methodology uses Linear Stability Theory (LST), a receptivity correlation (linking the tunnel noise to the initial 2nd mode amplitudes) and a breakdown amplitude correlation (linking the 2nd mode breakdown amplitudes to the edge Mach number). Accounting for the environmental disturbances (tunnel noise power spectral density, or PSD) is critical as strictly using LST without accounting for tunnel noise gives the wrong trends for the effect of angle-of-attack on sharp cone boundary layer transition[2].

Additional transition mechanisms such as crossflow[4] and transient growth[5] are required to provide a methodology applicable to arbitrary geometries and large angles of attack. These mechanisms are needed at high angles of attack where transition can be crossflow dominated[4] and for blunted vehicles where modal growth (1st or 2nd mode) is not observed[3,5]. Advanced tools such as linear and nonlinear parabolized stability equation solvers (PSE and NPSE) are also promising as PSE can account for curvature and nonparallel effects and NPSE can also account for nonlinearities which dominate the later stages of transition.

The goal is development and validation of computational tools and methodologies for BLT prediction in hypersonic ground test facilities. The methodology needs to include the effect of the environmental disturbances (tunnel noise PSD) and the relevant physics of BLT such as receptivity and breakdown to minimize empiricism. The computational tools and methodology must be applicable to free stream Mach numbers between 6 and 18 for cold flow and flight relevant enthalpies at altitudes between 15 and 45 kilometers. The methodology must also include the physics relevant to sharp and blunt slender vehicles at arbitrary angles of attack. The tools should also enable extrapolation to flight by accounting for high enthalpy and wall temperature ratio effects, and reduced environmental disturbances in flight. The methodology can rely on the use of expensive computations such as Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) to validate LST and PSE computations and/or built databases needed for BLT prediction. The methodology can involve LST, PSE, NPSE and/or DNS and the Phase I effort should include the effect of the mean flow and free stream fluctuations (tunnel noise PSD) on the receptivity process, 2nd mode initial amplitudes and breakdown amplitudes. Phase II should develop and validate a computer modeling code that includes other relevant transition mechanics such as crossflow and transient growth. The model should estimate the length of the transition region based on 2nd mode breakdown physics.

PHASE I: Develop the algorithms to predict the onset of 2nd mode dominated BLT in large scale hypersonic wind tunnels and include relevant physics to allow extrapolation to flight.

PHASE II: Develop a computational model to predict boundary layer transition in large scale hypersonic wind tunnels and extrapolate ground test measurements to flight conditions, and validate the model against existing ground test measurements.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The modeling code can be marketed as a tool for planning BLT ground tests and perform BLT flight predictions to reduce technical risks of hypersonic programs for military and commercial systems.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: boundary layer transition, hypersonic, linear stability theory, direct numerical simulations, ground test, flight


AF161-025
TITLE: Micro-Climate Automated Recorder


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Chemical/Biological Defense

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop an innovative micro-meteorological recorder that can be deployed to many surface and subsurface locations (e.g., under and next to a large solar panel farm) or in burrows or other hard to reach locations.

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this topic is to develop a micro-meteorological device that can be deployed to many surface and subsurface locations or in burrows or other hard to reach locations. The device should have sensors to detect biological, chemical and environmental parameters (preferably motion detector-IR camera, humidity, O2, ammonia, CO2, temperature, wind direction/speed, etc.). Second, it should be “ruggedized” to work in hostile conditions for a minimum of two weeks unattended. Third, it is to be operated as a “swarm-like” sensor or array with remote communication capability. The device should also collect GPS locational data, date and time code information. If successful this device will provide environmental management data currently not available. For example, the first effects of climate change will display at the micro climate level. This level of detail has historically not been recorded due to technical and manpower issues. This data will support compliance with environmental laws (Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Air Force Instruction (AFI) 32-7064, etc.) allowing for better and more effective decisions that support the Air Force mission, but also supports all land managing agencies.

PHASE I: Research in this phase should focus on innovative research and development of a sensor array that must be compact with an ability to move short distances, have a power source that will support operations for a minimum of two weeks, and can withstand harsh conditions, both “dry and hot” to “wet and cold.” There is no requirement to work under water.

PHASE II: Research in Phase II should incorporate the best of the current knowledge and Phase I success(es) to develop a robust and affordable solution. Detailed demonstration of the strategy and testing of a prototype should be included in the effort. Detailed documentation should be developed continuously, to include lessons learned, technology used, materials, developed hardware and software as needed.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: This technology will provide new data and capabilities leading to better management decisions and compliance with environmental laws. Commercial Application: Supports all federal and most state land management agencies and has application to renewable energy developments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: micro-climate, swarm-array, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act


AF161-026
TITLE: Real-Time Parameterized Reduced-Order-Model (ROM)-Based Aeroservoelastic Simulator


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Adapt reduced order modeling (ROM) techniques to develop a flight simulation and real time simulator capable of predicting aircraft aeroservoelastic response for pilot-in-the-loop simulations or from surface positions provided by a live flight test.

DESCRIPTION: Currently predictive analysis for flutter and loads testing is accomplished using full order models that are expensive and time consuming to perform. Consequently the "as flown" flight data is compared to the "as planned" predictive analysis. This source of error adds to the other sources of error inherent in this type of testing resulting in tight tolerances and added test points. In addition simulators used to prepare pilots and engineers often do not directly implement the aeroelastic effects into their algorithms limiting the effectiveness of these training sessions. A real-time predictive analysis capability that can be run during a flight test sortie in order to compare flight test results to "as flown" predictive analysis results would help expedite test and improve safety by providing a better understanding of the aircraft being tested. The same real time technology could also be used in a pilot-in-the-loop simulator to improve the effectiveness of mission rehearsals.

The purpose of this topic is to research and develop innovative methods to adapt ROM techniques to rapidly solve the aeroservoelastic equations of motion for six degrees of freedom (6DOF) and flexible modes much faster than real time, given stick and rudder or surface deflections, and aircraft states (Mach number or airspeed, pressure altitude, initial side slip and angle of attack, etc.). The simulation should output 6DOF flight path, the deformation history at pre-specified points (arbitrary points specified prior to ROM creation) on the aircraft, aircraft load state histories at specified stations, and time histories of aircraft state parameters. The resulting technology is to be operated in three capacities. First, it is to operate as a predictive tool to estimate aeroelastic/aeroservoelastic stability and aerodynamic loads prior to testing. Second, it is to operate as a real time system that utilizes surface deflections and state parameters from live flight testing to provide an analytical estimate of aeroelastic/aeroservoelastic stability and aerodynamic loads for the maneuver as flown to be compared to flight test data. Third, it is to be operated as a pilot-in-the-loop aeroservoelastic/aeroelastic simulator. It is highly desirable that educational scenarios be developed for the pilot-in-the-loop simulator from mild onset flutter to sudden flutter onset. The tool should be capable of implementing an arbitrarily complex control system and it is also highly desirable that the tool be capable of using flight test data to update the ROM in a way that will improve the accuracy for subsequent simulations.

If successful this research will not only provide a key analysis capability to enable future test programs to execute structures testing more efficiently, but will also provide the bases for training both discipline engineers as well as Test Pilot School students.

Because of proprietary issues the government will not be able to provide models or data to aid this research. There are models and data in the public domain that are appropriate for this research.

PHASE I: Research in this phase should focus on development and validation of the core ROM technology, assure that the technology is robust across a realistic range of flight conditions and inputs/surface deflections. ROM should be validated against a full aircraft configurations and flight test data from subsonic through supersonic flight regimes to demonstrate readiness for Phase II.

PHASE II: Focus shall be on applications outlined above and working out the interfaces for predictive analysis, manned simulator and live flight test; the difference being the predictive analysis being more of a batch mode with assumed inputs, manned simulator would start with stick and rudder inputs with control system implementation to get surface deflections, and live flight test would have actual surface deflections that can be used. Phase II should also see the development of educational scenarios.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: This technology has the potential to provide better situational awareness and system understanding for aircraft systems under test. It will also be useful as a training tool for engineers and test pilots. Commercial Application: Equally useful for commercial aircraft testing

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: aeroelastic, ROM, reduced order model, real time simulations, pilot-in-the-loop, flight test, aerodynamic loads


AF161-027
TITLE: Millimeter-Wave Micro-SAR (MMW uSAR)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

OBJECTIVE: To design and develop a miniature (<5 lbs. & .5 cubic foot) dual-pol high-res MMW SAR sensor and demonstrate operation, data collection and post processing imaging capability on an aircraft (manned/unmanned) such as Scan Eagle, Penguin B or Cessna.

DESCRIPTION: A need exists to perform high-resolution, dual-polarized, instrumentation-grade Ka (34-36 GHz.) and W-Band (94-96 GHz.) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements from ground and airborne platforms with a miniaturized sensor. The sensor(s) and signature data are needed to develop modeling and simulation (M&S) and test and evaluation (T&E) capabilities for millimeter-wave (MMW) smart weapon systems (primarily seekers/sensors) and associated automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms. The SAR sensor needs to be of instrumentation grade (meaning it is capable of performing calibrated radar cross section [RCS] measurements) and dual-polarized (either linear H,V or circular RHC.LHC) to support polarization transformation of RCS measurements from either linear to circular or vice-versa. Actual target/background/clutter RCS data are required to develop digital models for both digital and hardware-in-the-loop T&E of MMW seekers/sensors.

The SAR sensor transceiver needs to be <5 lbs (modular, replaceable), designed for multi-use (both airborne- and ground-based SAR/ISAR applications/platforms) with a required resolution (range & cross-range) of 4-6 inches with a dynamic range of at least 60dB. Typical operating parameters for this type of sensor is for measurement slant ranges of .1-10 Km at altitudes of 0-10,000 ft. Prime power (DC) for the sensor package should be approx. 80-100W range.

The technology to design and develop miniature SINGLE POLARIZATION, X (8-12 GHz) and Ku Band (16-18 GHz.) SAR sensors has been demonstrated by Sandia National Labs (see 'miniSAR' references) and further miniaturization has been realized by systems such as the IMSAR 'NanoSAR' (C & X-Band). This effort is unique in developing and demonstrating the capability to perform dual-polarized, high-resolution SAR measurements at Ka (34-36 GHz.) and W-Bands (94-96 GHz.) with a miniaturized transceiver module and to calibrate the system for RCS measurements. The technical challenges will be in developing planar dual-polarized antenna(s) as well as miniature Ka & W-Band transmitter/receiver components. Higher frequency MMW sensors provide increased gain for the same size lower frequency antenna and need less RF power to achieve the required performance. Dual-pol antennas also provide additional capability to discriminate man-made objects from clutter (ATR). Developing both features advances current state-of-the-art for MMW seeker/sensor systems. SAR algorithms, digital signal processing and data collection software/hardware can be leveraged from existing miniSAR and NanoSAR types of systems and adapted for required motion compensation and image focusing.

PHASE I: Feasibility design for miniaturization of MMW SAR (primarily antennas and transceiver components) and methods to adapt current C, X and Ku-Band, single polarization SAR sensor technologies specific to development/demonstration of a dual-polarized MMW (Ka & W-Band) miniature SAR sensor(s) including design trade-offs (cost, weight, power, resolution, data processing, imagery, etc.).

PHASE II: Design and develop miniature MMW SAR sensors. Demonstration of MMW SAR/ISAR imaging capability (Ka & W bands) and data collection.

Delivery of prototype MMW Sensor hardware and data collection system with quick-look imaging capability.

Phase II measurement platforms for a miniature MMW SAR Sensor should include both airborne- (manned and unmanned) and ground-based (such as boom-lifts, fixed towers, linear rails and cable systems) to meet T&E requirements.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military: Ka and W Band SAR/ISAR sensors for tgt/background/clutter measurements for smart weapons (i.e., SDB-2, JAGM, ARGUS) and tactical ISR on light-weight, low-cost UAV/UAS. Advances MMW ATR algorithm dev. Commercial: Remote sensing, SAR imaging, environmental monitoring (crops, spills, etc.}.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: millimeter-wave, MMW, synthetic aperture radar, SAR, miniature UAV sensor


AF161-028
TITLE: Cryo-Vacuum FTS using COTS Parts for Sensor Responsivity Measurements


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Develop a cryo-vacuum rated Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) system for use as a narrow-line infrared source for imaging sensor responsivity measurement characterization in space simulation test facilities.

DESCRIPTION: Determination of the spectral response of space- and air-borne imaging systems is critical to understanding the performance of systems designed for missions involving the discrimination of thermal targets. Narrow-line infrared radiometric source technology is needed to provide a sufficient spectral resolution test capability for use in cryo-vacuum space simulation facilities where space-borne and air-borne imaging systems are tested. This capability is also needed for on-board calibration validation for flight hardware. Instruments using monochromators or circular variable filters have issues with sufficient resolution, spectral continuity (require multiple gratings or filter segments), cost, size, and/or complexity of moving parts. These issues can create size, weight, and power (SWAP) impacts to the detriment of the low radiometric background of a LWIR calibration facility.

Innovative solutions are needed that can package existing Fourier transform spectrometer technology into a compact cryo-vacuum configuration that makes use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. The integration of these components should be accomplished in a manner such that modification and repair (hardware, software, firmware, etc.) can be accomplished by the user in a straightforward manner without removal of the device. The system must operate in a step-scan mode in sync with the system under test (SUT), and operate over the spectral range from 1 to 20 µm with a spectral resolution of 4 cm-1. The system should use external input/output signals such as: TTL signal indication that stable mirror position conditions are met (i.e., ready for SUT data acquisition status), TTL input signal to trigger movement to the next mirror position, TTL output signal indicating completion of a scan.

The prototype system should have the capability of scanning small regions about the interferogram centerburst to allow for SUT integration level checks. The prototype needs to communicate with the test facility control system and record instrument status change events (aperture setting, interferometer mirror position, etc.) correlated to the facility provided IRIG-B timing signal. The internal light source should be properly shielded to prevent stray light leakage into the test space chamber. The system should be equipped with either remote or autonomous interferometer alignment. The relative spectral irradiance across the output beam cross section should be uniform. The total band pass integrated output power should be 5 mW with the FTS configured for 4 cm-1 spectral resolution. Spectral stability must be greater than 0.5 percent (one Sigma). The Phase I should demonstrate 8 cm-1 spectral resolution from 1 to 14 µm with a minimum output spectral power of 0.1 µW/cm-1 across the spectral region of 2 to 14 microns. The system design must be user-serviceable and operate in a cryo-vacuum environment at 20 K and 10-6 Torr. The Phase II should demonstrate 4 cm-1 spectral resolution from 1 to 20 µm with an output power of 0.2 µW/cm-1 across the spectral region. The prototype system should be user-serviceable and operate in a cryo-vacuum environment at 30 K and 10-6 Torr. Priority will be given to cryo-vacuum operation and ease of use rather than exactly meeting the resolution, spectral range, equal spectral spacing, and power specifications.

PHASE I: Demonstrate a proof-of-concept narrow-line infrared FTS source as stated in the description.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a prototype narrow-line infrared FTS source as stated in the description.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Enhanced spectral test capability for military and commercial airborne and space-borne sensors.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: cryo-vacuum, Fourier transform spectrometer, infrared, relative spectral response, sensor testing, space simulation


AF161-029
TITLE: High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) Magnets


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

OBJECTIVE: Develop high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to replace low temperature superconducting (LTS) magnets to increase performance and reduce operational cost of a supersonic magnetically levitated rocket sled.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force has developed a magnetically levitated rocket sled system with a sled that traverses a guideway. The system is known as the Holloman Maglev Track (HMT). The HMT uses a rocket-propelled sled that carries LTS magnets along copper plates fixed in a concrete guideway to create the levitation forces required to control the flight of the sled. Sled velocities have been demonstrated up to 900 feet/second and are projected to be supersonic. The LTS magnets require liquid helium cooling. The cooling process is complex, which drives significant design complexity and adds weight to the HMT system. Recent advances in technology have the promise of providing HTS magnets (liquid nitrogen cooled) that could replace the LTS magnets with 10 to 40-plus percent improvements in both operational cost and magnet weight. Somewhat fragile but technologically mature copper-oxide HTS, or robust but technologically immature iron-based HTS may offer material solutions for use in HTS magnets. Levitation forces should be achievable that would allow system heave and sway restoring forces of approximately 10,000 pounds/inch. An LTS magnet should be a direct replacement for an HTS magnet allowing testing and subsequent employment on the existing Maglev rocket sled. Use of government equipment, materials and facilities will not be required for this project, but use of government data from HTM testing will be required for this project.

PHASE I: Research advances in superconducting materials in last decade and identify candidates. Develop models of materials and cryogenic environment to assist Phase II work. Material testing may assist in selection. Study exposure of supersonic travel velocity & associated acceleration & vibration level on Maglev test vehicles. Develop plans to integrate materials & cryogenics into a Maglev-style magnet.

PHASE II: Design and fabricate a prototype HTS magnet, including all electrical, mechanical and cryogenic interface and support equipment, for use on an existing HMT sled.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military: Use to levitate rocket sleds at the Holloman Maglev Track. Commercial:
- Medical industry could use high temperature magnets since operational cost should be significantly lower than magnets currently used in MRIs.
- Commercial rail system that is less costly than current technology.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: high temperature, superconducting, magnet, Maglev, cryogenic, supersonic


AF161-030
TITLE: High Speed Extraction of Hyperspectral Images within a Plume Radiation Database Structure


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop high speed (real-time) techniques to extract hyperspectral images from plume signature databases.

DESCRIPTION: Hyperspectral image databases of plume radiation, derived from physics-based numerical simulations which are combined with empirical measurements, are currently utilized by the DoD sensor community in developing warning sensors and countermeasures and to provide representative scenes for testing operational sensors in hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) facilities. Such databases employ image compression techniques to keep the database size tractable. However, near real-time image extraction is limited to a nearest neighbor method, requiring densely placed database nodes and the related increase in database size, to minimize errors in the extraction process. Image interpolation techniques, being evaluated for use within the image extraction process are currently formulated to work with uncompressed images, significantly slowing down the image extraction process.

This effort seeks to develop a coupled image compression/image interpolation technique that will allow for the real time extraction and manipulation of hyperspectral images. Special emphasis is needed to modify/morph the extracted axisymmetric plume imagery to account for angle-of-attack influences that result in plume bending. Plume bending results in a significantly different signature dependence on aspect angle than plumes with their axis aligned with the missile velocity vector. Accurately representing this aspect angle dependence and concomitant image appearance is important to missile warning sensor algorithms. Innovative approaches that use hardware acceleration such as multi-core CPUs and GPUs to enable rapid image extraction with compact databases size are desirable.

PHASE I: Demonstrate the feasibility of image interpolation algorithms in compressed signature imagery database extraction environment. Develop an approach for morphing axisymmetric imagery to account for plume bending. Develop a theoretical framework to appropriately account for the influence of angle of attack, Mach number, and altitude on the bent plume appearance. Extract 256 x 256 images at 50 Hz.

PHASE II: Develop a real time implementation of the algorithms developed under Phase I. Characterize the performance of modern hardware and assess the accuracy of the algorithm on realistic image databases. Extract 256 x 256 images at 400 Hz, which means the interpolation process must run at 1,000 Hz.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This technology will have utility for a wide array of hyperspectral imagery being used for tactical and strategic scene generation and hardware in the loop simulations.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: hyperspectral imagery, radiometric signatures, hardware in the loop, image compression, image interpolation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform
OBJECTIVE: Develop software to rapidly determine residual strength of damaged aircraft structures and create structural vulnerability probability of kill tables.


DESCRIPTION: In support of Air Force live fire test programs, many pre/post-test analysis damage scenarios are simulated using finite element tools, such as LS-DYNA. This analysis includes damage from a variety of damage mechanisms including blast, Hydrodynamic Ram (HRAM), fragmentation, thermal (fire, directed energy, laser, etc.), as well as any combination of these mechanisms. LS-DYNA simulations are also used for design of experiments (DOE), range safety, and test apparatus design before the test; and model validation and simulated excursions after the test. Because of computational time and resource limitations, simulations are frequently limited to partial (cropped) structures and, as a result, it is difficult to load these structures realistically after damaging them to determine residual strength (a key performance parameter). In LS-DYNA, damage can be accurately determined from complex threats on complex targets but the timescale is on the order of milliseconds. For a full aircraft wing with fuel, computational runs often require 24-72 hours running on 32-64 processors for each damage and load scenario. While it is possible to determine residual strength, the time scale for such simulations is seconds. Completing runs within a reasonable amount of computer resources requires modeling simplifications or assumptions. For thermal events that occur over minutes, the problem of achieving an effective model simplification is exacerbated.

Similarly, vulnerability analysis, used by analysis of alternative (AoA) studies for design and by war game (campaign, mission, and engagement) simulations for accurate kill removal assessment, face a similar problem in order to generate useful structural probability of kill (PK) tables. What is needed is a way to rapidly determine the probability of global failure given local damage at many shotline locations and orientations. Given a defined aircraft structure, the goal is to assess thousands of shotlines (each with different damage conditions) per day.

Simulation software is needed to rapidly determine the effects of any combination of local damage mechanisms on the global failure of large aircraft structures (wing, fuselage, tail surfaces, control surfaces, etc.). This topic would develop, implement, and demonstrate software that can convert pre/post -test analysis simulation inputs (e.g., LS-DYNA explicit finite element simulation inputs) to a simpler form and then rapidly determine the residual strength of the structure after damage. Such software would be able to rapidly apply damage to a variety of locations and determine residual strength, deflection, and generate structural PK tables for vulnerability assessment tools such as the FASTGEN (Fast Shotline Generator) and COVART (Computation of Vulnerable Area and Repair Time). While execution of this topic does not necessarily require use of Government furnished materials, equipment, data, or facilities, such services may be made available upon contractor request. Examples include on-base office space with desktop PCs and networking, assess to the DoD Supercomputing Resource Center, and (if available) test data supporting software verification and validation.

PHASE I: After nine months prepare a plan-of-action necessary to develop software capable of rapidly determining residual strength of damaged aircraft structures and creating structural vulnerability probability of kill tables.

PHASE II: Execute the software development plan-of-action. Design software capable of rapidly determining residual strength of damaged aircraft structures and creating structural vulnerability probability of kill tables. Prepare and perform software risk reduction. Verify and validate this software using load-to-failure test data.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Applications: Aircraft design, Aircraft testing allowing damaged aircraft performance assessment and test extrapolation, and Aircraft Operations planning.
Commercial Applications: Commercial aircraft testing and large engine debris analysis.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: M&S, modeling, simulation, vulnerability, assessment, aircraft, structure, flight, failure, load, blast, fragment, thermal, damage


AF161-032
TITLE: IRIG Data Recorder Validation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop an innovative simplified approach to validate telemetry data recorders in accordance with Range Commanders Council (RCC) Inter-Range Instrumentation Group 106 (IRIG-106), Chapter 10 standards (Ch. 10).

DESCRIPTION: The test and evaluation (T&E) range community needs an innovative simplified software/hardware toolset to verify the performance parameters of digital recorder systems and recorder memory modules to test IRIG compatibility and standard compliance to increase interoperability.

The purpose of this topic is to develop an innovative simplified validator system that tests any data recorder and recorder memory modules for compliance with Ch.10. Compliance with Ch. 10 should ensure interoperability between different commercial vendors and military users. The current tools, both hardware and software are limited in capability to test all Ch. 10 paragraphs and are proprietary.

This will directly supports the interoperability of data recorders across Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB) members and other test and training ranges that subscribe to the RCC standards. This task will benefit all users and vendors.

The solutions:
1. Will be utilized in a laboratory environment.t
2. May include any combination of open-source, non-propriety hardware (microcontroller, microcomputer, single board computers, package on package, etc.), newly developed hardware, or commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware.
3. Must be 100 percent open-source software.
4. May use any operating system software.

The proposer must prove to have a good working knowledge and understanding of IRIG-106, Ch. 10.

The government will not provide any software, hardware, test equipment or tools to aid in development of the solutions.

PHASE I: Research in this phase should focus on understanding the structure and requirements and develop innovative tools for interoperability compliance of flight test data recorders with IRIG-106. Existing tools (Ch. 10 Validator Toolset, SDS METS-231) should be evaluated and analyzed for strengths and weaknesses.

PHASE II: Research in Phase II should be focused on working out the interfaces for validation including signal generation, format structures, timing, and interfaces. Phase II should also see the development of the validator architecture based on the requirement documented in Phase I.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Data recorder interoperability compliance across test ranges with IRIG-106 for military applications. Commercial Application: This standard is used commercially as well. Solutions will be equally useful for commercial data recorder vendors.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: telemetry standards, IRIG-106, Chapter 10, Digital Data Recorder Standard, Range Commanders Council


AF161-033
TITLE: Precise Autonomous Vehicle Velocity Control


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate a test bed that smoothly and accurately follows a defined acceleration and velocity profile in the forward direction, decelerates to a defined stop point, and reverses direction to return to the original start position.

DESCRIPTION: Next-generation weapons include very accurate navigation systems. The 10-mile long Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) is aligned within 0.040 inches of a precisely surveyed fiducial reference curve. The 30,000 feet of the HHSTT includes an array of precisely surveyed optical interrupter blades whose leading and trailing edges are measured to within a 0.004 inches accuracy. When the sled system is in motion, the data collection timing system time tags the interrupted beam’s position accurately within 10 nanoseconds (ns). This precise and accurate reference truth is essential to determining the error sources of individual inertial sensor errors. Multiple forward and reverse accelerations and velocities allow separation and quantification of sensor errors that are highly correlated if only short-duration, unidirectional accelerations are used.

The current state-of-the-art in guidance systems testing on rocket sleds is to 1) use a set of rockets to launch the sled in the down track/forward direction, decelerate it with water braking and then tow it back to the start point, or 2) use a rocket sled with opposing rocket motors wherein the first set creates forward direction acceleration and the second set fires at the correct position to decelerate the sled and then reverse the motion to produce reverse accelerations and velocities. There are numerous disadvantages to these rocket sled test approaches. First, rocket sled tests are expensive given all the safety issues and rocket motor costs. In the first test method, the forward acceleration and velocity adequately resembles a launch condition while water braking does generate deceleration to separate sensor errors. However, the duration of the test is very short and produces only limited data from which to characterize the inertial sensor errors. The second method is subject to reliability issues given that both sets of motors must fire at the correct time to create the defined profile. This method also suffers from an inability to adequately determine the reversal time-position and define the final time and position of the reverse leg of the cycle. Both methods require the sleds to be removed from the test track to replace the propulsion systems which further degrades the time-position reference truth.

The successful outcome of this topic will provide a test bed that shall:
1) Smoothly accelerate a payload at variable g’s from 0.5g up to 2.5 g’s (thr)/8 g’s (obj) from stationary to 165 km/h (thr)/400 km/h (obj), sustain velocity up to 100 s and smoothly decelerate at the inverse variable g-range to stationary.
2) Accurately repeat the forward and reverse profile up to 20 times in a single test.
3) Minimize angular and translational vibrations for frequencies less than 60 Hz.
4) Operate on the HHSTT without interference with other tests.
5) House an instrumented rack (200kg, 1m x 1m x 1.3m) and accompanying Advanced Digital Antenna Program (ADAP) Controlled Reception Pattern Antenna (CRPA) and Locata system antenna.
6) Provide environmental protection from rain/humidity/dust/etc.
7) Provide environmental control in the form of cooling.

PHASE I: Research technologies and new applications of them to produce the required profiles while meeting the other requirements. Assemble an analysis of alternatives to rank possible solutions with respect to technical, cost and schedule risk. Develop a conceptual design of at least one solution worthy of Phase II prototype demonstration.

PHASE II: Design, build and demonstrate some of the system critical technologies on the HHSTT.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Test items that require a highly accurate reference.Commercial Application: Energy storage device, propulsion system, regenerative braking system, strong lightweight materials developed & intelligent control systems could be used to improve passenger and freight rail service.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: composite materials, regenerative braking, energy storage, propulsion system, propulsion assist


AF161-034
TITLE: Fiber Metrology Verification and Validation for High Power Fiber Lasers


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative concepts, metrology methods and technologies for accurately measuring and verifying physical, refractive index and doping profile geometries of optical fibers fabricated for high power fiber lasers.

DESCRIPTION: High energy lasers (HELs) are required for a number of military applications including long-range sensing, target designation and illumination and missile defense. Electric lasers are considered the laser of choice in the long term since the energy supply is rechargeable and clean. The preferred type of electric laser is the semiconductor diode-pumped fiber laser, which integrates well with other sensors and electro-optic elements in an aerospace environment. Directed energy (DE) missions require electrically efficient, compact, scalable architectures leading to kilowatts of power in a diffraction-limited laser beam for precision engagement of hard to kill targets. Fiber lasers and amplifiers have demonstrated efficient optical-to-optical power conversion into diffraction-limited laser beams. The development and demonstration of concepts and hardware which enable high-brightness, high-power scaling of Ytterbium and Thulium fiber lasers/amplifiers are needed to mature components and subsystems for robust system architectures. This topic seeks to develop innovative concepts, metrology methods and technologies for accurately measuring and verifying physical, refractive index and doping profile geometries of optical fibers fabricated for high power fiber lasers. Examples: Ytterbium can efficiently lase between 1030 nanometers and 1080 nm while Thulium can lase between 1850 and 2100 nanometers. The need to verify, “as drawn,” fiber parameters to an intended design is critical to extending the laser reliability and power scaling beyond current state of the art. Refractive index profile impacts the ability of the fiber optic wave guide to maintain diffraction limited beam quality. Measurement of refractive index and tolerance of refractive index for typical large mode area rare earth doped fused silica fibers is 1x10e-4, plus or minus 5x10e-5. Therefore refractive index differences between cores and cladding materials are critical parameters when propagating or combining multiple fiber lasers concurrently and is critical to the implementation of advanced beam control architectures. Additionally, non-destructive approaches must also focus on methods and apparatus that can validate distribution and concentration of the various materials in an optical fiber that have been optimized to operate with high optical efficiency, minimum non-linear effects and minimum high order mode effects. Measurement by % weight of rare earth dopants in an active fused silica cores needs to be measured to an accuracy of +/- 0.1 percent.

PHASE I: Develop and mature innovative concepts, metrology methods and technologies for accurately measuring and verifying physical, refractive index and doping profile geometries of optical fibers fabricated for high power fiber lasers. Inspection methods developed should be non-destructive to optical fibers and amenable to fiber endface and lateral inspection approaches.

PHASE II: Demonstrate innovative concepts, metrology methods and technologies for accurately measuring & verifying physical, refractive index & rare earth doping constituent mapping geometries of high power optical fibers. Apparatus for verifying physical, refractive index, rare earth doping constituents must be fabricated & demonstrated to verify fiber geometry, material distribution of singlemode, multimode & novel fibers including, large mode area, photonic crystal and photonic bandgap fibers.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Commercialization of apparatus and technologies for accurately measuring and verifying physical, refractive index and rare earth doping constituent mapping geometries of optical fibers fabricated for high power fiber lasers.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: fiber laser, rare earth doped fibers, optical fiber refractive index profiling


AF161-035
TITLE: Image Processing that Supports Air-to-Air, High-Bandwidth, Image-Based, Active Tracking


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop image processing that reduces degradation of high-bandwidth, image-based tracking on an aircraft using laser illumination of an airborne target. The goal is to maintain precision of the track algorithm to below a fifth of a pixel diameter.

DESCRIPTION: Future missions for military and law enforcement aircraft include the use of high energy lasers (HEL) to interdict adversarial/criminal aircraft. For both military and law-enforcement aircraft, benefits of HEL-employment include a deep magazine, speed-of-light engagement, control of the extent of damage to the target aircraft, and avoidance of collateral damage due to wayward ordinance.

The HEL requires an image-based tracking algorithm that has precision below a fifth of a pixel diameter, given an optical design so that the track camera focal plane array conducts diffraction-limited sampling. Also, in order to gather imagery of the target that has sufficient SNR, it will be necessary to flood illuminate the target with another laser, the track Illumination laser (TILL). The reflections of the TILL off the target are focused on the track camera focal plane to obtain an image of the target. The track algorithm operates on this image of the target, and is typically a correlation algorithm, or an approximation such as the Fitts Correlation track algorithm.

In addition to free-stream atmospheric turbulence, there will also be aero-optic (A-O) disturbances, which are local to the aircraft. (The speed of the air flow across the beam director aperture will be transonic.) Both of these disturbances will impart aberrations on the TILL wavefronts that propagate to and from the target. Regarding the imaging of the return TILL wavefronts, it is expected that the low-order (tilt) component of the TILL wavefront error will be composed of temporal frequency components up to 3kHz. In order for the tracking system to reject line-of-sight jitter by 50 percent, the -3dB error-rejection bandwidth of the closed-loop control system must be approximately 350Hz with a track camera frame rate (sample rate) of approximately 7kHz.

It is expected that the imaging of the return TILL wavefronts will contain intensity artifacts induced by atmospheric disturbances. The A-O disturbances affecting the imaging system will be exacerbated by the protrusion of a turret from the aircraft that contains optical components for the imaging system. The free-stream and A-O disturbances are expected to induce scintillation on the TILL illumination of the target. In addition, surface roughness of the tracked target is expected to impart speckle in the image of the target. At a high sample rate of 7kHz, there will be relatively little averaging of the intensity artifacts caused by scintillation, speckle, and sensor noise. If left unmitigated, these intensity artifacts will likely degrade the performance of the image-based track algorithm.

Therefore, the aim of this topic is to develop an image processing scheme that mitigates intensity artifacts in the imagery due to the likely presence of scintillation, speckle, and sensor noise. The purpose of the mitigation is to prevent degradation of the performance of the image-based track algorithm in high-bandwidth tracking of laser-illuminated targets. The goal is to maintain precision of the image-based tracking algorithm below a fifth of a pixel diameter. (The government will provide higher-order disturbances acquired by a turreted aircraft, along with an associated CFD estimate of the tilt disturbance. The government will also provide a copy of the Fitts track algorithm}.

PHASE I: Develop a wave-optics model to obtain synthetic track camera imagery of an extended target. Estimate the degrading effect of scintillation, speckle, and sensor noise. Develop image processing that mitigates these degraders to maintain the precision of an image-based track algorithm to 1/5 of a pixel, for high-bandwidth tracking of laser-illuminated targets. Evaluate by modeling and simulation.

PHASE II: Integrate the image-processing scheme with an image-based tracking algorithm. Implement the image processing and track algorithm on hardware, and integrate with a government tracking system at a government facility. Demonstrate the tracking system's performance at the government facility, which will provide replication of scintillation, speckle, and
aero-optic induced tilt.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Test the tracking system in flight. Develop and execute a plan to market and manufacture to military and law enforcement the product developed in Phase II. Carry out the necessary engineering, system integration, packaging, and testing to field a robust, reliable system in flight.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: image processing, laser illumination, active tracking, tracking, aero-optics, aircraft self-protect, scintillation, speckle


AF161-036
TITLE: Mitigation of Scintillation and Speckle for Tracking Moving Targets


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop methods to reduce negative effects of scintillation and speckle noise that arise in the active illumination of a moving target. Methods could include image processing algorithms and/or hardware development including laser illuminator.

DESCRIPTION: This topic seeks innovative research leading to the development of illuminators and optical systems for mitigation of the effects of scintillation and speckle. Imaging systems based on laser illumination can be used to provide high resolution imaging and tracking of moving targets. A problem that arises from the propagation of the illuminator beam to the target and back to the detector (camera) is atmospherically-induced scintillation. Additionally, speckle noise from the surface of an extended target profile can occur causing degradation of the tracking image. The conventional approach to speckle-noise mitigation is multi-measurement averaging wherein several target measurements with independent speckle noise realizations are averaged. This has the drawback that multiple measurements must be collected during which time the target may be moving and changing aspect angle. This is particularly deleterious if the output of the illuminator is to be used for high-speed tracking of the target. Scintillation originates due to the phase distortions of the wave fronts leading to intensity fluctuations at the sensor after the illumination beam has propagated over a distance. Speckle originates from constructive and destructive interference experienced by a laser beam as it reflects from the surface roughness of an illuminated target. Scintillation and speckle are considered noise effects in the imagery as a target is tracked. Scintillation has a deleterious effect on active tracking algorithms in that the algorithms tend to track the scintillation rather than the target. It would be advantageous to separate out the negative effects of scintillation and speckle using optical and electronic components and system hardware (and software) design. Developing laser illuminators to decrease speckle and scintillation using methods to reduce laser coherence or using multiple sources and/or wavelengths could be approaches to consider. Additionally speckle noise may be reduced by use of an illuminator with low coherence such as an array of multi-mode diode lasers. However such low coherence, direct-diode illuminators usually have a divergence of 50-100 times the diffraction limit requiring large transmitter apertures in order to maintain a high illuminator energy density on a distant target. Example approaches might be multi-wavelength lasers, de-phased laser arrays, or arrays of multi-mode lasers with an optical coupling scheme to reduce divergence. Another approach might be to incorporate into the system a glass or fused silica waveguide fabricated to reduce speckle through multiple total internal reflections. Other examples of possible solutions are distributed illuminator transmitter apertures and adaptive scintillation prediction algorithms incorporated into the tracker. The range for consideration is around 20 km for a tactical scenario. The aperture for a complete illuminator system should not exceed 25 cm in diameter.

PHASE I: Generate a preliminary design for a target tracking system that is able to reduce/eliminate scintillation and speckle in the target images. Demonstrate feasibility and assess practical applicability in a laboratory environment. The Phase I products are the design of a tracking system for moving targets based on active illumination, the final report, and a Phase II proposal (if requested).

PHASE II: The selected company will fabricate the prototype system based on the final plan established in Phase I. A field test using a laser illuminator will be conducted to assess the reduction in scintillation and speckle effects in tracking resulting from the developed system. The products of Phase II should include the prototype hardware system including the optical, electronic, mechanical, and electronic subsystems, the software and algorithms used, and the final report.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop and execute a plan to market and manufacture the product system. Carry out the necessary engineering, system integration, packaging, and testing to field a robust, reliable system. Assist transition of technology to industry for marketing to defense community and commercial sector.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: laser illumination, scintillation, speckle, imaging, sensing, tracking, image processing, electronics, aircraft self-protection


AF161-037
TITLE: Compact Optical Inertial Reference Unit for High Energy Laser System Line-of-Sight Stabilization


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a compact optical inertial reference for aircraft-based, tactical, high energy laser (HEL) weapon systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles. This device provides the optical source for line-of-sight stabilization within the optical train.

DESCRIPTION: Narrow-beam HEL systems require near diffraction limited line-of-sight (LOS) stabilization to be effective. Laser systems hosted on aircraft platforms pose an additional challenge due to the harsh vibrational environments. A key element of the stabilization system is the optical inertial reference unit (OIRU). The OIRU provides a stable optical reference beam (ORB) that is transmitted down the length of the optical beam path. The LOS stabilization control system then locks itself to the stable ORB. The OIRU, if equipped as a traditional IRU, with a complement of gyros, can also be the reference for open-loop pointing to the target. For tactical systems it is anticipated that this function will be provided by the gimbal with enough accuracy for acquisition in a wide field-of-view (FOV) sensor which is incorporated into a course track loop. Given the noisy vibrational aircraft environment in which it will operate, the OIRU should have low sensitivity to linear vibration. Current state-of-the-art OIRUs are too large for tactical use and typically demonstrate large sensitivity to linear vibration which is detrimental to system operation. There is a near term need for a compact OIRU that can fulfill both roles, having low drift, for precise attitude determination, and good high frequency characteristics, along with a guide beam to mitigate optical train jitter.

Generally each application and platform brings its own requirements and thus suggests a unique design, or at least a modification of existing designs. The focus of this solicitation is for an OIRU that can address the requirements of multiple platform-based high energy laser systems, such as the F-15 and UAV platforms.

An OIRU with the following SWaP and performance goals is desired: • OIRU envelope goal: 1.5 inch dia. x 3 inches long
• OIRU weight goal: Less than 24 oz.
• Inertial attitude knowledge (IAK) minimal (3 milliradians rms in 0-1 Hz, 1-axis, 1-sigma)
• Residual platform (optical reference beam) jitter, less than 500 nanoradians, 2-1000 Hz
• Greater than 40 dB of angular base disturbance rejection at all frequencies between 1-1,000 Hz, with greater than 60 dB rejection below 1 Hz and above 1 kHz
• 2 milliradian of throw between the stable platform and the base and provide at least 1 micro-radian precision relative position feedback to the optical gimbal control system
• Laser alignment beam diameter and a 2-5 mm reference beam with user-selectable wavelength
• Capable of handling slew rates of at least 2 rad/s
• Linear and angular base motion power spectral densities (PSD) to be provided by the government
• Isolation to produce minimal coupling of linear vibration into residual angular motion of the reference beam

Although specifically targeted for implementation in future high energy laser systems for tactical air platforms, the same technology would undoubtedly provide benefits to ground and sea based high energy lasers and programs in all the services for applications such as target designation, laser radar and laser countermeasure systems. Operation in a military environment will be essential for future applications; therefore the OIRU must survive the shock, vibration, and temperature environments of a deployed device. Finally, the resultant OIRU must be designed to take advantage of current state-of-the-art high volume manufacturing practices in the industry (i.e., cost competitive on a $/rejected jitter basis with current technology) with a LRIP cost goal of $150,000.

PHASE I: Develop a preliminary OIRU design. Model/simulate/analyze the design to demonstrate an understanding of the physical principles, performance potential, scaling laws, etc. Demonstrate performance and SWaP advantages over existing technologies. Proof-of-concept hardware, including any subscale or risk reduction activities, is highly desirable. Develop plans to further develop this technology.

PHASE II: Complete critical design of the OIRU including supporting modeling, simulation and analysis (MS&A). Build an engineering demonstration unit (EDU) and perform characterization testing to show level of performance achieved compared to existing technology. Document comparisons between simulation predictions and test results and determine reasons for deviations from modeling, simulation, and analysis predictions. Deliver EDU for further testing. It is highly desirable for proposer to develop working relationships with beam control system providers.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition technology into various laser weapon programs on multiple air platforms where beam stabilization aided by an OIRU is required for a laser system to be effective. Develop a plan to scale up from low rate initial production (LRIP) to eventual mass production of the OIRU.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: high energy laser weapons, HEL, beam control, line of sight image stabilization, jitter suppression


AF161-038
TITLE: Generation of High Rep-rate/High Average Power USPL Sources


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S):

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Improve the efficiencies of USPL systems and sub-systems to either increase the available repetition rate and/or the peak energy per pulse.

DESCRIPTION: Ultra-short pulse laser (USPL) sources are pulsed laser systems operating below 1 nanosecond pulse durations (often at picosecond or femtosecond pulsewidths). Typically these sources operate at 800 nm or 1.06 um wavelengths, but others are becoming more available. The pulse widths are so short for these sources, that even though the pulse energies are only in the tens to hundreds of millijoule (typically), the peak powers produced are in the terawatt (TW) to petawatt (PW) range. Operation at these powers in the atmosphere allows propagation of the laser beam above the critical energy in air, a level at which non-linear effects take over and simple diffraction is not sufficient to describe the beam propagation.

An additional factor that makes USPL sources useful is the wide bandwidth of the pulse, a requirement of the uncertainty principle, which allows rearrangement and stretching of the frequency components in the pulse so that propagation through the atmosphere tends to shorten the pulse duration and increase the intensity of the laser beam. The total action is to allow the pulse to be focused at a greater distance away from the source than would be possible with simple optics. Regardless of these advantages, many potential applications (both for DoD, the commercial sector and the medical field) require higher powers than those currently achievable. Examples of applications include USPL-generated radiation sources for compact radiation treatment facilities in the medical field and laser-assisted manufacturing in the commercial sector. Note that this average power parameter could be increased by increasing the pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of the laser or the total energy per pulse, or both. For many of the highest power laser systems, thermal issues in the lasing media limit operation to sub-Hz repetition rates (several minutes of cool-down time being required between pulses). Current high energy systems are limited in PRF between 0.1 Hz to 10 Hz whereas systems with high PRF (greater than kHz), the energy per pulse is not exceeding 15-20 mJ. Limitations in the available laser pump energy limit both the maximum PRF of the overall system as well as individual pulse energies available. Improvements in these characteristics involve addressing the increased thermal requirements of the lasing/amplifying media, as well as pump laser sources and optical sub-systems. A factor of greater than 10 increase in PRF for high energy systems and a factor greater than 2 increase in energy of high PRF systems is desired, or both, relative to the state of the art.

It is expected that solutions offered could encompass novel lasing media (rare-earth doped fibers, for instance), more efficient pump-laser sub-systems or architectures for enhanced repetition rates, or improved mounting and cooling assemblies for laser crystals in the various amplifier stages.

PHASE I: Review options for increasing the pulse energy and/or pulse repetition rate in a USPL system. Compare the most feasible options available in the near-term to achieve maximum average power for the system.

PHASE II: Down-select from Phase I and develop a prototype USPL system to demonstrate the high rep-rate/high average power capability.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Identify large commercial partners and transition to DoD and industrial customers.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: ultra-short pulse lasers, high average power pulsed lasers, thermal management, high PRF lasers


AF161-039
TITLE: Game-Based Combat Rescue Helicopter Aircrew Mission Training and Rehearsal


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop a deployable, realistic, high fidelity environment for next-generation Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) aircrew training and rehearsal.

DESCRIPTION: One of the most difficult and critical activities associated with combat rescue is realistically training in the anti-access area denial operational scenarios we expect combat rescue aircraft and systems to accomplish in the field. Further, our increasingly cost-constrained environment, constant deployments, and reduced access to training at home station create a need to identify an alternative training solution. The growing breadth and depth of game-based environments makes them plausible, potential contributors to support the System Training Process KPP from the program’s Capability Development Document (CDD). This effort will directly support both the training program and seasoning of operational personnel recovery crews performing sophisticated tasks considered critical to the development of an effective military capability making a significant contribution to the future Joint Force mandated in the referenced KPP.

This topic will evaluate alternative approaches for the development and demonstration of a low-cost, high fidelity, deployable mission training and rehearsal environment for the new CRH in support of the CDD’s Enabling Capabilities in the Concept of Operations which mandates the use of DMO and simulation to prepare for PR tasks from disparate locations. While game-based environments possess considerable flexibility and fidelity, these environments are not routinely viewed as plausible training exercise or rehearsal environments because they lack:

a. A mechanism for scenario design
b. Support tools to deliver a single scenario or a group of scenarios as instructional events
c. A means of systematic data collection on the players while in the game
d. Warehousing of event data for after action review.

This effort seeks to expand on current capability by developing a high fidelity, game-based environment with methods and tools to permit instructionally valid individual and team training. The proposed environment will necessarily interoperate with virtual and constructive entities and support a variety of tactical scenarios and missions requiring the higher order thinking skills of synthesis and evaluation normally accomplished with live-fly training.

PHASE I: Conduct a detailed analysis of training candidates using the mission training task list from the 2015 Aircrew Training System Requirements Analysis to identify content, develop criteria and examine alternative hardware and software approaches and technologies. Develop specifications and a proof-of-concept training exemplar to be fully developed in the Phase II effort.

PHASE II: Prioritize missions for scenario and content development. Develop, refine, test and evaluate the full hardware software environment and its relevance for realistic integrated training and rehearsal for mission training at home station and in deployed contexts. Quantify training effectiveness and mission readiness enhancement resulting from the environment. Assess training transfer potential to live-fly exercises.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Assess commercial potential and dual use potential for game and training environments supporting a range of credible instructional scenarios and learner assessments generalizable to other contexts.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: game-based training systems, high fidelity tactical training, tailorable training environments, performance based deployable training, combat search and rescue, CSAR, personnel recovery, PR, combat rescue helicopter, CRH, Guardian Angel


AF161-040
TITLE: Wearable Head Tracker System (WHTS)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop wearable head tracker system (WHTS) for use with dismounted operator digital vision devices. Approach should enable symbol placement conformal to the real world without perceptible lag or artifacts.

DESCRIPTION: There are currently multiple key system attribute requirements for AFSOC to improve day and night vision devices for dismounted Battlefield Airmen (BA). These devices include day-capable head mounted displays (HMD) and digital night vision goggles (DNVG). A lightweight, low latency head-tracker is needed to provide projected head position and orientation to the body-worn image generation system so that computer generated information (symbology, synthetic imagery) can be aligned with the real-world scene as the operator moves. Because dismounts often move quickly (head only or whole body) and because gear worn on the torso moves somewhat independently of the head, viable solutions will most likely require that the key tracker components (sensors, processors) are mounted on the helmet or head. Achievement of this capability will increase the ability of dismounted operators to operate head-up, and allow confirmation of points of interest from existing head-down map displays with the real-world scene. BA operators will also benefit from head-up display of participating aircraft while conducting terminal control of assault zones as well as 3D audio to assist in managing the workload of multiple aircraft.

The impact of the tracker space, mass, mass-distribution, and power on the integration of total head/helmet optoelectronics systems must be minimized. The WHTS must incorporate sensors that determine the orientation of the head relative to world and the earth coordinate system. The WHTS must incorporate, or accept inputs from, one or more navigation systems providing latitude, longitude, and altitude along with their 1st and 2nd derivatives. Such navigation systems could include, but are not limited to: (a) satellite-based global positioning system (GPS) receivers, (b) inertial systems, (c) computer vision techniques (cameras plus DTED), or (d) a micro-inertial navigation system, such as the Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator (C-SCAN).

The WHTS must enable symbology or synthetic imagery to be mapped from the world coordinate system to the helmet coordinate system for presentation on the near-to-eye (NTE) display so that it is perceived by the operator to register accurately to the real-world outside the digital vision system (DVS). Predictive algorithms must be used to ascertain instantaneous head coordinates relative to the real world so that geo-registered symbols can be placed accurately.

The WHTS must be able to operate within the radio-frequency (RF) environment of the BA soldier without adversely impacting use of body-worn equipment. Standard Battlefield Air Operations (BAO) soldier equipment currently includes a number of radios and other electronic components.

Required performance parameters: accommodate peak head slew rates and accelerations of 300º/sec and 5000º/sec**2, respectively, to minimize delays and artifacts; icon placement to a threshold (objective) accuracy of 10 mrad (5 mrad) with jitter less than 0.5 mrad (0.2 mrad); and latency less than 16 ms (5 ms)—of which just less than 3.3 ms (less than 1 ms) may be available to the tracker update step.

PHASE I: Design a WHTS with size, weight, and power (SWaP) consistent with head-worn implementation. Estimate latency, accuracy, and jitter via laboratory experiments and analyses. Develop a system architecture for WHTS integration into the dismounted BAO Kit. Develop a system implementation plan for evaluating WHTS operating performance in combat environments, including GPS-denied and urban.

PHASE II: Fabricate a prototype WHTS. Develop a test plan. Evaluate the prototype in a laboratory environment. Demonstrate WHTS mechanical and electrical interfaces for integration into the BAO Kit. Provide special test equipment, support operator testing, and refine prototype performance based on feedback. Deliver prototype WHTS optimized for SWaP performance, reliability, and ruggedization consistent with dismounted warfighter operations. Create a roadmap to mature the technology.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop WHTS pre-production product and integrate with the BAO Kit and an HMD that requires head-tracking information. Provide a pre-production WHTS bill of materials. By the end of Phase III, the WHTS should be capable of all-weather operation worldwide. Develop commercial applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: Wearable Head Tracker System, WHTS, digital vision, head-up display, see-through display, night vision goggles, dismounted operators, Battlefield Air Operations, BAO, Special Operations Forces


AF161-041
TITLE: Software Architecture Evaluation Tool for Evaluating Offeror Proposals


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop, validate and demonstrate a tool to analyze software architecture to understand propagation cost and core size of the software. Such insights will enable acquisition managers to mitigate risk and improve financial and operational performance.

DESCRIPTION: Members of the acquisitions corps must often make source selection decisions, sometimes for multi-decade, multi-billion dollar systems, based solely on written information provided by offerors about their software (in this context software is weapon systems agnostic, could be for avionics, IT, simulators, etc.). For example, many offerors assert their software to be easily sustainable because it employs an open or modular architecture. However, there is no easy way for these assertions to be verified. Consequently, this current method of software analysis and selection is highly fallible because there is no means to validate the veracity of the offeror’s claims or to identify potential problems within software.

A growing body of research demonstrates that a software code base is analyzable without the burden of a priori operational knowledge of the entire code base[1–3]. At the most basic form, this method employs a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software call extractor to identify the dependencies within lines of code, which are then arranged in an adjacency matrix or a design structure matrix for further analysis. Once direct dependencies are identified within a matrix, indirect dependencies are calculated through matrix multiplication until full transitive closure of dependencies is understood. This fully extended matrix is then clustered according to a matrix partitioning algorithm. In this final form of the software architecture, it is possible to understand both the propagation cost and core size of the examined software[4]. Research has shown that these two software metrics can shed light on the cost of long-term sustainability of the software (in terms of both cost to sustain and time) and the veracity of the offeror’s original architecture claims.

PHASE I: Develop a prototype software tool capable of analyzing software architecture to: understand both the propagation cost and core size of the software; provide insights to the sustainability cost; and enable improvements to risk mitigation, financial planning and operational performance. Demonstrate viability by performing an analysis on an open-source Department of Defense code bases.

PHASE II: Finalize and validate the software tool developed in Phase I and demonstrate using an Air Force provided code base. Demonstrate the finalized solution meets security requirements for fielding on the Department of Defense’s Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (NIPR) network.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A licensable software tool or package capable of being fielded and operated throughout Air Force Materiel Command. This is a dual-use technology with applications to both military and commercial software.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: software, architecture, acquisitions, source selection


AF161-042
TITLE: Simplified Aero Model Development and Validation Environment


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human 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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Create a high-fidelity, instrumented environment for rapidly developing and verifying models to improve simulator fidelity.

DESCRIPTION: Increasing simulator fidelity, coupled with advancements in networking technology, has enabled more aircrew training objectives to be “offloaded” from having to be performed on aircraft and onto simulators. One area where these advances have the potential to generate a large cost savings is in the area of aerial refueling as an example development case.

Today aircrews are trained to perform aerial refueling using real aircraft. This continues to be very expensive as a way to do this kind of training. In the live aircraft training, both a tanker and a receiver aircraft must be scheduled along with their crews. This large commitment of resources is expensive and requires close coordination between different organizations in order to maximally utilize the air time. Classically, there are two ways to train aircrew. The first method is to provide a highly realistic environment where the aircrew member. The aircrew member learns though repeat exposure to the realistic environment while performing the task. For on aircraft aerial refueling training, this is typically done through the use of repeated dry hook ups and actual refueling events. A second method for improving aircrew performance is to provide training in a manner that is more stressing yet analogous to the actual task. An example of this type of training is strength conditioning for runners where they carry additional weight on their backs during training. This makes the training somewhat unrealistic (and more difficult), yet yields performance benefits during an actual race. Anecdotally, C-17 aerial refueling training in the legacy Air Refueling Procedure Part Task Trainer was akin to this method.

Aircrews did not find the training device realistic but they found that it developed aircrew skills in such a way that made actual aerial refueling seem less difficult.

A virtual aerial refueling (VAR) capability has the potential to greatly reduce cost and increase training opportunities. Simulators are at least an order of magnitude less expensive than aircraft to operate. Aircrew can be sourced from across the network to accomplish training, removing the need to geographically meet as is needed for on aircraft refueling training. However one of the biggest hurdles in moving to a virtual training capability is the relative fidelity of the models of the aircraft in the simulation used for the training. Today the aero models for all the players must be developed and validated using the real aircraft for this as well. One key reason today’s simulation environments are not used more directly for this model development for training is that the fidelity of the simulations as a mechanism for such developing and validating models is not sufficient. Further, they are not instrumented in a way to make this model development and validation more accurate, expeditious, and cost effective compared to real aircraft validation.

This effort will develop a high-fidelity, instrumented environment for aero model development and validation in order to improve performance on a specific task, such as aerial refueling. Providing a highly realistic virtual environment is what is currently being pursued in the virtual world to support VAR training. Developing a less expensive aero model development capability is preferred. However, all options should be considered for their efficacy and cost effectiveness.

PHASE I: Identify and evaluate alternative approaches to non-live aircraft aero model development, improvement and validation. Based on the evaluation develop a design specification for a model development environment and develop an initial environment exemplar for a proof-of-concept demonstration.

PHASE II: Extend and validate the exemplar and conduct iterative model development and validation demonstrations. Integrate and evaluate models developed in the exemplar environment into actual simulation environments and conduct training and model effectiveness evaluations and comparative evaluations of models with existing flight test data.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This effort will further refined the exemplar and will provide a prototype to an operationally relevant domain for extensive test and evaluation. The results of this effort will provide a commercialized solution to eliminate the necessity for aeromodel development and validation.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: aero model verification and validation, aerial refueling, simulators, fidelity, training devices, model development environments


AF161-043
TITLE: PED Operational Domain (POD)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Leverage technologies to create efficiencies in Phase I processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) of full-motion video (FMV). Increase PED capabilities at current manning or maintain capabilities with less manning.

DESCRIPTION: Aligned with AFSOC’s PED 2020 vision and roadmap, AFSOC would like to engage with research and development organizations to develop prototypes and/or production systems to improve the human performance of FMV analysts. Today’s technology landscape is providing enhanced capabilities in touch screen, voice recognition, human gesture control, object recognition, data fusion, and collaboration. An analyst surrounded by these technologies can take charge of their environment by focusing on high priority analytical reasoning tasks and allow the system to assist them in tasks that are routine and secondary to the primary task of analysis. Systems within the intelligence community are increasingly providing more and more data for analysis.

Innovative selection and integration of technologies can create efficiencies within the PED Phase 1 process. Most of the technologies are readily available but lack integration into a human to computer environment. It’s operationally sound to develop an integrated human to computer environment and pursue additional technologies that will enhance our PED integrated capabilities. All candidates should consider all layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. In laymen’s terms, consider each component of the solution from the hardware, cabling, network, systems, communications, ergonomics, and security when designing and building this capability. Components should be state of the art, leading edge. While considering current fielded capabilities, the POD should be an open architecture “build to” environment allowing for use of current and future plug and play systems and applications.

Each POD should have a suite of collaboration tools. These tools should allow for communications with RPA sensor operators and forward ITC analysts. Collaboration would be in the form of radio communications, telestration, virtual presence, chat, groupware, and electronic meetings.

The goal of this POD would be to improve processes and reduce the number of tasks performed by human intervention and enable rapid correlation/manipulation of data for decision making.

Example Use Case: With their eyes analysts can change focus to the screen or window of interest and with their hands move and manage the workspace. Voice commands will optimize and expedite processes by executing activities normally done from a keyboard or mouse. An example would be verbalizing callouts without having to type or make log entries. Each analyst should sit in their own POD surrounded by easily assessable technologies to improve time-in-motion and situation awareness.

PHASE I: Gather POD requirements from AFSOC and develop a POD systems design with schematics, drawings, and specifications. Work with AFSOC to develop use cases on how the analyst would interact with the POD when performing routine computer tasks such as logins, applications launching, screen management, etc. Provide an estimated Phase II schedule and/or project plan.

PHASE II: Develop an initial prototype system or subsystem to demonstrate the human to computer interface capabilities of the POD using a targeted set of FMV and office applications. Technical assessment will be performed by AFSOC. Provide an estimated Phase III schedule and/or project plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition the POD to an AFSOC FMV PED environment. The POD has the potential to evolve into an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Recognizance (ISR) cockpit for use beyond Phase I PED, as well as by other intelligence analysts within the Joint Forces community.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: computer, video, FMV, screen, voice, collaboration, biometrics, telestration, chat, analyst, ITC, PED, ISR, cockpit, COTS, systems, network, cyber, touch screen, voice control, voice recognition, OSI Model, virtual presence, groupware, MAAS, AF-DCGS


AF161-044
TITLE: Finite Element Model of the F-35 Ejection Seat


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Development of a finite element (FE) computer model of an F-35 ejection seat with human occupant for prediction of spinal injury risk to the full range of pilots during a wide range of ejection conditions.

DESCRIPTION: The F-35 aircraft has a wide range of capabilities and an expanded flight envelop which could lead to pilots ejecting under extreme conditions. The US16E ejection seat has been selected for the F-35, and has undergone extensive rocket sled testing with instrumented manikins. However, conducting rocket sled qualification testing of ejection seats with instrumented manikins cannot accurately simulate human response in some critical areas, such as pre-ejection bracing and neck flexion. Also, current spinal injury models were designed for legacy ejection seats and current neck injury criteria are based on automotive injury curves, so these also do not provide adequate prediction of ejection injury under conditions that will be experienced by the F-35. Therefore, a validated FE model of a human occupant in an actual ejection seat is needed to address these deficiencies since this model could provide simulations of various ejection conditions not simulated by manikin rocket sled qualification tests, and not predicted by current injury criteria. Research has narrowed the factors that increase injury rates to a few primary causes; however, due to limited resources, the dependencies and coupling of the factors are unknown. FE modeling has potential to provide insight into this complex problem by identifying the critical variables in the F-35 seat that contribute to increased injury rates under a wide range of ejection conditions that are not addressed in qualification tests.

The proposed effort will focus on development of a Finite Element computer model using off-the-shelf, non-proprietary modeling software (e.g., LS Dyna), that can simulate the dynamic response of a human crewmember ejecting in the F-35 ejection seat. The model should incorporate small female (approximately 103 lbs), mid-male (approximately 170 lbs), and large male (approximately 245 lbs) variations. The Air Force will provide biodynamic response data collected from both human and instrumented manikin tests conducted on a Vertical Deceleration Tower (VDT) and Horizontal Impulse Accelerator (HIA) in an actual US16E ejection seat which can be used to validate methodologies, as well as code from human response and ejection models originally developed by AFRL (e.g., ATB, Easy5) for legacy platforms. The model development will also include a graphical user interface to allow the user to set the initial seat and environmental parameters of a simulated ejection.

PHASE I: Design the concept of developing a FE computer model and graphical user interface capable of simulating the dynamic response of a small female, mid-male, and large male pilot ejecting from an F-35 aircraft. Give rationale for selection of the modeling software and identify what is needed to validate the model. Provide an illustration of the proposed graphical user interface.

PHASE II: Develop the computer model and graphical user interface (GUI) described in Phase I. Demonstrate with simulations how the model can simulate the dynamic response of a small female, mid-male, and large male during an F-35 ejection. Show how the GUI is used to set the pre-ejection parameters (e.g., restraint tensions, headrest position, seat cushion type, etc.). Provide details on software structure, file architecture, model run times, system requirements, and licensing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Validate the computer model with injury statistics of ejections with similar seats provided by the Air Force, and conduct a comparison to F-35 rocket sled tests conducted with instrumented manikins. Identify practical areas of model customization not identified by GUI parameters.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: FE model, GUI, spinal injury, F-35 seat, aircraft ejection, human response


AF161-045
TITLE: Information Fusion to Enable Shared Perception between Humans and Machines


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Establish an approach to interface design that incorporates how humans fuse information in order to create shared perception and shared understanding between humans and machines.

DESCRIPTION: In autonomous systems, humans and machines require common understanding and shared perception to maximize benefits of the human-machine team. In data fusion systems, machines are relied upon to integrate information from multiple sources and time periods through various statistical and mathematical techniques to obtain meaningful information. They rely on algorithms that assess and associate different pieces of data based on the likelihood that they represent the same or related events, people, and objects[1]. In the fusion process, one of the human’s main roles is to perform as a hybrid computer, supporting automated reasoning techniques by using visual and aural pattern recognition and semantic reasoning[2]. A complete data fusion system consists of computers that combine information from multiple sources, an interface to present the combined information along with additional information, and a human who must perceive, encode, and interpret the information to make a decision. To optimize this human-machine team, the machine should represent the information in an optimal way to enable the human to form associations, reason, and make effective decisions. An approach is needed for interface design that incorporates the understanding of how both machines and humans fuse information in a way that allows the human and machine to form a shared perception and shared understanding of the environment.

PHASE I: Design a concept for an interface design that enables shared perception and shared understanding between the human and machine, taking into account the way in which humans fuse information. This concept should be applicable to a variety of autonomous systems. Provide a plan for the practical deployment of the proposed interface design approach.

PHASE II: Develop, test, and validate the interface design concept from Phase I, such that it demonstrates an improvement in the system’s ability to help the human fuse information so that both human and machine can establish shared perception and shared understanding. Phase II deliverables will include interface design concepts and how to implement those concepts in an interface for autonomous systems.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A scientifically justifiable method or guidance for interface design to improve human-machine teams’ ability to fuse information can be used to build system interfaces in defense or commercial human-machine teams or can be transitioned to independent interface design teams of autonomous systems.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: information fusion, autonomy, human-machine teams, interface design, high-level information fusion, data fusion


AF161-046
TITLE: Inexpensive Haptic Devices and 3D Medical Game for the Interosseous Infusion Procedure


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human 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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Development of an inexpensive, serious, 3D, medical, computer-video game for the intraosseous infusion (IO) procedure. Verify an improved mathematical model for serious 3D computer medical games.

DESCRIPTION: New, inexpensive gaming technologies are providing greater realism in computer video gaming that can simulate 3D training environments. Current haptic training devices are expensive and due to expense, limit the number of trainees that can utilize them. In military schoolhouses, the intraosseous infusion procedure is trained using animal tissue/bone specimens. While this method is relatively inexpensive, the anatomy is not the same, it costs something to store the tissue and dispose of it properly, clean the tools, and purchase the IO kits for the training. Not all the areas that can be infused can be trained; generally, the tibia insertion point is trained. When 7,000 students pass through training each month, there is a great deal of animal tissue for a training program to deal with. Thus an inexpensive, game-based trainer could eliminate the need for tissue training models. However, the physiological and mathematical models currently underlying 3D training have been developed for use with more expensive haptic input devices. In order for inexpensive 3D training games to be of value, the models would need to be adapted. In addition, the haptic input devices, replicating the form/fit function of the IO needles, various drill devices in use by the military, and tubing would have to be developed such that they respond within parameters to avoid negative training, provide a level of realism, as well as training feedback related to visual, auditory, tactile, resistive feedback, and other cues.

These devices must provide game-rendered feedback when normal parameters are violated such as shock-wave, and visual, auditory, physiological responses when violations result in a physiological response. These parameters may include but are not limited to speed, force-in-Newtons, boundary limits such as skin or muscle thickness, geometric space, and resistive feedback which simulate visual, auditory, somatosensory, or vestibular perceptions similar to real-world perceptions for the medical procedure. The overarching goal is to create an inexpensive video game that provides all the training components and realism of performing the procedure on an actual human patient in a real-world emergency or combat casualty environments.

PHASE I: Identify the current 3D training games under development by the military and private sector to understand what has been done in the field to date and then develop the haptic devices and physiological and mathematical models they relate to and interact with to create training fidelity which is the long pole in the tent.

PHASE II: Training scenario development begins in Phase II. User-friendliness studies should be conducted with small groups, and user feedback shall be incorporated to ensure user acceptance. Expand the envelope of current models through experimentation to increase the number and quality of possible simulations and animations. Move the model from an initial demonstration prototype to a final prototype ready for validation and testing by schoolhouse participants.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition the model through widespread commercialization and government acquisition. Deliver the final product for the government and private sector market. Applications should be ready military schoolhouses, training communities, and the commercial sector.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: medical haptics, serious games, training games, haptic devices, 3D, game controllers


AF161-047
TITLE: Cognition Biomarker Measurement in Sweat as an Index of Human Performance


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human 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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and use non-invasive devices to monitor warfighter status through cognition biomarkers in sweat.

DESCRIPTION: Intense workloads and short deadlines place a great deal of stress on warfighters and affect human operator's ability to perform the mission. Human sweat shows promise as a biomarker-rich fluid that can be measured non-invasively. Non-invasive, real-time devices to measure cognition biomarkers in sweat could enable local or remote monitoring of human operator function. These devices must include adequate sweat collection, biomarker sensing, and electronics to wirelessly transmit biomarker data. Importantly, cognition biomarkers are expected to have significantly more variance in sweat from individual to individual, compared to lesser variance in blood, and the proposer should strongly address this expected challenge. Additionally, the new sensor devices must minimize interference with the warfighter's ability to perform the mission. For example, the sensors cannot require excessive apparatus or a lengthy calibration training period.

PHASE I: Design systems that can non-invasively monitor warfighter status through real-time assessment of cognition biomarkers in sweat. Design a sensor system including sweat collection, biomarker sensors, and wireless electronics and provide proof-of-concept supporting data on the ability of said design to accurately assess the cognitive state of operators during test activities.

PHASE II: Working prototype and small scale in-vivo test: Prototype the designed sensor system into wearable and manufacturable format, demonstrate that sensor information monitors human operator cognitive state assessment, and develop prototype mobile application to facilitate the cognitive state assessment in operational environments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Fully developed cognitive state assessment systems have numerous applications relevant to the Department of Defense, especially where fatigue or information overload are responsible for elevated error rates. Industry applications include operation and safety in transportation, energy and medicine.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: human performance sensing, sweat biomarkers, cognition biomarkers


AF161-048
yuTITLE: Microdosimetry of High Amplitude Ultrashort RF and Electric Fieldsp


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop a technique and device for measuring electric fields while experimenting with cells and groups of cells in a microscopic environment.

DESCRIPTION: This system should be able to make these measurements very rapidly (sub-nanosecond) during only a single field application, not relying on many averages. Additionally, the measurement should be non-perturbing to the field and be used in the presence of a biological target. This technology will advance the state-of-the-art by allowing single point dosimetry of electric fields under microscopy thus eliminating system specific errors from bioelectric measurements of dose. Such data is paramount to biophysical determination of biological response to electric fields.

Throughout both neuroscience and bioelectrics, the application of fields to biological systems is ubiquitous. Unfortunately, the field delivered to the biological system, or parts of the biological system, is rarely known and typically quantified by modeling based on output signals measured from the entire system. This leads to high levels of uncertainty in the actual dose required to impact biological systems as the exposure geometry, materials, and orientation all become part of the system. This becomes very troubling in establishing safe limits of exposure to high intensity ultrashort electric fields for both military and civilian safety standards. What is needed is a system for micro-dosimetry of intense electric fields (greater than 1MVm) on a cell level scale (um) that will enable direct measurement of the field at a precise location allowing for field mapping at the micron scale.

PHASE I: A concept addressing the requirements should be demonstrated on an appropriate scale using laboratory level instrumentation.

PHASE II: A robust system should be engineered with integrated software and hardware suitable for multiple microscope-based measurements.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Design and fabricate a microdosimetry system that will be built which will target the biomedical academic and commercial research markets.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: RF Dosimetry, RF Exposure, RF Safe Exposure Limits


AF161-049
TITLE: Multi-modal Synthetic Sensor Data Generator with Real-World Environmental Effects and Sensor Physics


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop a software application that generates synthetic multimodal non-EO/IR (electro-optical/infra-red) sensor returns for human activities, with mathematically modeled sensor physics and real-world environment effects.

DESCRIPTION: Current human activity detection and recognition rely largely on traditional EO/IR imagery data. However, there are inherent limitations and complexities in analyzing human-related EO/IR data and models. The emerging technology advancements of non-EO/IR sensors, such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)[1, 2] and (SAR) Synthetic Aperture Radar[3], may open new ways to help address limits in EO/IR data. When fused together, the multimodal sensor systems could revolutionize the detection and recognition of human activities. On the other hand, current research on the analytical algorithms for these non-traditional sensor data is limited by the availability of synchronized and registered imagery baselines, particularly when human activities are concerned. They are often single modal, inaccessible, and/or limited to the condition and configuration at the time of data collection. Moreover, they are expensive to acquire and thus extremely difficult to produce a human-focused baseline dataset with a full range of human shape deformations and adjustable sensor and environmental conditions. Therefore, a multi-modal synthetic sensor data generator with real-world human environment modeling and physics could be a fast and cost-effective approach to help address this data gap and facilitate data exploitation and analytical algorithm development.

The fidelity of simulated sensor imagery depends on the realism and soundness of physics for both the sensor and the environment models. Recently, there have been attempts to develop physics-based sensor models for RADAR[3], LIDAR[4] and hyperspectral imaging[5]. However, compared to EO/IR, these non-traditional modalities are much less researched with respect to human effects in which occlusion and freeform shape deformation are prominent and skin and clothing effects are complicated. Moreover, the lack of integration among the various modalities limits their value for exploring sensor data fusion, which is important in discerning human attributes and intentions. On the environment construction side, although current 3D graphics simulation technology allows for the rapid creation of background scenes, buildings, vegetation, machines, and human avatars, the resulting virtual models tend to be void of environmental physics, such as the effects of atmospheric conditions, illumination, surface materials, and various sources of noise.

The Air Force is seeking innovative and scientifically rigorous software solutions to generate and synchronize synthetic sensor data of human activities with adjustable sensor and environmental parameters based on sensor physics and mathematical models. The integration of a variety of sensor types is desired, including but not limited to RADAR, LIDAR, SAR, and/or hyperspectral imaging. The sensor models should, at the minimum, consider spatial, spectral, and radiometric effects. In addition, modeling sensor detector properties, based on widely-used commercial sensor systems, is desirable. The environmental models should comprise atmospheric and illumination effects, noise/clutter, common surface effects of ground, buildings, vehicles, plants, and humans. It is assumed that sequences of geometric models of 3D scenes, with an emphasis on the fidelity of human activities, are readily available in standard graphics formats and can be imported through an application programing interface (API) developed through this effort. The software should adopt a scalable architecture such that future expansion of sensing modalities and environmental properties can be made easily. The final product should also include a front-end graphical user interface, user-accessible back-end property libraries, and visualization and output utilities for the synthetic sensor data.

PHASE I: Develop or survey initial mathematical models to simulate sensor and environment effects. Provide in-depth analysis on the best technical development path, component technology choice, system architecture, data management, and potential risks and negation strategies. Conduct a preliminary proof of concept using a limited set of sensor and environment configurations.

PHASE II: Develop all aspects of the technology into a functional prototype software tool with multimodal capability and an emphasis on human effect. Integrate all components into the prototype via a user-friendly GUI and backend system. Demonstrate and partially validate the software’s effectiveness and accuracy through publicly available real-world sensor data or laboratory experiments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The technology will allow the military to generate realistic and physically sound sensor imagery data from virtual 3D scenes, expanding capabilities of ISR applications. The technology would also be useful in other arenas such as analytical technology development for homeland security applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: sensor fusion, simulation, synthetic, radar, lidar, infrared, hyperspectral, full motion video


AF161-050
TITLE: Microcosm Forecasting Utilizing Swarm Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Using sensors on micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), develop real-time, micro-scale weather models in urban environments.

DESCRIPTION: Wind modeling in urban environments has been an ongoing and difficult challenge. The standard large-scale weather prediction models cannot properly resolve urban wind fields due to the models’ course resolutions and the nature of urban terrain. The Air Force, in conjunction with the Army Research Lab (ARL), has developed a high-resolution micro-scale urban wind model called, "Three Dimensional Wind Field" (3DWF). The 3DWF application is a fast running and efficient wind field model designed specifically for urban and complex terrain environments with the ability to model mean wind flow around barriers and individual buildings. It also produces turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) 3D profiles to warn of shear conditions in complex spaces. The model output is generally displayed in planar or cross section views with color-coded wind speeds. The model has been used operationally with grid-spacing of 2 to 100-m resolutions. One of the model signature strengths for operational environments is the very fast (2–10 min) processing times, making it a powerful tool for real-time mission support. It is considered central to current development work on a 24/7 airborne hazard monitoring capability.

The accuracy of the model is highly dependent upon the accuracy of the initialization data. Models such as this require data taken at high sampling rates over the entire area of interest in order to create realistic and representative initial conditions. Often, multiple wind profiles are needed to account for the flow fields generated by the land surface heterogeneity. In the past, the 3DWF models have been initialized using data gathered from upwind physical sensors or output from the Air Force and Army’s mesoscale modeling systems, with varying results. Past initialization research has included of building arrays of multiple-level micrometerogological (micro-met) masts that provided both horizontal and vertical spatial coverage spanning the 3DWF model’s computational area of simulation and using dual Doppler lidar wind measuring systems. It has been determined that data gathered by local sensors provides superior model results to those initialized from mesoscale model output. However, gathering real world wind data in an urban environment offers its own set of challenges. Traditional fixed and deployable weather sensing systems are not practical to transport and install through dense urban settings, as they require significant infrastructure and manpower to support.

This topic will explore using micro-UAVs capable of being deployed in a dense swarm within a high value target area. The UAVs need to be capable of carrying appropriate weather sensors and provide the gathered data to initialize the 3DWF models. Additionally, the UAVs need to be small enough to navigate complex environments while being sturdy enough to survive urban weather conditions. This program would be tied to Army operations, as Air Force Weather does not currently support forward deployed forecast systems.

PHASE I: Develop proof-of-concept platform. This would include comparing available micro-UAV systems and weather sensors in order to identify hard solution(s) capable of acquiring the needed wind data. In addition, explore swarm and urban path planning algorithms in preparation for Phase II. Develop safety requirements for micro-UAV use within a populated area. The output from Phase I is a final report.

PHASE II: Develop data gathering and control algorithms to deal with the large number of source points within the swarm. Develop urban environment simulations to test swarm, control and planning algorithms. Using the chosen hardware platforms, develop a path forward to integrate sensor data into the 3DWM models using the 3DWM interface specifications.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Harden both the hardware and software systems through rigorous live and simulated testing. Integrate wind data feeds from active swarm into the 3DWM models for system initialization.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: UAV, micro-UAV, weather, forecast, wind, unmanned aerial vehicle


AF161-051
TITLE: Airborne Network using Spectrum-Efficient Communications Technologies (ANSECT)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop high spectrum efficient technologies for airborne battle-space communications.

DESCRIPTION: Airborne gateways represent the future of military communications to support aerial and ground forces. Aerial platforms increase the communication range by providing long-range visibility to ground forces, and enhance command and control (C2) communication capabilities. In order to serve as a communication backbone and support the future needs of military communications, aerial gateways have to support significantly higher data rates than currently possible. Innovative technologies are needed to sustain these high rates by exploiting possible degrees of freedom and diversity across time, frequency, and space dimensions. To achieve this goal, it is desirable that new protocol design across the network stack is supported by efficient utilization of radio characteristics with supporting waveforms, and antenna characteristics that exploit multiple input/output (MIMO) and other spectrum-enhancing/throughput-enhancing RF systems. It is also desirable to identify innovative methods in a unifying framework that applies to air-to-ground, ground-to-air and air-to-air communications, each with unique propagation characteristics (e.g., multipath).

High fidelity test and evaluation enabled by realistic radio implementation play critical roles in validating the design, and verifying the promised improvement of airborne technologies under development. For instance, with programmable/configurable setup, software defined radios (SDR) allow users to develop different applications on the same hardware, which has made rapid prototyping of concept or functional radios a reality. With the advances in field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and analog front-ends, the capabilities of SDRs are expected to increase significantly. Furthermore, testing with high fidelity simulation or emulation environments can significantly reduce the costs associated with actual field-testing and allow for fast prototyping of spectrum efficient airborne communication technologies.

This topic seeks innovations in improving the data rates of air-to-ground, ground-to-air and air-to-air communications utilizing advanced technologies across network stack and with novel radio and antenna communication design relative to a single antenna system. In determining the spectrum efficiency gains in airborne communications, the performer is expected to consider practical aspects such as mutual interference, communication overhead, as well as size, weight, power and cost (SWAP-C) constraints; implement a hardware-in-the-loop prototype; and perform test and evaluation in a realistic wireless environment.

PHASE I: Generate the system design of an airborne communication system that can significantly improve the data rates with extended coverage. Quantify the benefits using analysis and simulations, accounting for practical implementation constraints. Provide recommendations for advanced uses of available spectrum.

PHASE II: Implement the technology in a hardware environment and demonstrate the gains with actual radio elements. Present a path toward optimizing SWAP-C. Show compatibilty among demonstrator systems and legacy (in-use systems), either through IP connectivity or compatible waveforms or modes of operation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate a field-ready transceiver system in relevant environment. The high spectrum efficiency technologies can benefit the commercial telecommunications world.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: MIMO, multi-input multi-output,airborne communications, spectrum efficient, spectrum efficiency, test and evaluation, spectrum agility, agile spectrum


AF161-052
TITLE: Cognitive Airborne Communications with RF Interference Mitigation and Anti-jam Capabilities (RIMA)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop RF interference mitigation and anti-jam technologies to support spectrum-efficient airborne networking.

DESCRIPTION: Airborne communication is subject to different levels of RF interference effects and jamming attacks either at airborne relays or at communication subscribers. In such contested congested environments, it is essential to manage interference between users and mitigate any external effects especially deliberate jamming attacks. A unified solution is needed to detect/classify interference/jamming signals and mitigate their effect via advanced solutions that should span the entire protocol stack.

Cognitive techniques are shown to be useful to increase situation awareness in RF environment and operate with high data rate communication by finding available spectrum opportunities. Spectrum sensing, channel and interference power estimation are essential components to enable advanced interference mitigation and anti-jam techniques including frequency and power adaptation and spread-spectrum communications. Such techniques are further supported by the emergence of novel PHY solutions with MIMO and directional or beam-forming and beam-nulling antenna systems. Higher layer techniques such as routing, network coding and transport control need to adapt to these cognitive solutions for reliable end-to-end operation by carefully balancing the effects of interference and congestion to be observed at airborne relays and communication subscribers.

Once cognitive interference management techniques developed, another aspect sought in this solicitation is to implement them on real radios and demonstrate the performance in a realistic RF environment. Of particular interest is to verify the success of interference mitigation with high fidelity emulation tests using real radios and cognitive and selective jammers.

This topic seeks innovative technologies that provide effective cognitive communication techniques to sustain high rates and situational awareness in contested, congested environments subject to RF interference and jamming effects. The following areas are of particular interest for this solicitation: 1) Designing RF interference mitigation and anti-jam capabilities at both airborne relays and communication subscribers, 2) designing protocols across the entire protocol stack by accounting for realistic RF interference and cognitive jammer effects, 3) implementing RF interference mitigation and anti-jam techniques on radio platforms, 4) quantifying the level of interference cancellation and achievable rates along with overhead and assessing improvements with respect to spectral efficiency, and 6) experimental evaluation of novel implementations that quantify the actual gains achievable with real radios in a high fidelity emulation environment.

PHASE I: Generate the system design of RF interference mitigation and ant-jam technologies that can significantly improve spectral efficiency. Quantify the benefits using analysis and simulations, accounting for practical implementation constraints.

PHASE II: Implement the technology in a hardware environment and demonstrate the gains with actual radio elements. Demonstrate the performance gains by RF interference mitigation and ant-jam technologies in contested, congested airborne network environments. Demonstrate conclusively how the hardware produced for this topic interoperates with existing tactical radio systems. Where operations are incompatible, validate reasons why and develop mitigation strategies to allow use of diverse systems.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate a field-ready radio system with mature protocol stack in relevant environment, including robust system requirements comparable or exceeding currently fielded systems. As in Phase II, demonstrate interoperability with other transceivers in the aerial network.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: cognitive radio, interference mitigation, anti-jam relay communications, spectrum efficiency, experimentation, WNaN, spectrum ability


AF161-053
TITLE: Airborne Cloud for the Tactical Edge User (ABC)


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Provide experimental instantiations of the managed aerial layer network employing dynamic cloud capabilities that do not rely solely on SATCOM or ground entry points, but may operate for up to seven days without intervention.

DESCRIPTION: Cloud services bring many benefits, among them: Accessible from anywhere; increase/decrease number of machines based on user-defined parameters; shared pool of configurable computing resources; resizable compute capacity for unlimited growth; and utility computing, pay for what you use, and more services are rapidly provisioned. JPL experts and others have examined mobile cloud computing and, particularly, airborne layer network cloud computing. The field of study is very young and untested, and Air Force warfighters need to contend with the conditions on hand. In any campaign, resources for the aerial layer cloud will vary until the Joint Aerial Layer Network (JALN) concept matures.

The vendor will work with a small Air Force team still defining the Cloud, understanding that the Cloud needs to be a part of a “Networks of Networks” that are "highly adaptable." Networks of Networks will be characterized by legacy/advanced information links working together, IP-based and legacy protocols working together, and inter-service, inert-alliance operations. “Highly adaptable” will be characterized by semi-automated, dynamic networks, where mission plans/priorities help guide automated services.

This topic will provide the opportunity to build the aerial cloud in one or more instantiations.

PHASE I: Using current DISA and Service guidance, design a conceptual architectural construct of an airborne Cloud computing environment. This must support resilient and secure tactical operations within a high-capacity backbone aerial layer networking topology. This effort must deliver a laboratory instantiation of the cloud serving the tactical edge user, and other temporary and permanent users.

PHASE II: Continuation of Phase I with a construct and demonstration of the aerial layer cloud. Introduce simulated/actual loss of connectivity among airborne and surface nodes, adapting to delays, interruptions, jamming effects, varying throughputs throughout the aerial cloud based on proximity of the nodes, varying channel strength and waveforms, delivering basic IP content through translation and conversion. Assume a consistently diverse array of systems being employed within the aerial layer cloud.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Propose commercial variants of the aerial layer network cloud philosophy.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: ACC, cloud, airborne, aerial layer cloud, security


AF161-054
This topic has been deleted from this solicitation



AF161-055
TITLE: Survivable, Secure and Dependable Wireless Communications


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a secure wireless communications systems that is dependable, survivable, and jam resistant, with low probability of detection, interception, and exploitation.

DESCRIPTION: Wireless communications for Weapon System Command and Control (WSC2) systems are not new, but for some applications, they have not been implemented due to the sensitivity and criticality of the information being transmitted and susceptibility to intercept and exploitation. Novel approaches are being sought for applications where previously wireless communications would not have been considered.

The communications methods must support a data rate of at least 1 MBPS, have a minimum range of 50 miles, and a bit error rate (BER) of less than 1E-12 with a jitter of 1500 ps. Preference will be given to operating within 335-500 MHZ. Proposed systems must show better performance in terms of jam resistance and probabilities of detection, interception, and exploitation than currently available technologies. Specific metrics are to be proposed by the researchers and agreed to by the government. The communication system must be able to support both based stations to mobile distributed (i.e., mobile to mobile) communications. The technologies that are employed must survive EMP and nuclear explosion events. Systems should not include or rely on external systems which are unlikely to survive an EMP or nuclear explosion i.e. cell phone towers and Internet. Proposed hardware / software must be available from approved supply chains. The mobile devices (including power supplies and antennas) must be transportable on a High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV crew cab truck with 2.5 ton payload capacity) class vehicles and be compatible with the electric power supplies on such vehicles without degrading mission requirements, i.e., removal of all other equipment to locate the new communications gear. The items must have a minimum mean time between critical failure (MTBCF) of 10 years for permanent failures (caused by hardware or software) and a failure rate of a minimum of one year for software failures that can be resolved by restart. The transmitter/receiver units must have interfaces compatible with industry standards such as, but not limited to, Ethernet, USB, and RS 422. The units must meet standards for anti-tamper, ruggedness, and EMC/EMI. They must also meet all relevant personnel safety standards.

Government furnished information / equipment required to address the topic may include specific nuclear hardness, ruggedness, safety, maintainability, and anti-tamper specifications as required.

The expected outcome of the effort is a computer based model of a WSC2 laydown with strengths and limitations identified and investigated, and prototype hardware and software solutions with supporting test data addressing limitations identified by the government for additional investigation. Prototypes should support reasonable expectations a final device shall meet power, weight, and reliability requirements specified above.

PHASE I: Perform a technology feasibility assessment of multiple potential wireless communication schema. Identify all nodes/associated equipment/data types (data, video, voice, etc,)/data description (size, rate, etc.)/WSC2 to external hardware interfaces. Identify limitations and threat susceptibility with each schema and supporting equipment. Propose limitations to be further investigated in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop/deliver computer based model using an industry standard M&S tool (i.e., MATLAB, simulink, etc.) of the proposed system(s). Model will show system impact due to multiple node degradation/loss. Provide specific limitations of current & developing capabilities; potential solutions; and technical areas requiring additional research & development supporting the potential solutions. Develop/test/deliver prototype hardware/software addressing system limitations. Deliver test procedures/results.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial: Provide enhanced security wireless systems. Anti-jam schemes have the potential to improve interoperability and efficiency within a specified portion of spectrum. Military: Provide a secure survivable alternative to land-based fixed location WSC2 lines and facilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: electronic, electronic warfare, NC3, WSC2, command and control, radio, antenna


AF161-056
TITLE: Fusion of Multiple Motion Information Sources


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

OBJECTIVE: Assist intelligence analysts gain understanding of individuals and networks, focused on the activity and transactions associated with an entity, population, or area of interest, by fusion of multiple motion information sources.

DESCRIPTION: Intelligence analysts often are overwhelmed with vast amounts of different data from multiple sources. The information overload hampers their efforts to do effective and timely intel analysis, resulting in delays of critical decisions at higher levels. This in turn leads to undesirable consequences such as adversaries getting away, friendly troops not getting air support on time, or worse, getting injured or killed.

Activity-based intelligence (ABI) offers a likely solution to this problem, but tools are needed for its effective use. ABI is a discipline of intelligence where analysis and subsequent collection are focused on the activity and transactions associated with an entity, population, or area of interest. New sensors that provide persistent coverage over large areas enable the capability to continuously observe motion of both dismounts and vehicles. But the intent of ABI derived from motion data goes beyond simply knowing movement; the objective is to infer and determine the activities and transactions of individuals and networks, including patterns of life.

ABI requires a shift from the current focus on tracks that arrive and depart from a facility or location (e.g., capabilities such as trip wires and density plotting), to a focus on the underlying activities, relationships, and inferring what is in progress or about to happen. Additionally, ABI goes beyond single data sources, by integrating knowledge from a wide facet of data providers and sensors.

However, there numerous challenges to the fusion of multiple sensors (e.g., ground moving target indicator, full-motion video, and wide-area motion imagery) and multiple intelligence sources (communication intelligence, measurement and signals intelligence, open source intelligence, and human intelligence).

ABI tools are needed to gather, fuse, and filter intel data sources; to analyze, integrate, and characterize the data; to alert analysts about activities and transactions of interest; and to generate requests for information and recommendations for additional data sources. An essential capability required is to extract objects of interest from full-motion video on the fly, search/retrieve likenesses from unstructured archives, and correlate the objects with all-source data in near-real time.

Integration and fusion of multiple sources will require technologies that manage resources and data (including historical and forensic data), combine disparate sources, identify dynamic and evolving patterns, activities, and transactions, aid the analysts with the appropriate amount of automation, and request needed data and information, in both near real time and forensic applications. The focus of these tools is to develop understanding of human activity and the underlying intent of individuals and networks.

PHASE I: Investigate existing technologies and methods that support ABI, with a focus on multiple source fusion and integration. Develop and apply activity detection and characterization methodologies for a defined set of data and products. Evaluate the performance and viability of these methods using realistic data sets (simulated or collected) (demonstrate feasibility).

PHASE II: Implement algorithm prototypes in a realistic environment that enables thorough testing of algorithms. Incorporate applications to support testing, e.g., operator displays, decision support systems. Demonstrate and validate algorithm(s) effectiveness. Deliver an algorithm description document, engineering code and test cases. Explore and document other potential methodologies identified in Ph I.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop and mature the technology for use within the Intelligence Community and Homeland Security.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: activity, event detection, GMTI, event processing, multi-source fusion, ABI


AF161-057
TITLE: Secure and Survivable Antennas for Communication in a Nuclear Environment


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Design, simulate, and develop prototype of a secure and survivable antenna for communication in a nuclear environment providing coverage over frequency bands of interest.

DESCRIPTION: To ensure the survivability of our nation in the event of a catastrophic nuclear attack, critical nuclear command, control and communication (NC3) systems must be unhindered by the resulting environment and able to survive the primary effects of a nuclear blast. Nuclear hardened and survivable antennas for future geosynchronous V and W-Band satellite communications systems are desired to allow unimpeded and uninterrupted NC3 in pre-, trans-, and post-nuclear attack environments. Additionally, these nuclear hardened and survivable antennas shall be adaptable to local RF communications. The antennas should meet nuclear requirements and incorporate LPD/LPE/LPI/LPJ (Low Probability of Detection/Exploitation/Interception/Jamming). Throughout this effort, a multitude of concepts are expected to be explored and subsequently narrowed down to a few top contenders, which should be modeled to examine survivability in various environments and against various nuclear effects. The top concept should then enter the design phase and a prototype should be developed and tested to ensure secure and survivable communications in a nuclear environment.

PHASE I: Phase I would entail the identification and evaluation of concepts for nuclear secure and survivable antennas, analysis and modeling of top concepts, and would provide a written plan for development of the top concept based on modeling results.

PHASE II: Phase II would entail the development and testing of the prototype antenna. Deliverables would include the design specifications, testing results, and recommendations for improvement should the design turn out to be less effective than expected.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial Application: Commercial space vehicle communications. Military Application: Secure and survivable communications in pre-, trans-, and post-nuclear attack environments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: NC3, secure, survivable, communications, nuclear, AEHF, V-Band, W-Band


AF161-058
TITLE: Modular, Secure and Affordable Design for NextGen ADS-B Integration


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a modular, secure, and affordable solution for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) for Air Force platforms.

DESCRIPTION: NextGen is an umbrella term for the ongoing transformation of the National Airspace System (NAS). At its most basic level, NextGen represents a transition from a ground-based radar system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. At the heart of NextGen is Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is a surveillance technology for tracking aircraft. ADS-B enhances safety by making an aircraft visible, real-time, to ATC and to other appropriately equipped ADS-B aircraft with position, velocity, and identification data transmissions. ADS-B Out enables transponders to broadcast aircraft position upon interrogation and provides accurate positional information to the ground and to aircraft equipped with ADS-B In terminals. The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out in all U.S. airspace where transponders are currently required by January 1, 2020, and the system must meet strict latency and accuracy requirements (Ref 1).

While ADS-B will play an essential role in the future of air traffic control, the inherent lack of security measures in the ADS-B protocol is a reason for concern. The problem has recently been widely reported in the press and at hacker conventions. Academic researchers, too, proved the ease of compromising the security of ADS-B with current off-the-shelf hard- and software (Ref 2). It has also been estimated that it will cost billions of dollars to retrofit all DoD aircraft with ADS-B technology. Given these numbers and the looming ADS-B Out FY 2020 mandate, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a practical, secure and affordable solution to transitioning NextGen technology into the DoD/civilian fleet of aircraft.

The expected results of this effort include an enterprise level strategy and approach to satisfying air domain equipage mandates in new modular ways. The goal is to not only achieve mandates as prescribed by both combat and civil authorities, but to also look at modular equipage as a method to dramatically increase capability, improve safety, and slash costs.

PHASE I: Design a laboratory scale concept for a modular, secure, and affordable solution for ADS-B integration (ADS-B Out and ADS-B In) on Air Force platforms. Develop a test plan for assessing modularity, level of security, and affordability of developed solution.

PHASE II: Construct the ADS-B system developed in Phase I and demonstrate that the developed solution meets all FAA criteria for ADS-B Out. Demonstration will be accomplished using real flight testing with the ADS-B Out signal being received by a certified FAA ADS-B ground station.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A modular, secure, and affordable solution for ADS-B that meets FAA guidelines and certification requirements for ADS-B. This dual-use technology applies to both military and commercial aircraft concerned with meeting the ADS-B mandate.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: 1090 ES, air traffic control, Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, ADS-B, NextGen, situational awareness, Universal Access Transceiver, UAT


AF161-059
TITLE: Event Recognition for Space Situational Awareness


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop means and methods in leveraging the available multi-INT data to understand currently evolving space situations as a means to provide indications and warnings (I&W) left of the event.

DESCRIPTION: Space situational awareness (SSA) involves the knowledge and understanding of the resident space object population with an emphasis on leveraging this knowledge to protect U.S. space-borne assets. To this point, SSA has focused on two specific threads, namely the characterization of space objects and the identification of specific events of interest. Unfortunately, for many space-based activities, the identification of specific, discernably threatening events may occur too late to allow for appropriate responses to be initiated. One means to combat this issue to leverage the available multi-INT data to understand currently evolving situations in space as a means to provide indications and warnings (I&W) left of these singular events. The understanding of situations as opposed to events represents a paradigm shift in current SSA operations. Because space situations are ever evolving, approaches should leverage robust technologies, such as extensible ontologies, to incorporate derived or newly observed information into the understanding. Further, since SSA data is limited in quantity, there is a requirement to leverage and fuse multi-source, multi-INT data as part of a flexible architecture. The resulting technology will enable advanced SSA by allowing a fuller understanding of the space operational picture and supporting I&W to provide tactical protection of U.S. space assets.

Developing such capabilities requires addressing several challenges including:
• Detection, correlation and fusion of complex sequences of mult-INT events associated with evolving threat situations
• Higher level fusion and decision making for improved situation understanding and complex event recognition
• Reliable prediction of threat events within the context of complex evolving situations

PHASE I: Design an event recognition SSA prototype system that leverages/fuses multi-source, multi-INT data as part of a flexible architecture. The event recognition SSA design should be formed with the above objective in mind.

PHASE II: Development of a prototype system that implements the Phase I design, and demonstrates/validates the prototypes performance using a representative multi-INT dataset.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The resulting system will support SSA, which has both military and commercial applicability.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: pattern learning, anomaly detection, machine learning, space situational awareness, information fusion, SSA


AF161-060
TITLE: Anti-Fragility for Virtualized Systems


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: This topic seeks to apply the concepts of anti-fragility[1] to the domain of software for the purposes of survival and recovery during and after a system compromise.

DESCRIPTION: Software bugs, however minor, can often result in cascading system failures regardless of the scale of the overall system.[2] The common approach taken by software development teams and quality assurance engineers is to find and eliminate as many bugs as possible within the enterprise scale software systems they are building.[2] The anti-fragility approaches to software development would augment the current mindset of simply attempting to eliminate errors during development to one of finding a means to learn and improve from errors during operation. By learning and improving from errors, software is able to become more resilient over time due to the inevitable occurrences of errors in production systems running in enterprise environments.

There is a need to explore the application of the anti-fragility approach as applied to software and the software engineering process.[2] Anti-fragility has the potential to result in software which is significantly more resilient in the face of compromise or when faced with system errors and bad data. Proposers should first consider the application of anti-fragility to software systems and the constraints and challenges of such a system. Methods for randomly injecting faults and errors should also be pursued to inject and induce systems errors[2,3] into mission critical systems or from virtualized servers. The application of antifragility concepts should be explored from the perspective of virtualized hosts to benefit from the existing resiliency technologies within the cloud architecture.

Consideration will be given to solutions that 1) can learn, adapt, and recover in a stronger state as a result of software errors; 2) can function within the constraints of enterprise network without major changes to existing infrastructure; and 3) result in persistent improvements and increased resiliency as errors are encountered.

PHASE I: Research and design the overall application of antifragility to software and the software development process. Define the types of data that can be collected for metrics and concepts for antifragility operations. Ideally at the end of Phase I performers will be able to provide a proof-of-concept demonstration.

PHASE II: Develop the capability and test against representative enterprise networks and environments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Work with the DoD to demonstrate that the prototype developed during Phase II can also be applied to DoD systems and software. Further demonstrate and deploy the capability within diverse environments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: anti-fragility, software systems, virtualization, resilient systems


AF161-061
TITLE: Object Based Production (OBP) for Satellite Characterization


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this effort is to create algorithms which quickly identify, catalog and exploit collected space data and fuse it with other satellite information and satellite tracking data collected across the DoD.

DESCRIPTION: Satellites are vital to our national and economic security. Assurance that U.S. space assets, both commercial and non-commercial, will be available when needed depends on improved space situational awareness. The amount and variety of objects orbiting the earth continues to expand, as more and more countries position assets in space. Current technology is able to track space objects (SOs), but does not efficiently characterize them. A capability which not only tracks SOs, but provides simultaneous information on object type, function, country of origin, and whether it is a known satellite or object following its intended course; known satellite or object no longer following its assigned orbit; new object never before tracked but of identifiable type; non-threatening minor debris; threatening major debris, etc. is required for improving necessary space situation awareness. Of further consideration is the fact that U.S. and foreign satellite data is collected by over a dozen organizations. Much of this data is unclassified and available online or by subscription. The rest of the data is military specific and collected by a number of agencies.

Data collected by the usual collection platforms is rarely exploited, and after 90 days is discarded. Valuable information and exploitation opportunities are lost along with the derived knowledge. The result is a degradation of timely and informed offensive and defensive decision making. The goal of this effort is to create algorithms which quickly identify, catalog and exploit this data and fuse it with other satellite information and satellite tracking data. The desired outcome is a complete characterization of objects in space as well as associated activity and potential threat activity.

Research of technologies which provide for rapid correlation of available information for complete object characterization, including ability to assign attribution to hostile activity, increases U.S. ability to take defensive action, reduces U.S. asset vulnerability and acts as a deterrent to those adversaries who may consider interference with U.S. satellites.

Research should focus on the following areas:
• Improvement of object characterization from data types/sets available from current sensor suites
• Development of algorithms which identify signal satellite of origin and correlate that data against known space vehicles, establish country of origin and allow for fusion of data to determine the purpose of the space vehicle and determine potential threats to Blue Force assets
• Development of architectures which support real-time/near real-time processing of sensor data for object characterization and automatic cataloging of satellite data

PHASE I: Design architectures which support real-time/near real-time processing of sensor data for object characterization and automatic cataloging of satellite data.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system that implements the Phase I designs, and demonstrates/validates the prototypes performance using representative SIG-INT datasets.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The resulting system will support space situation awareness, which has both military and commercial applicability.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: space situational awareness, space object characterization, signals intelligence, emitter location, SSA


AF161-062
TITLE: Innovative TWTs for VW Band Communications


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: New design techniques needed to improve manufacturability of TWTs for high frequency, VW/E-band, high data rate RF communications. High power amplification needed with improved efficiency to reduce operation power requirements, improve reliability.

DESCRIPTION: Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTA) are a well-established technology at low and even mid-range RF frequencies. Design and development becomes difficult at VW band frequencies due to the nature scaling of design dimensions with the higher frequencies. Helix based designs, for example, do not scale well and place extremely demanding tolerance requirements on the mechanical design. Slow wave based designs typically have reduced tolerance requirements.
Recently, some advances have been made in slow wave based designs such as coupled cavity designs. Still, improvements are needed in efficiency, impedance matching, small signal gain and overall output power level performance.

This topic seeks an innovative TWT architecture that achieves high output powers with high efficiency while minimizing the unit cost and complexity. The developed solutions will need to meet the performance requirements of military standards for environmental ruggedness.

PHASE I: Perform trade space analyses of candidate technologies. Identify and design innovative TWT architectures and prototype proof-of-concept devices to give an indication of success of Phase II.

PHASE II: Perform detailed design and implementation of an innovative TWT architecture developed during Phase I. Develop prototypes for demonstrating proof of performance and achievable output power levels, both pulsed and CW. The prototype performance will be verified through extensive testing of the design developed during Phase II with hardware in a relevant environment. Characterize the prototype for possible Phase III transition.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The proposer will develop an innovative TWT for military/commercial aircraft and other platforms. Affordability will be a key focus for this application. A partnering with a commercial supplier can be established to ensure the transition.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: microwave, power module, W-band, power amplifier, gain, bandwidth


AF161-063
TITLE: Mission Visualization


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Software prototype that derives and visualizes assets through mission-level impact of space-based threats and spawns collection req., in form of differentiating events, to enable analyst to discern projected state is progressing toward fruition.

DESCRIPTION: The United States’ pivot to Asia introduces a paradigm shift in the way the U.S. military must now think about and prepare for potential conflict in the Pacific region. In an anti-access/area of denial (A2/AD) environment, the space domain will be highly contested and will also serve as the United States’ primary means through which ISR data will be collected. Given the United States’ anticipated dependence on space-based assets, it will be paramount that the space operational picture (SOP) be robust, great advances have been made in space situational awareness (SSA). It will be equally important for our analysts to be able to translate what they see in that operational picture into how each situation will impact our assets and our ability to prosecute missions that are reliant upon those assets. Given the expectation that we will not be able to protect all of our assets, the need also exists to be able to project which of our assets will be targeted in a timely enough manner as to enable our analysts to prescribe courses of action that will afford the highest probability of survivability. Design and develop a software prototype that derives and visualizes asset through mission level impact of space-based threats and spawns collection requirements, in the form of differentiating events, to enable the analyst to discern which projected state is progressing toward fruition.

PHASE I: Design a system capable of projecting which blue space assets are vulnerable to attack in a timely enough manner as to enable a prescribed courses of action to afford the highest probability of survivability to assets.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system that implements the Phase I design, and demonstrates/validates the prototype's performance.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Both military and civilian to determine space awareness and threat to missions, facilitate orbital decisions and understanding of the consequences of courses-of-action and spacecraft design.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: mission visualization, vulnerability analysis, space situational awareness, SSA


AF161-064
TITLE: Coordinated Data, Better Information, Enhanced Decision Making


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate an IT data mapping and archival system for the Robotic Laser Coating Removal Mapping System (RLCRMS) that preferably leverages an Air Force NIPRNET accredited system to offer greater decision-making ability for Air Force.

DESCRIPTION: As the largest portion of an aircraft, maintenance and sustainment (M&S) operations offer an ability to drive efficiencies, reduce costs, and increase aircraft availability (AA). Currently, system program offices (SPOs) use a variety of tools to aid in their decision-making associated with M&S activities and timelines. While some of these systems offer insight into the state of the aircraft, most are not coordinated or considered to be a holistic set of data or snapshot of the complete aircraft. This often results in segmented or multiple rework M&S activities. As the Air Force enterprise moves toward greater focus on automated IT (AIT) and drives toward reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) and condition-based maintenance plus (CBM-plus) environments, the capability to cross-reference and coordinate data is critical. This topic concept focuses on developing and demonstrating a 3D visualization mapping and archival capability for the RLCRMS, preferably using tools that currently exist and which are approved for deployment across the USAF IT network. By providing this mapping capability to the RLCRMS via the Air Force network, it will allow SPOs to gain access to streamlined data and drive enhanced M&S decisions based on actual conditions of aircraft. This will also serve as a test case for piloting 3D visualization mapping capability across other systems used to maintain aircraft.

The RLCRMS is used to strip paint and coatings from aircraft during programmed depot maintenance (PDM) cycles. The RLCRMS uses a system of highly precise laser ablations to selectively remove coatings. This results in far less pollutants and generated wastes than conventional chemical and media stripping methods. Since the Air Force is moving to a CBM-plus strategy for aircraft and fleet management, there is a long-term desire to only strip coatings on aircraft in areas that require maintenance. To realize this goal, the Air Force needs to 3D map and archive areas that have been stripped and non-stripped per asset. Storing this information will also enable the Air Force to track and trend these locations over time and across PDM cycles.

The preferable use of existing technologies/systems that are already approved for deployment across the Air Force IT network would make the RLCRMS data mapping and storing capabilities more powerful. This will allow any active and archived information to flow between and within SPOs and maintenance organizations. Ultimately, this will provide greater decision-making ability and more asset and aircraft condition awareness while promoting predictive diagnostics and analysis.

PHASE I: Conduct initial assessment to determine how RLCRMS data can be visually mapped and archived. This technical review will include the IT architecture, file formats, import/export capability, linking systems, etc. Phase I shall conclude with a report that includes details related to this assessment and how (if) these capabilities can be built and integrated with RLCRMS and the proposed time line.

PHASE II: During Phase II, development of necessary code to visually 3D map and archive RLCRMS data shall be performed. Middleware code development may be required for linking systems. Phase II shall conclude with a proof of concept showing the data mapping and archival capability with any IT links. The final deliverable for Phase II shall be a proof-of-concept report that details the activities completed what the expected Air Force operation improvements will look like for the RLCRMS once in use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The collaborative tool kit resulting from Phase II shall be demonstrated in a working environment. A SPO sponsor must be engaged and the tool kit shall operate for at least six months. Functionality, ease of operation, and generated data applicability shall be assessed with SPO personnel.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: information technology, laser, coating removal, depaint, 3D visualization, maintenance database


AF161-065
TITLE: Information Synthesis Algorithms for Sense and Avoid (SAA)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Develop information synthesis algorithms that increase unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) situational awareness during SAA activities in the terminal airspace (TA).

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is currently interested in algorithms that will enable seamless UAS integration into the national and military airspace. Terminal Airspace (TA), where the pilot is in contact with either tower control, approach control, or departure control, is an especially congested environment for aircraft. Operations in the TA are time critical, detail sensitive and conducive to task saturation. Increased automation has the potential to reduce operator workload and improve UAS response time, making it possible for UAS to perform more like manned aircraft. Thus, the development of embedded real-time algorithms that increase UAS situational awareness in the TA is critical for successful integration of manned and unmanned systems.

Current airborne SAA systems under development at AFRL are not designed to work in the congested TA. The onboard electro-optical and RADAR sensors have a limited field of regard that prevents them from capturing the complete picture of aircraft around them. There are many common situations in the TA that would inappropriately trigger an avoidance maneuver in today’s SAA systems. Additionally, onboard sensors, for example RADAR, may be less useful at lower altitudes where ground clutter may cause false alarms. Preliminary research shows that some changes and additions to current algorithms will be necessary for UAS to perform SAA in the TA.

One such addition is the ability for a UAS to synthesize information from information sources outside its own sensor suite. There is a wide variety of information that can be used for this function including, but not limited to, air traffic control communications, airport ground radars, automatic terminal information service (ATIS), notices to airmen (NOTAMS), ground-based SAA (GBSAA) systems, weather reports, or information from airborne warning systems.

There are significant challenges to be overcome in this research. Synthesizing information from non-redundant sources may be a challenge when the information is conflicting, provided in different formats, and issued on different schedules. It is imperative that the system can determine which data is valid at any given time, which may change based on phase of flight/altitude and environmental conditions such as day/night, and weather. Additionally, using the synthesized information in a meaningful way to enhance the SAA operational capability and safety is a challenge.

Successful information synthesis will use information from one or more off board sources combined with onboard sensor data to provide the UAS SAA system with a snapshot of the current situation that will enable safe and efficient operation in the terminal airspace.

PHASE I: Research, develop and demonstrate the feasibility of information synthesis (IS) algorithms for providing increased situational awareness in the TA. Use transcribed ATC communications to demonstrate enhanced SAA in the TA. The IS system should provide the operator with a snapshot of the status of other aircraft in the TA. Demonstration should consist of computer modeling, analysis and simulation.

PHASE II: In this phase, the information synthesis algorithms developed in Phase I will be further developed and may be expanded to include other types of off-board data. In phase II, data uncertainties and conflicting information should also be considered. A Phase II demonstration should be conducted in hardware-in-the-loop simulation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: For both military and commercial, manned and unmanned aircraft, the information synthesis algorithms enable increased situational awareness for the pilot/operator as well as increased safety during terminal operations.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: UAS, RPA, terminal area, sense and avoid, airspace integration, deconfliction, terminal airspace, unmanned aircraft, SAA, GBSAA


AF161-066
TITLE: Rapid and Reliable Identification of Counterfeit Electronic Components


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and implement new methods for rapid and reliable forensic investigation and identification of counterfeit electronic components.

DESCRIPTION: Among the most serious and urgent issues for the defense and intelligence communities are the presence in the supply chain of counterfeit electronic components, some of which are used in mission-critical applications. Despite numerous concepts and strategies to reliably detect these components that have been pursued, a proven, practical and streamlined solution to the problem still remains elusive.

In general, methodologies exclusively based on electrical characterization lack the required throughput, while those mainly relying on visual screens typically fail to provide the required level of certainty. Moreover, other technologies that have involved embedding features within the component to prove its authenticity when interrogated tend to reduce component performance. This topic, thus, seeks new innovative methods to identify counterfeit electronic components that would overcome the limitations of prior and current methods. The selection of methodologies should result in: a) high confidence in identification of counterfeits; b) low capital equipment and operational costs; and c) high throughput.

PHASE I: Identify one or more concepts or approaches to identify counterfeit components, and compare the attributes of the approaches with existing methods and capabilities. Down-select a subset of the approaches and show a rudimentary proof of concept on one or more case studies. Approaches should be focused on, but not limited to, identification of counterfeit integrated
circuits/circuit boards.

PHASE II: Further develop the chosen concept and demonstrate its practicality in a prototype trial, and optimize the technology from the aspects of speed of use, accuracy, versatility, cost, deployability, and minimal adverse effect on the components future performance.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military and other industries are similarly affected. Auto industry, commercial aircraft manufacturers; domestic retail would benefit from being able to weed out counterfeit parts quickly and accurately.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: counterfeit electronics, forensic technology


AF161-067
TITLE: High-Performance Body Armor-Integrated, Multifunctional Batteries for Dismounted Soldier


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a high performance (greater than 200 Wh/kg), fail-safe, multifunctional battery integrated into small arms protective insert (SAPI) hard body armor plate for improved weight reduction on the dismounted soldier.

DESCRIPTION: This project supports multiple key performance parameter (KPP) and key system attribute (KSA) requirements from the battlefield air operations (BAO) kit's capability description document (CDD), with a focus on providing AFSOC battlefield airmen (BA) with improved power sources for dismounted missions. A significant number of military assets, including multiple types of soldier-worn systems, rely heavily on power provided by rechargeable batteries. As the capabilities of these systems increase, there is an ever-increasing need for batteries with more electrical energy/power. Along with the increasing need for additional batteries to support these growing energy demands comes added weight and mounting space limits and restricted body movement for the dismounted soldier. The BA can carry in excess of 30 lbs. of batteries, including BB-2590s, to support a single mission. The DoD is currently developing conformal batteries that seek to address the space limitations and operator ergonomics, but which offer reduced ballistics protection when combined with soft armor kevlar packaging that has limited stopping protection. Instead, the BA opt to use Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates because of their greater ballistics protection. To further enhance the safety and protection of the warfighter, while seeking to provide further advancements in weight and space reduction without sacrificing energy storage, a more closely coupled solution is needed.

An approach to meet this need is to design the rechargeable multifunctional battery (MFB) so that it becomes inserted and part of the hard SAPI body armor plates which provides the ballistics protection. The batteries developed under this topic are expected to have shape-conformal characteristics or embedded into the body armor plating, with the design allowing the battery to be removable and replaced as necessary. The MFB armor shall fit within the existing integrated SAPI pockets within the plate carriers used by BA without customization. In addition, the safety characteristics shall be of utmost concern as this is a body-worn device, and shall include temperature control and fail-safe capabilities should a ballistics event occur.

A safe and reliable charge/discharge capability shall be included with the battery design. The MFB should be designed as a high performance energy storage module, providing a specific energy density greater than 200 Wh/kg and power density greater than 300 W/kg. Successful demonstration will show a significant weight and space reduction on the soldier.

Global environmental conditions must be considered, operating under a wide temperature range (-30 to +60 degrees C) and humidity conditions (0 to 100 percent). Please note this topic is focused on development of a safe multifunctional battery, as well as the detachable integration with a hard SAPI body armor, not development on new hard SAPI body armor. The technology should be applicable for use with new or existing hard SAPI body armor plates in Air Force and DoD inventory. Integration with the side or back SAPI plates shall be explored in the design. The connector type shall be the same as the BB-2590 since this is a potential replacement technology (i.e., female floating type per U.S. Army DWG # SC-C-179495), and battery technology compatible with new or existing BA power manager devices.

PHASE I: Design armored MFB that can provide high-performance (200 Wh/kg) ballistics protection. Define performance parameters/integration constraints. Demonstrate feasibility that the system has sufficient fail-safe capabilities, structural robustness, and energy/power efficiency to meet design metrics.

PHASE II: Develop prototype MFBs with a focus on integration and packaging as a multifunctional body armor battery. Optimize the technology for weight, volume, reliability and ruggedization supporting dismounted BA operations in the specified environmental conditions. Demonstrate and validate the ability to meet required performance and safety metrics. Ballistic testing shall be performed in accordance with MIL-STD-3027. Prototype batteries shall be delivered at conclusion of effort to TPOC for analysis.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop pre-production product capable of use with current BA electrical equipment and plate carriers. The multifunctional battery shall successfully pass MIL-STD testing (e.g., high/low temperature, water immersion), demonstrating sufficient safety and technology readiness level for transition.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: fail-safe multifunctional battery, battlefield airmen, ballistics protection, body conformal armor, safety


AF161-068
TITLE: High-Temperature Electric Wires


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop electrical conductor that has >50% higher electrical conductivity per mass than comparably rated copper (Cu) or aluminum (Al) wires, with improved operability at higher temperatures (~500 to 600 degrees F) and superior mechanical properties.

DESCRIPTION: Electric wires and cables constitute by far the largest weight portion of aircraft electrical power systems, as well as a large fraction of an entire aircraft weight. Development of lighter weight conductors could substantially reduce this weight to improve aircraft performance. There may also be interest in improving performance at higher operation temperatures of 500 degrees F (for legacy aircraft) and up to 600 degrees F, since these temperatures can be typical for enclosed environments.

Traditional Cu or Al conductors may have limitations for some applications, such as very poor cycling fatigue and greater than 100 percent lower electrical conductivity as the operation temperature increases to greater than 400 degrees F. However, recent development of carbon-based conductors have shown promise and superior properties to Cu or Al, and especially up to 80 percent higher electrical conductivity at temperatures of 200-400 degrees F, and greatly superior mechanical properties[1-4]. Short length samples of 4-5 layer graphene doped with FeCl3 have achieved electrical conductivities approx. 9x10^7 S/m which is almost to the level predicted by theory (approx. 1x10^8 S/m) and 50 percent higher than Cu, while being 4.5x lighter than Cu [1]. These properties were reduced for longer piece length, e.g., four-layer graphene conductors have been manufactured in 100-meter lengths with electrical conductivity approx. 3x10^7 S/m which is almost the same as for Al, however is still about 30 percent lighter than Al [2]. In another approach, carbon-nanotube (CNT) forests were metalized with approx. 40-50 Vol% of Cu layers, and the composite conductivity-per-mass was 30-40 percent higher than Cu at room temperature and greater than 100 percent higher at approx. 200-400 degrees F[3]. Properties of CNTs are improving every year, however the electrical conductivities are still about 7-8x lower than Cu[4]. These approaches are providing impressive properties in lab-scale samples, however must also be achieved in conductors for km-lengths and high cross-section areas, to enable transmission of higher currents of up to 200 amps. Other approaches are of interest, if they can achieve improved properties. For any approach proposed, the technical and scientific issues of mechanically handling and bundling ultra-small or ultrathin conductors into high-amperage conductors can be a significant difficulty which must be addressed.

In addition to electrical conductivity, new conductors must have other useful properties, including high strength, pliability, and very low alternating current (ac) loss characteristics at low and high frequencies are desired for some applications. Successful concepts must ensure that wires are reliable and rugged enough for challenging environments and issues from prolonged use such as corrosion, wear and tear caused by chafing, wire fatigue, vibrations, rough handling, and other factors. Safety/health issues such as arc fires during failure are also important. Also, volume density must be considered, as a non-traditional wire could be lighter with equal resistivity but have larger diameter or cross section compared to Cu, which can increase the electrical insulation coating weight and support structures on aircraft such as conduit housings. For this topic, wire conductors less than 200 amps are of interest.

Demonstrate feasibility to deliver wire products with the best combined properties for Air Force applications. Properties of interest include temperature dependent electrical conductivity, flexibility, mechanical strength, conductor stability over time, wire fatigue, maintainability, and affordable life-cycle acquisition cost for present or eventual prototype-scale manufacturing. Teaming/collaboration with prime contractors/OEMs is encouraged to facilitate transition.

PHASE I: Using lab-scale processes, make samples of novel conductors less than 200 A and length at least 10 cm length that have higher mass-specific electrical conductivity than Cu or Al wire. Develop suitable metric and methods of measurements for reliable and objective comparison of the novel conductors to standard metal conductors (Cu, Al). Develop business case/transition plan.

PHASE II: Design and fabricate prototype-scale equipment for long-length conductor manufacturing, and provide deliverables of conductors 1-10 meters long rated for current in the range less than 200 amps. Evaluate properties such as mechanical, uniformity as a function of length, fatigue and time-stability of such conductors, and determine whether they can meet military specifications. Refine business case/transition plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A multitude of aerospace vehicles will benefit from reliable, light-weight conductors that will improve fuel efficiency and increase payload capability. Other potential civilian users include law enforcement, rescue crews, and others who typically have to carry electronic equipment to do their jobs.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: electrical conductor, electrical conductivity, carbon nanotube, graphene, multilayer graphene, graphene composite, electrical power systems, power transmission wire, power transmission cable, joint strike fighter, lightweight, mass specific, high temperature


AF161-069
TITLE: Physics-based airframe stress calculations at flow-separation dominated flight conditions for aircraft operational clearance, life prediction and inspection scheduling


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: More accurately predict performance, remaining life and inspection intervals for an aircraft by converting actual usage data at flow-separation dominated flight conditions into stresses on the structure via physics-based, aeroservoelastic simulations

DESCRIPTION: The process of determining initial or remaining aircraft structure life has not significantly changed in 50 years. It is still a highly manual and labor intensive process, individual steps are not easily integrated together, and the advantages of high performance computing have not been fully utilized. Recently, the Air Force Research Laboratory has produced a long-term vision, called Airframe Digital Twin[1], that is beginning to address these issues. This project will be one of the crucial early steps toward the Airframe Digital Twin vision.

Several twin-tail fighter aircraft (past and present) have been angle-of-attack (AoA) limited in their early operational stages, due to either narrow- or broad-band buffet loads excitation on the vertical tails. Due to highly separated flows at larger AoAs, buffet loads require a Navier-Stokes fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation for the steady-state loads, followed by an Euler fidelity CFD simulation for the dynamic loads. In addition, many U.S. military aircraft (e.g., F-16, F-15, C-5, and A-10) are reaching or are already beyond their originally designed, fatigue lives. To identify their residual fatigue life or extend their fatigue life by retrofit, accurate loads spectra to perform fatigue analyses or ground fatigue tests on these aircraft is required. Physics-based models of crack formation and growth are also required, since empirical models based on a large database of historical crack formation and growth are helpful in detecting cracks, but lack understanding of, and insight to, the physics of how cracks are formed.

Aircraft life prediction and inspection intervals have traditionally been generated using empirical models applied to a single, standard aircraft usage profile for the entire fleet. These models are expensive to generate and update. The transition from event-based to real-time flight data recorders on individual fleet members provides Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) managers with powerful new information to transition to individual life predictions and inspection intervals. However, ASIP managers currently lack a toolset and process to re-evaluate life and inspection intervals for an individual aircraft, flown by a unique pilot, carrying a particular payload configuration, and burning fuel throughout.

This toolset and process should receive the recorded flight data (e.g., aircraft states, control surface deflections, fuel level, stores configuration) as inputs. The real-time aeroservoelastic simulation must be physics based and capable of incorporating variation in pilot, vehicle mass/inertia, manufacture, and repair history. The process should produce an updated life prediction and inspection interval based on damage tolerance analysis which utilizes the more realistic and accurate dynamic loadings obtained from simulation.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility for quantifying the impact of dynamic aeroelastic loads at flow-separation dominated flight conditions. The dynamic loads include both 1) surface pressures on the air vehicle and 2) big bone/component loads such as wing root bending. This task can be accomplished with a finite element model and an aerodynamics model derived from an outer moldline. Develop transition plan.

PHASE II: Integrate the capability developed in Phase I into a relevant 6-DOF vehicle simulation environment. Identify critical maneuvers/flight conditions via enhanced 6-DOF simulation and application of the resulting loads spectra to the air vehicle finite element model (AV FEM). Identify critical stress regions within the AV FEM. Establish correlation between these global hot spots and an individual structural component (e.g., vertical tail component) damage tolerance model. Refine transition plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The resulting capability has applications in both 1) prototype development activities and 2) service life extension programs.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: aircraft life prediction, aircraft usage, aeroservoelasticity, aircraft structural integrity program, structural dynamics, aircraft aging, aircraft loads, fatigue life, recorded flight data


AF161-070
TITLE: Advanced Circuit Technologies for Reliable, Low-Cost, High-Temperature Electronic Controls


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop conceptual designs and approaches that reduce the cost and increase the reliability of printed wiring boards (PWBs) and circuit subassemblies used for high-temperature electronic control assemblies in aerospace and engine applications.

DESCRIPTION: The thermal environment for advanced turbine engine controls, with ongoing capability improvements, is becoming more severe. High-speed propulsion, distributed power, and integrated high-power systems in development pose a difficult thermal challenge for electronic controls. Commercial wind power turbines, hybrid electric automotive, and integrated industrial motor component controls also face increasing thermal challenges. Research in high-temperature integrated circuits and discreet semiconductor devices that operate at 225 degrees C silicon on insulator (SOI) and up to 300 degrees C (SiC) are maturing in terms of capability and reliability for aerospace and commercial alternative energy and power control applications. However, significant challenges to future implementation of high temperature electronics into new designs are subsystem are circuit board materials, fabrication, packaging and passive devices issues that result in high cost, low reliability, and poor durability of the system. State-of-the-art (SOA) electronics employ PWBs that are fabricated with 130 degrees C glass-epoxy materials, eutectic solders, and lead free solders. Higher temperature 250 degrees C polyimide PWBs are not completely viable due to high moisture absorption. Operation at 225 degrees C and above stretches the ability of the materials, assembly, and passive components to perform reliably over expected military system lifetimes. Above 225 degrees C, non-standard alloys and materials are required. SOA PWB fabrication for advanced 85 to 100 degrees C electronics depends on surface mount technology (SMT). Use of large area through-hole component fabrication, large semiconductor packages, and ceramic PWBs for higher temperatures are current methodologies with acceptable performance, but have exceptionally high cost and potential reliability issues in the military environment. Advancements in using high and low temperature co-fired ceramics are technologies that offer potential for electronic PWBs. Passive methods that improve thermal stability are a technology that can also address high-temperature electronics. Recent developments in solder less technology, additive manufacturing, and understanding of new material systems for electronic packaging will enable new approaches to reduce the cost and improve the reliability of high temperature electronics used in relatively low volume military applications. Investigation of approaches such as Occam (developed in 2007) can eliminate problematic solder interconnections, simplify routing designs, and improve thermal performance to achieve high reliability and cost-effectiveness. Investigation of new materials, features, passive components, and additive manufacturing (AM) techniques is appropriate. Investigation of components and assembly techniques that can accommodate polymer, metal, and ceramic materials in building a solderless PWB assembly that employs high temperature materials in a cost-effective manner compared with conventional fully ceramic or hybrid (ceramic filled polymer) PWBs is desired. Use of AM techniques in the process offer advantages in low volume military applications. The developed techniques must be applicable to high temperature semiconductor devices/components, such as SOI and SiC that operate at 225 degrees C junction temperatures or above. Accommodation of vibration and cyclic temperature excursions must be considered in the approach as well as the ability to outperform exiting SMT and TH approaches in the temperature and vibration environment. Teaming/collaboration with OEMs/prime contractors in order to facilitate transition.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility of applying advanced materials, components, and PWB assembly techniques to design, modeling, and fabrication of high temp PWBs for electronic controls technology including FADEC, fuel control, and aircraft power converter/control. Evaluate the improvements over the current SOA. Develop transition plan/business case analysis.

PHASE II: Develop a fully functional high temperature printed circuit board assembly with high-temperature semiconductors, passive components and related materials. Select a relevant aircraft or engine component such as the FADEC, inverter/converter control, or fuel control system. Demonstrate the technology in a relevant engine/aircraft rig under suitable environmental conditions. Refine transition plan/business case analysis.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Fabricate ground engine test electronic hardware for demonstration in relevant turbine engines or other aerospace vehicle application.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: printed circuit boards, high-temperature PWB, solderless connectors, high-temperature laminates, high-temperature solders, PWB


AF161-071
TITLE: High-Speed Measurements of Flame-Stabilization Processes in Vitiated Augmentor Environments for Understanding Screech, Rumble, and Blowoff


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a high-repetition rate technique to measure velocity fields (three-velocity components and all nine-strain rate components) in bluff-body flames with sufficient temporal and spatial resolution for understanding flame stabilization processes.

DESCRIPTION: Combustion instabilities such as screech[1-3], rumble[1-3], and blowoff[4] are critical engineering challenges in augmentor design and operation. These transient processes are coupled sensitively to the flame anchoring physics which can be controlled by flame-propagation or auto-ignition[5]. There is currently minimal understanding of the coupling of these two critical combustion mechanisms which may be a sensitive function of augmentor operating conditions particularly during intermittent transient events such as ignition, transition to screech, or blowoff. Furthermore, predictive modeling and simulation of these events require detailed understanding of the localized flame anchoring physics. Currently, quantitative high-speed measurement techniques for capturing flame anchoring processes have insufficient spatial resolution and dimensionality for fully capturing the temporally and spatially evolving processes. Therefore, augmentor design practices, operability, and sustainability will benefit significantly from advances in high-resolution measurement capabilities for quantifying flame anchoring mechanisms.

In particular, it has been shown that flame propagation is dependent on the velocity field in the vicinity of the flame, the fluid dynamic strain-rate, and the dynamics of turbulence. In addition to the velocity field, the proposed effort will require spatial and temporal determination of the fluid dynamic strain-rate tensor, which necessitates measuring how all three-velocity components vary in all three spatial dimensions. The proposed effort should develop and apply a technique for high-speed measurements of the three dimensional, three-component velocity field (3D3C). For small measurement volumes, tomographic particle image velocimetry (PIV) is well suited for this measurement[6]. However, for larger domains (> 10 mm per side) sufficient illumination of the measurement volume becomes challenging while the smallest resolvable spatial scales are severely limited at the high repetition rates required (10 to 100 kHz). Stereoscopic PIV provides a planar measurement of the three-component velocity field, but cannot capture the out of plane velocity derivatives required in this effort. Other velocimetry techniques could be employed including “seedless” measurements such as molecular tagging velocimetry although extension to three dimensions and three components is required. However, the proposed technique must be capable of implementation in time-varying combusting flows without influencing the flame physics[7].

The proposed technique should be demonstrated in a vitiated augmentor combustion rig of practical interest (2200-3500 F), with spatio-temporally resolved measurements of the three-component velocity vector field. Accurate resolution of relevant temporal and spatial scales must be demonstrated for understanding the influence of flame anchoring physics on transient augmentor processes including blowoff, screech, and rumble. These measurements will lead to a physics-based understanding of dominant flame stabilization modes over a range of operating conditions. The results of this program will be an improvement to the diagnostics available for such measurements, and flame anchoring physics analyses that would be valuable to augmentor designers for enhancing operability, reliability, and sustainability.

Teaming/collaboration with a prime contractor/original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is encouraged to facilitate transition.

PHASE I: Demonstrate three-dimensional, three-component velocity measurements (3D3C) in an atmospheric-pressure lab-scale reacting flow (2200-3500 F). Demonstrate sufficient temporal and spatial resolution and dimensionality for quantifying the influence of flame anchoring mechanisms on transient processes including blowoff, screech, and rumble. Develop business case/transition plan.

PHASE II: Further develop and apply the technology demonstration in Phase I to a vitiated bluff-body stabilized flame test rig of practical interest and relevance to augmentors. Develop, apply, and deliver hardware and advanced physics-based data analysis tools for understanding screech, rumble and blowoff in vitiated augmentor environments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: High-repetition-rate measurement technologies demonstrated herein can be used in development and procurement programs for the collection of high-quality quantitative data for validation of design, operation, and performance of gas-turbine augmentors, combustors, and turbine test facilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: thermoacoustic instabilities, lean blowoff, tomographic particle image velocimetry, high-speed combustion diagnostics


AF161-072
TITLE: Structurally Embedded Heat Exchanger


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate feasibility of combining a heat exchanger and structural wall of an aircraft propulsion inlet, fan and/or auxiliary fan stream case to reduce overall system weight and cold flow pressure losses while satisfying cooling requirements.

DESCRIPTION: Ongoing efforts are taking place to improve aircraft propulsion system performance with goals such as decreased fuel consumption, longer range and/or sustained high-speed flight. To accomplish these goals, higher turbine temperatures and rotating shaft speeds, among other things, are necessary to reach required cycle efficiencies and thrust-to-weight ratios. To obtain the necessary high temperatures, cooling of turbine blades beyond internal blade cooling is often required to maintain structural integrity. An approach to accomplish this is to provide cooled cooling air (CCA) into the first few stages of the high-pressure turbine (HPT). To provide the cooling air for the HPT, CCA system heat exchangers are employed. Temperature control of various subsystems for both the propulsion system and aircraft are also prevalent within air platforms, most of which utilize heat exchangers. The potential for providing heat exchangers for the aircraft’s power and thermal management system (PTMS) within the engine’s fan and/or auxiliary fan stream opens opportunities for increased cooing capability beyond current systems.

Available space for various accessories for both the aircraft and propulsion system is typically at a premium. In addition, the weight of the accessories often comes at a penalty to system weight goals. Great measures are taken to find ways to reduce both size and weight, while providing the desired performance. Heat exchangers typically attached to or within the engine, are no exception. As there are numerous heat exchangers (e.g., air/air, fuel/air and fuel/oil) associated with the propulsion system and aircraft, reductions in weight can lead to overall system weight reduction. One potential approach to accomplishing this is to combine a heat exchanger(s) with the engine structure. This means that the heat exchanger becomes a structural member and provides the heat transfer necessary to meet cooling requirements in the range of 30kW to 1mW, material temperatures range from 300 to 1600 degrees F and pressure losses of less than five to ten percent. To become a structural member, the heat exchanger must be able to withstand structural loads, thermal and structural stresses, cycle fatigue, life, pressures, and temperatures required of typical engine casing. The design must also cost effectively address reliability, maintainability and safety. Material selection will be a key factor in the heat exchanger design, both structurally and manufacturability, in addition to having the appropriate heat transfer characteristics, such as thermal conductivity, fluid compatibility and similar coefficient of thermal expansion as the surrounding structure material. From a heat exchanger performance viewpoint, having high volumetric effectiveness and appropriate level of heat rejection capability will be paramount. Other performance factors that come into play are surface area, heat transfer coefficients, flow rates and pressure losses that meet cooling requirements, as a minimum. Additional considerations for heat exchanger design to be considered, but not limited to are, overall effectiveness, attachment mechanisms, plumbing connections, accessibility, maintainability, reliability, repairability, manufacturability, and cost. Potential risks and mitigation approaches should be identified.

Coordination and/or partnership with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), first tier subsystem company and/or weapons system company (WSC) in order to gain insight into realistic operational requirements (such as heat transfer medium(s), flow rates, temperatures, pressures, effectiveness, structural requirements, life, reliability, etc.) and constraints (size, weight, costs, potential installation locations, attachment methods, material compatibility, etc.) is highly encouraged.

PHASE I: Determine feasibility of an aircraft propulsion inlet, fan duct, and/or third stream fan case structurally embedded heat exchanger. As a minimum, identification of design features and properties (materials, structural needs, etc.) are an expected outcome. Develop business case/transition plan, and preliminary design with analytical details describing path forward.

PHASE I: Determine feasibility of an aircraft propulsion inlet, fan duct, and/or third stream fan case structurally embedded heat exchanger. As a minimum, identification of design features and properties (materials, structural needs, etc.) are an expected outcome. Develop business case/transition plan, and preliminary design with analytical details describing path forward.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military application: Weapon systems that currently have propulsion system fan duct heat exchangers, and new weapon systems needing additional vehicle, subsystem and/or propulsion system cooling. Commercial application: Commercial aircraft, trucks and/or autos needing more cooling with little space.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: heat exchanger, thermal management, aircraft propulsion system, power and thermal management, structure, material, weight savings, temperature, pressure loss


AF161-073
TITLE: Online Chemical Diagnostics for Fuel System Flows


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Develop diagnostic techniques and analytical instrumentation capable of characterizing the changing chemical composition of flowing jet fuels in thermally stressed environments representative of next-generation aircraft energy management systems.

DESCRIPTION: In advanced high-performance military aircraft, the fuel not only serves as the source of energy for the combustion process, but also serves as the primary coolant for all on-board heat sources. As such, the fuel can experience heat loads and temperatures that result in oxidative, or under extreme conditions, pyrolytic decomposition. Such conditions result in compositional changes to the fuel and in the formation of gums, tars, and soot, all of which can lead to system degradation and poor performance, increase maintenance costs, and reduced system availability directly impacting force readiness. As one of the primary tools for fuel chemistry research and technology demonstration, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, has been operating an Advanced Reduced Scale Fuel System Simulator (ARSFSS). As the name suggests, this rig simulates the engine and airframe fuel systems for an advanced aircraft. The ARSFSS is currently configured to simulate an advanced military fighter-type aircraft at 1/72 scale. The ARSFSS is a unique system that permits evaluation of fuels and additives under real-world aircraft operational conditions. Not only is the ARSFSS capable of realistically simulating the flow, temperature, pressure and residence time profiles for a real aircraft fuel system, but it is capable of imposing these conditions on system hardware in real time with changes to flow, pressure, and temperature conditions following a pre-established mission profile. In this way, the ARSFSS can "fly" missions sequentially over time.

The Air Force is interested in new, novel, and advanced diagnostics and instrumentation that can measure the compositional properties of aviation fuels under the real world conditions utilized in the ARSFSS rig or in actual modern high-performance military aircraft. Specifically, the diagnostic methods and instrumentation developed under this topic should measure the composition or specification of thermally-stressed kerosene-based fuels flowing through the rig or through an aircraft fuel system at elevated temperatures and pressures, and be capable of identifying relative changes in the fuel chemical composition as a function of time and/or temperature.

The current state-of-the-art (SOTA) for fuel composition measurement utilizes a wide variety of analytical techniques for detection of bulk and trace species. Specific organic molecules (e.g., n-octane, cyclooctane, 2-methyl-heptane) in the bulk are often identified via chromatography and/or mass spectrometry, while classes of organic compounds (e.g., alkanes, alkenes, aromatics) can be measured with vibrational spectroscopy (infrared or Raman) via the detection of characteristic functional groups. Trace species, such as metals and dissolved O2, are frequently detected using electrochemical sensors. Metals can also be detected via atomic absorption- or emission-based measurements. These analytical techniques have reached a high level of maturity for bench-level chemical analysis.

To go beyond the SOTA requires methods, diagnostics, or instrumentation capable of functioning in a high-temperature, high-pressure, flowing, chemically reacting environment. This is difficult for two reasons. First, while many analytical techniques are available off-the-shelf, this topic is only interested in methods that are adapted to make measurements in or from the harsh, high-temperature, high-pressure environment represented in the ARSFSS. Second, comprehensive characterization of fuel composition can involve compounds (or classes of compounds) that are present in large concentration, as well as, trace impurities (or classes of impurities) that drive important chemistry upon thermal stressing. Examples of the latter include oxygenates formed from dissolved O2, reactive sulfur-containing compounds, and dissolved metals. No single analytical method may be sufficient to track both bulk composition and the various trace impurities. Nevertheless, bulk and trace species are both of interest.

While not the only application for the desired technologies, the ARSFSS provides an excellent test-bed environment with realistic fuel system conditions that should be targeted in the research and development process. Specifically, nominal conditions for the fuel flow are: 15-170 lb/hr flow rate through 1/4 inch OD and 3/8 inch OD tubing, at fuel temperatures between 250-500 degrees F, and with pressures between 400-500 psia. Note: experiments are initiated with fuel temperatures near ambient with such conditions potentially serving as baseline conditions. Measurements should not change the composition or properties of the main fuel flow. However, diversion of a very small fraction of the flow (0.1 percent of the total) for sampling could be considered. Solutions that rely upon optical access to the flowing fuel are also acceptable provided that the optical interface developed is compatible with the nominal operating conditions of the ARSFSS as noted above. Desired time resolution for the measurements is one fuel composition measurement per minute or faster.

At this stage of research and development, size and mass of the diagnostic system is not a critical parameter; however, future application to actual aircraft systems will have strict size and weight requirements. Technologies that have no chance of miniaturization, while not excluded, will be considered less likely to support long range goals.

Offerors may request to participate in the installation and/or demonstration of prototype hardware in the ARSFSS located at Wright-Patterson AFB. The installation and demonstration of prototype hardware in the ARSFSS will be facilitated by AFRL personnel, and there is no charge to proposers for ARSFSS operations during the Phase II effort.

PHASE I: Phase I is a proof of concept demonstration of advanced diagnostic techniques and analytical instrumentation to measure the composition or specification of thermally-stressed kerosene-based fuels. Demonstration of the concept at elevated temperatures and pressures that are relevant to next generation air platforms is expected (e.g., fuel flows at 250 to 500 degrees F and 400 to 500 psia).

PHASE II: Phase II is a further development with a prototype demonstration of the diagnostic under realistic ARSFSS or high-performance military aircraft fuel system conditions. Deliverables include the instrumentation developed, schematics, operating manuals and instructions, and report documentation for the overall research effort. Demonstration of the prototype’s capabilities in other areas of application that suggest successful application within an aircraft fuel system would be considered.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III is a full-scale prototype demonstration of the advanced diagnostic techniques and analytical instrumentation. Ground demonstration of the full scale prototype in a Government/industry facility that is used to research and develop aircraft subsystem components is expected.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: fuels, thermal management, diagnostics, online, composition


AF161-074
TITLE: Durable Pre-cooling Heat Exchangers for High Mach Flight


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Enable turbomachinery operation in excess of Mach 4 by pre-cooling the incoming air. Utilize modern materials, manufacturing, and design processes to design a durable pre-cooling heat exchanger.

DESCRIPTION: Throughout the past 50 years, there have been multiple efforts to develop a single air-breathing engine that is capable of thrust from takeoff up to Mach 4 speeds and faster. A major challenge in developing this capability is the hot air that is ingested at high Mach speeds. There have been attempts dating back to the 1960s to solve this problem by using a pre-cooler heat exchanger in front of the air compressor face to reduce the temperature of the incoming air. It is expected that high Mach flight will be growing in importance for the Air Force to execute its five core missions and that precooled propulsion could be an enabler for new platform capabilities. The objective of this topic is to mature the technology for a lightweight and compact pre-cooler heat exchanger for high Mach propulsion that uses turbomachinery.

No pre-cooling heat exchanger has ever been flown. The biggest difficulty is getting the heat exchanger light weight and compact enough to be practical for flight. In many industries, modern manufacturing has allowed for lighter weight components and unique geometries to be built. This topic will leverage modern manufacturing techniques (e.g., additive manufacturing, friction stir welding, C&C milling, etc.) to develop a pre-cooler heat exchanger that is practical to be used in a propulsion system on a high Mach flight system. At the end of the Phase II, it is expected to fabricate a scaled prototype of the heat exchanger and conduct initial evaluation testing. Throughout this topic, it is important to address thermal integration for the necessary systems involving the heat exchanger.

Important attributes of pre-cooler heat exchangers (of roughly equal importance) that need to be addressed include durability, affordability, ability to integrate with propulsion and flight systems, scalability, manufacturability, impact on ground operations, material and manufacturing maturity, amount of pressure drop across the heat exchanger, and maintainability. The pre-cooler should be able to cool incoming freestream air to about 500 degrees F or cooler for flight conditions at altitudes above 55,000 feet. It is also expected the heat exchanger to be developed will have a specific power of at least 15kW/lbm.

Both Phase I and Phase II will consist of an appropriate level of design and systems engineering efforts to understand what it will take to fully develop the proposed solution. These efforts should address all issues but focus on the demonstrations that will be performed in Phase II. Modeling of the heat exchanger’s performance and its integration is needed throughout both phases to understand its potential. Recommend developing one or more reference vehicle platform designs for one or more Air Force core missions to show how the heat exchanger could enable that capability.

A letter of endorsement from a Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) participant is highly encouraged.

Commercialization of the pre-cooler heat exchanger involves integration of the pre-cooler into high-speed propulsion systems for DoD and/or commercial needs such as point to point cargo and access to space. Commercialization of the heat exchanger can also be used for propulsion thermal management and terrestrial applications.

Remote access to the DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) to cleared personnel will be made available if needed.

PHASE I: Conduct initial design of the pre-cooler heat exchanger with an emphasis on its integration and manufacturing. Based on higher level platform requirements, derive requirements for the heat exchanger components that have early verification and validation. Develop plans for the Phase II fabrication and testing.

PHASE II: Fabricate a scaled prototype of the heat exchanger utilizing the proposed manufacturing approach. Conduct testing in a relevant laboratory environment. Develop and validate performance and lifting models based on the testing. Utilize this information to increase the understanding of how the heat exchanger integrates into a platform or platforms.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III will focus on maturing the heat exchanger and beginning to integrate it into a full propulsion system and a vehicle platform. Additional Phase III activities can consist of applying the heat exchanger and its manufacturing to other defense and commercial domains.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: high mach, precooling, precooler, heat exchanger, thermal, materials, manufacturing, design, propulsion, hypersonic


AF161-075
TITLE: Automated Synthesis of Propulsion-Power-Thermal Architectures


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Establish a methodology to synthesize innovative architectures to explore and evaluate the full design space of next-generation aerospace propulsion systems. This methodology should highly integrate propulsion, power, and thermal components.

DESCRIPTION: Next-generation military aerospace systems are difficult to design, with requirements (e.g., faster speeds, longer ranges, cost effectiveness) often driving solutions that include compromises for propulsion and vehicle systems. Propulsion architectures have historically been dominated by the traditional assumptions (e.g., turbine engine Brayton cycle). Breaking this trend and developing alternative configurations of propulsion, power, and thermal components may be essential to solve challenges and meet future flight needs. It is hypothesized that alternative configurations of propulsion, power, and thermal components can be formulated; constituting an unconventional architecture that may help solve these challenges (a simple example is inter-turbine burning). The goal of this topic is to develop a software tool to conceptually optimize a propulsion architecture minimizing user assumptions.

Other engineering disciplines, such as the electronic industry, have shown the ability to aggressively seek innovative ideas and concepts through improved architecture development as shown in Refs. 4 and 5. This topic looks to leverage modern computing resources, optimization algorithms, and modeling techniques to synthesize propulsion, power, and thermal architectures, analogous to the electronic industry. At the end of Phase II, a design and analysis software tool for engineers is expected.

Inputs to the synthesis method must include user requirements, design objectives, and constraints. These inputs include the context of the vehicle to be designed. The method should be able to sort through many different combinations of architectures and find which best meet the defined problem. The sorting process should be sufficiently broad to include architecture combinations that are infeasible. It is desired that the method developed under this topic be used in conceptual design studies for future platforms for defense and commercial applications. A main goal of these methods is to be able to search through architectures that may not be intuitive to designers. This will include trading off different architecture components (e.g., compressors, heat exchangers, etc.) and the way they are laid out. Allowing the user flexibility to define component parameters (e.g. compressor maps) is important to maximize the flexibility. Integration effects with the vehicle shape and other internal systems need to be considered. These can be based on simplified relationships but should allow the user to input additional data and relationships.

Important attributes (of roughly equal importance) of the synthesis method includes the ability to conduct automated trade studies, flexibility with defining a particular problem, portability between operating systems, ability to add in user defined models and data, ease of the graphical user interface, ability to be wrapped in modeling/design/analysis frameworks (e.g., Modelcenter, AML, etc.), and ease of interface to visualization methods.

There are many different propulsion, power, and thermal modeling tools available that could be leveraged for this topic. Some example tools are the Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS) tool and NASA’s Generalized Fluid System Simulation Program (GFSSP). These current tools require a user to define the propulsion/power/thermal architecture.

The methods developed in this topic are to be put together into a design and analysis software tool. This software should be able to run on a desktop high performance workstation and it is desired to be compatible across platforms (e.g., Windows, Linux). The software should analyze at least 10 different propulsion architectures per minute with an objective of 100 per minute (assuming 2 processors). The software needs to be designed to allow for a user with a background in aerospace propulsion to easily learn to use.

Commercialization opportunities of this topic include using the tool for aerospace design and technology development programs. Other opportunities include commercial sales of the software tool to various aerospace companies, universities, and government agency.

PHASE I: Phase I will survey user needs to develop a set of requirements for the synthesis methods. Using that information, an initial prototype of the synthesis method will be developed followed by initial testing for early requirements validation and verification. To get to an initial prototype, it is expected that some trades studies will be conducted to ensure the best approach is being used.

PHASE II: The objective of Phase II is to have a completed tool based on the developed synthesis methods. This will include using lessons learned from Phase I, further requirements refinement, and testing of the method. The contractor should work with users to develop test cases for various types of military missions.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III can consist of improvement to the synthesis methods and use of the methods in Air Force/DoD technology and concept development programs. Phase III can also consist of commercial sales of the tool developed to use in commercial aerospace propulsion development.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: architectures, propulsion, power, thermal, optimization, synthesis


AF161-076
TITLE: Probabilistic Design of Fuel Thermal Management Systems


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to accommodate the variability and uncertainty of jet fuel properties during the design of next-generation thermal management systems for tactical aircraft.

DESCRIPTION: Propulsion-integrated thermal management solutions have emerged as a primary driver within the aerospace community. The thermal management needs for next-generation air platforms are generally considered to be an order of magnitude higher than today's advanced systems, and the manner in which fuel is used as a heat sink within air platforms is expected to fundamentally change as the community moves forward.

The underlying reason for this foundational shift reflects a combination of factors that are simultaneously converging: i) at least a 10X increase in the amount of thermal energy content to actively manage; ii) thermal management system approaches that are heavily-dependent on fuels and also require fuel temperatures in excess of 300 degrees F; iii) Air Force utilization of commercial-grade fuels which have a broader specification window than military-grade fuels such as JP-8; and iv) legacy design practices that assume perfect fuels and neglect real-world fuel-to-fuel variability in fuel properties and system performance. This topic addresses factors (iii) and (iv) where current state-of-the-art (SOTA) modeling and simulation tools supporting system-level modeling and performance prediction, often utilized in performance phase-space trade studies, do not currently account for the real world variability of the jet fuel properties. To extend beyond the SOTA, this topic is interested in modeling and simulation tools that are adaptable to the system performance studies, and provide for variability in important fuel properties and performance behaviors. The fuel-to-fuel variation in constant pressure specific heat (Cp) is particularly troublesome from a thermal management perspective, as the measured variability across a range of Jet A fuel samples has been shown to exceed 15 percent. This level of variability directly translates to a 15 percent uncertainty in thermal energy transfers and/or component temperatures in fuel thermal management systems, and at the present time, the community does not account for this variability in the design process. Typical Cp values for a Jet A fuel are 2.0 kJ/kgK at 20 degrees C to 2.65 kJ/kgK at 180 degrees C (Aviation Fuel Properties, Coordinating Research Council, Inc., 1988).

The objective of this research is to accommodate the variability and uncertainty of jet fuel properties during the design of next-generation thermal management systems for tactical aircraft. The development and validation of modeling and simulation capabilities that incorporate key fuel parameters is an integral part of the research effort. Demonstration of the modeling and simulation capabilities to perform design space exploration of conceptual thermal management systems is required. Evaluation of both the static and dynamic responses of highly-integrated thermal management systems to fuel property variation is also required. The establishment of critical design parameters and guidelines for adoption within the community, and in particular the Government/industry partnership of Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE), is strongly desired.

To successfully perform the work described in this topic area, offerors may request to participate in the installation and/or demonstration of prototype hardware in the Advanced Reduced Scale Fuel Systems Simulator (ARSFSS) located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. The installation and demonstration of prototype hardware in the ARSFSS will be facilitated by Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) personnel. There is no charge for ARSFSS operations during the Phase II effort.

PHASE I: Phase I is a proof-of-concept demonstration of a modeling and simulation approach. The ability to vary any combination of fuel properties (such as constant pressure specific heat) across a range of values within, and exceeding, specification limits is required within a representative thermodynamic model of a tactical aircraft thermal management system.

PHASE II: Phase II is a validation of the modeling and simulation approach. A configuration description and experimental data for the ARSFSS will be provided during Phase II. It is expected that the modeling and simulation approach will be configured to simulate ARSFSS hardware and components, and a comparison of simulated and measured changes in fuel system performance attributable to fuel properties will be performed.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III is a validation of the modeling and simulation approach at full scale conditions for both steady state and transient/dynamic modes of operation. The utilization of government/industry facility data that is used to research and develop aircraft subsystem components is expected.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: thermal, uncertainty, probabilistic, design, fuels, high-temperature


AF161-077
TITLE: Fast Valve for Starting Hypersonic Wind Tunnels


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Develop a full-bore valve for air that is capable of opening quickly, sealing well against pressure, and with long fatigue life.

DESCRIPTION: The state of the boundary layer and where and when it transitions, can play a critical role in the survivability and controllability of hypersonic precision strike vehicles. Understanding the physics leading to transition will enable better prediction of boundary layer transition for strike vehicles. This will enhance their survivability and may also reduce the amount of thermal protection needed, thereby increasing the payload mass.

Flight tests are often prohibitively expensive, so the majority of hypersonic boundary-layer transition research is conducted in ground test facilities. To best simulate hypersonic atmospheric flight and study boundary-layer transition in an affordable manner, uniform, hypersonic flow must be established quickly. One increasingly popular design for cost-effective, high-speed, super- and hypersonic wind tunnels is a Ludwieg tube. In this type of facility, a long tube is filled with pressurized gas. This gas is typically isolated from downstream, low-pressure components by means of a burst diaphragm(s) or a valve. To initiate the high-speed flow, the diaphragm(s) is ruptured, or the valve is opened. This allows the high-pressure gas to expand through the nozzle and accelerate to the desired speed. After the gas pressure in the low-pressure end of the tunnel rises sufficiently, the high-speed flow stops and only subsonic flow continues.

Although diaphragms facilitate a rapid startup of the tunnel, they can be costly and time-consuming since a new diaphragm must be installed before each run. Several Ludwieg tubes utilize a fast plug valve design to avoid diaphragms[1-3]. In this case, a plug located near the area of minimum cross-section is used to separate the high- and low-pressure regions. To operate the tunnel, the valve is retracted. Gas flows around the plug and expands and accelerates to the desired speed in the nozzle. A significant drawback to this design is that both the plug and the support hardware shed wakes that can disturb the downstream flow. A full-bore ball valve has been used to start at least one hypersonic wind tunnel[4]. This is a viable option only because that tunnel has sufficient vacuum volume to accommodate the slow actuation of the ball valve. Starting with a slow ball valve is undesirable because it leads to flow with continuously changing conditions, rather than providing step changes in steady conditions.

This topic seeks proposals to develop a full-bore, quick-opening valve suitable for starting high-speed Ludwieg tube wind tunnels. A candidate valve should open completely in 50 ms or less, be able to seal against 600 psi air at 450 degrees F, and have a lifetime of at least 50,000 cycles. The design effort should also include a finite element analysis of the valve components to ensure proper design and stress management. Dynamic analysis of the valve opening process should be conducted to ensure that the valve opening time is adequate and that the design is structurally sound.

Additional references may be available in the SBIR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS).

PHASE I: Design and fully analyze a valve with a full bore unobstructed diameter of 10.0 inches, conforming to the above specifications. Construct a prototype and bench-test to demonstrate system operability and conformance to requirements. Deliver to the Air Force Research Laboratory for testing in its Mach-6 Ludwieg tube. The flanges should be 10-inch Class 600, and the actuator type can be whatever is desired.

PHASE II: Scale the design of the Phase I valve up to a 24-inch-diameter valve conforming to the above specifications. Analyze, fabricate, test, and deliver this valve for testing in the anticipated University of Notre Dame Mach-6 quiet wind tunnel. The flanges should be 24-inch Class 300, and the actuator should be pneumatic.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: It is anticipated that other high-speed wind tunnels will desire such valves for operations. The design would also have application to gas guns and blast testing. Additional demand may be found in the oil and gas industries where fast-closing valves can be useful for containment of explosions.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: fast valve, wind tunnel, hypersonic, full bore, quick open


AF161-078
TITLE: Integration of "Cold Atom" Technologies into Prototype for Use in Heavy Aircraft


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Design and demonstrate a prototype compact "cold atom"-based guidance system (GPS-unaided) to be used in typical Air Force heavy aircraft environments.

DESCRIPTION: The military relies heavily on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), but GPS access is easily blocked by methods such as jamming. In addition, many environments in which our military operates (inside buildings, in urban canyons, under dense foliage, underwater, and underground) have limited or no GPS access. To mitigate these issues, various technologies were evaluated. Cold Atom, recognized as a key technology in Defense Science Board’s report, “Technology and Innovation enablers for Superiority in 2030” (October 2013), showed potential in providing navigation guidance without external aids, at an accuracy greater than GPS. The Precision Inertial Navigation Systems (PINS) program developed an IMU that uses cold atom interferometry for high-precision navigation without dependence on external fixes for long periods of time. Atom interferometry involves measuring the relative acceleration and rotation of a cloud of atoms within a sensor case, with potentially far greater accuracy than today’s state-of-the-art IMUs. The remaining tasks are to ruggedize and miniaturize the system. While miniaturization is not necessary on heavy aircraft, it would provide a platform for early operation demonstration.

Cold atom uses a Bose-Einstein condensate and associated electronics to measure angular accelerations as the heart of an inertial navigation system. This is potentially useful in situations where Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals are not available or not usable. To achieve the condensate state, both physical cooling of the chamber and laser cooling of the atoms are required. Current technology is too large and too heavy for use of cold atom in aircraft. The Air Force and Navy have funded several efforts to improve and miniaturize components of the system. Note that the cold atom system must demonstrate accuracy at least equal to current GPS-aided inertial navigation systems. (Guidance accuracy includes bias instability, bias error, scale factor error, and noise.)

Example requirements are bias stability of 1 micro deg/hr, angular random walk of greater than 10 micro deg/hr^(1/2), acceleration of 10 ng/Hz^(1/2) and sizes less than 10 liter in volume. Solutions can be close to these notional requirements and trades can be performed.

PHASE I: Based on given requirements and the technologies already funded, design a cold atom system for use on heavy aircraft that will be at least as accurate as current GPS-aided inertial navigation systems. Prepare a functional diagram and identify all the interfaces. Prepare a bill of materials for the prototype device and identify the supplier of each component. Prepare a test plan for the system..

PHASE II: Build the prototype designed in Phase I. (Prototype may be developed with a representative software, but must be in a configuration that can demonstrate the operation and functionality of the key elements of the product.) Using the test plan from Phase I, show the prototype meets the requirements. Prepare a test report. Prepare a manufacturing plan and a preliminary bill of materials for an engineering unit/brass board that could be tested in one or more aircraft in a potential Phase III.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Manufacture a pilot production set of units that could be tested in one or more aircraft. Also, explore the commercial uses of cold atom for missions such as highly sensitive quantum detectors, optic clocks, and/or meeting current and future mandates from the FAA.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: cold atom


AF161-079
TITLE: Embedded Computing Cyber Testing and Assessment Methods


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop toolsets and metrics for cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluations of embedded real-time computing systems.

DESCRIPTION: The Department of Defense (DoD) continually designs, acquires, and deploys best in class, highly complex and capable embedded systems. Due to their often high cost, low-density, long development timelines, and the mission criticality of the services they may provide, DoD-embedded systems present highly attractive targets to our adversaries. As the Air Force has embraced enhanced embedded system computing capabilities, in most aspects it has become increasingly vulnerable to multiple types of cyber-attack. Recent studies have shown that legacy embedded software may not be assured to high enough degrees for its mission application. In essence, software produced has historically demonstrated significant weaknesses in (or non-existence of) security and assurance requirements, possessed vulnerable implementations, and exhibited minimal verifiability.

Current embedded system engineering focuses on functional and fault-tolerance requirements that rarely include mission assurance in a cyber-contested environment. As Stuxnet and other custom cyber exploits have proven to the embedded systems community, nations can, have, and will continue to use cyber techniques to achieve their national security objectives, to include delivering combat effects against the highest-value embedded systems.

While vast resources have been invested towards preventing or identifying intrusions and anomalous behavior within our networked enterprise architectures, comparatively little has been done to enhance the mission assurance properties of our nation’s embedded computing systems, even as they operate in increasingly cyber-contested environments. These embedded systems are subject to customized attack types for which classical signature and heuristic based malware detection approaches afford no meaningful protection. Furthermore, even less attention has been paid to the development of toolsets and metrics for cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluations of these embedded real-time computing systems. State-of-the-art techniques of embedded computing cyber testing focus on software requirements traceability, tracking and executing software test cases to ensure requirements have been satisfied. In some instances, limited amounts of automation have been employed to enhance this traceability by linking requirements to artifacts including test cases and source code. These legacy techniques are necessary but insufficient for rigorous vulnerability identification in embedded software and computing systems.

Credible and accurate methods for cyber testing and evaluation of embedded software, devices, and associated embedded computing systems are necessary to guide mitigation investments and risk management. The focus of this topic is to develop usable, provable, and repeatable toolsets and associated metrics for cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluations, within the context of embedded, real-time computing systems in a segregated classified environment. Architectural, specification, or implementation vulnerability or weakness metrics must account for not only the technological characteristics of the system but also their assessment relative to the cyber threat spectrum they face across their lifecycle. Government-furnished information (GFI) will include system-specific cyber threat assessments and details of current embedded system cyber vulnerability assessment techniques. This toolset will advance the state-of-the-art by instilling rigor in the provability, correctness, and vulnerability identification and mitigation of embedded computing applications.

Phase I demonstrations will be conducted on a commercially available prototype development board in an unclassified environment.

PHASE I: Develop a proof-of-concept for a cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluation toolset and associated metrics, within the context of a selected real-time embedded system. As a capstone deliverable, demonstrate the evaluation toolset on an embedded computing system prototype development board.

PHASE II: Mature and optimize the cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluation toolset and associated metrics developed in Phase I to an assigned DoD embedded computing system, real-time operating system, and associated mission software (items provided as GFE). As a capstone deliverable, demonstrate the evaluation toolset against the provided embedded computing environment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Utilize the toolset and metrics to conduct a cyber-security testing and vulnerability evaluation against an assigned embedded computing system. Provide toolset engineering support to a government-led RED team cyber assessment against an assigned embedded computing system.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: cyber vulnerability assessment, dynamic analysis, static analysis, binary analysis tools, software assurance, embedded system cyber security, cyber resiliency, cyber vulnerability mitigation, symbolic analysis, trace analysis


AF161-080
TITLE: Additive Manufacturing Techniques


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Identify cost effective additive manufacturing techniques sufficient to prototype and produce future components supporting current and future ICBM programs.

DESCRIPTION: Additive manufacturing (AM) is a process where parts are “printed” a single layer at a time in an additive process rather than traditional subtractive machining process. This additive process makes it easier to manufacture complex parts, especially those that have internal channels or other complex internal geometries. It also results in less material waste since material is added to parts in a near net-shape fashion rather than removed from an initial material billet as is done with milling processes. As a result significant cost savings can be achieved by reducing fabrication costs for complex parts and by reducing material waste.

The concept of additive manufacturing is not new. Historically, AM has not been used for high rate production, but has been very effective in some prototyping programs. However, it has not been until recently that the field has undergone a series of major advances in materials and manufacturing processes to the point where many fabrication machines and processes have become commercial products purchasable by most people. The drawback of most systems available today for Air Force use is that they do not produce materials and parts with satisfactory materials or material properties demanded by weapon systems.

Benefits of additive manufacturing are many fold with benefits to the DoD community. Additive manufacturing would allow for the production of spares, many of which are no longer manufactured, in a cost effective manor on an "on-demand" basis. AM also provides the ability for combined parts manufacture or the ability to include additional functionality into parts. For example, parts could be fabricated with high-Z materials to improve the radiation tolerance of the system without required add mass for shielding. Finally, parts can be fabricated as a single unit as opposed to multiple pieces/materials which require assembly. Complete single component end item manufacturing provides savings by reducing labor and materials costs while offering operational benefits by reducing maintenance through lower parts count, easier acquisition of spares, and reduced system weight.

The goal of this solicitation is to identify and develop cost effective additive manufacturing materials, processes, and techniques sufficient to prototype and produce future components supporting current and future ICBM programs. Specific areas to address for maximum future benefit include reducing the cost to manufacture structural parts, reducing the mass or fabrication cost of complex components, or creating an in-house capability for depots and maintenance personnel to manufacture spares on-demand. Also of interest are concepts for adding extra functionality to existing parts such as printed circuit boards with integrated shielding with the end goal of creating production parts which are inherently hardened without a requirement for additional external shielding to reduce parts count, material, and mass.

Regardless of the material, approach, or component proposed for improvement, the final product must meet or exceed all of the technical specifications of the current component or system i.e. structural loads, operating/survival temperature, radiation shielding, EMI/EMC, vacuum compatibility, launch/flight loads, storage requirements, etc. In addition, the proposed approach must be able to comply with the Air Force Instructions provided in the Reference Section. Demonstrating full compliance with these instructions is not required for the Phase I or II efforts, however, all materials, processes, and approaches must be compatible with these instructions.

PHASE I: During the Phase I effort, proposers shall identify current/future additive manufacturing capabilities and processes for multi-material components and/or additive materials offering RF/EMI/EMP shielding capability. Under Phase I, proposers shall develop approaches compatible with low-volume production and spare part fabrication. Hardware demos for proof-of-concept are preferred but not required.

PHASE II: Under Phase II, proposers will advance and mature concepts developed and/or demonstrated under Phase I with specific emphasis on manufacturing the identified parts, components, or subsystems. Parts produced under the Phase II will be tested for comparison to existing parts to verify they meet the same standards as the replacement parts. Hardware delivery of the additively manufactured parts/components is expected at the end of Phase II.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial: Many possible applications including printed circuit boards in electronics and structural components and spares for automobiles and aircraft. Military: Build EMP-hardened hardware substantially cheaper than currently available and provide for long terms parts availability.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: additive manufacturing, EMP, shielding, 3d printing


AF161-081
TITLE: Precision Spacecraft Instrumentation Booms


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Support communications, imaging, and space weather missions with development of medium-length, high precision spacecraft booms with compact packaging and deployment with low-cost mechanisms.

DESCRIPTION: Several technologies supporting communications, imaging, and space weather missions require dimensionally stable booms in a size and precision range currently unaddressed by off the shelf products. Low-precision booms are available in a wide range of lengths and offer favorable packing ratios. High precision booms are available up to 40 meters but require larger packaging footprints and more costly deployment mechanisms. Medium length, high precision booms that package compactly and deploy with low cost mechanisms are needed. These booms are needed to deploy and stabilize electrical field probes as part of a space weather suite or to support a tensioned phased array antenna as a compression column member. The mission applications include ionosphere characterization, global gap-filler communications, and deep space radio frequency imaging from a Low Earth Orbit small spacecraft (10-100 kg class). These boom elements are anticipated to be a significant cost to such missions. Therefore new low-complexity deployable boom concepts are needed that can be deployed reliable and repeatable on-orbit using minimal mechanisms and can be tested on the ground using straightforward approaches[1,2,3].

This opportunity is for a precision, dimensionally stable boom at least 10 meters in length that packages within a volume no larger than 10 cm x10 cm x 10 cm. The boom must include provision for multiple shielded conductors for potential tip-supported instruments. The preference is for embedded conductors, although other novel approaches are acceptable if kept to low cost and high reliability. Also very attractive if technically feasible would be including a conductor along the boom length to function as an antenna without experiencing RF interference from the boom structure. For a cantilevered configuration, all deformations including thermally-induced bending deformations must be kept within 1/10th of a degree tip deflection for temperatures plus/minus100 degrees C. Also in a cantilevered configuration, the boom should be capable of supporting tip masses up to 100 grams while maintaining a fundamental frequency over 0.5Hz. Boom performance should be compared to current state of practice using metrics such as the bending index[1]. System-level solutions are sought that include both the boom structure and the required deployment mechanisms.

PHASE I: The Phase I work should identify a boom architecture and prove the stiffness, deployment functionality, deployed precision, and estimated dimensional stability, and packaged volume feasibility of the concept. Hardware testing is encouraged. Proposers should also begin to form partnerships with payload or prime contractors that have potential to transition into military satellite systems.

PHASE II: Refine and implement design from Phase I. Conduct comprehensive testing and analysis with focus on representative environmental and deployment testing and analysis/measurement to prove stiffness, deployment functionality, deployed precision, dimensional stability, and packaged volume. Include flight qualifiable aspects to the boom design where possible. Form strong partnerships with payload or prime contractors that have potential to transition into military satellite systems.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Supply the instrument booms for military nanosatellites. The tech developed with enable low cost and low SWAP deployables on many missions Commercial: The system can be adapted for dipole antennas, antenna array structures, and instrument booms for commercial and academic nanosatellites.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: deployable booms, deployable structures, precision deployment


AF161-082
TITLE: L Band Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog Converter


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a space-qualified L-band analog-to-digital converter.

DESCRIPTION: Satcom signals are presently digitized only over the frequency channel of use. These channels are substantially narrower than the allowed frequency bandwidth. When frequency hopping is activated to prevent jamming, frequency de-hopping capability must be available at each receive terminal. The capability to digitize the entire frequency bandwidth will enable the frequency de-hopping capability to be activated at a centralized location. Frequency hopping/de-hopping capability is a critical capability that, when placed in a forward deployed unit, can jeopardize the security of the system. Analog-to-digital (A/D) converters are needed for the downlink receive ground terminals. Digital-to-analog (D/A) converters are needed for the uplink ground terminal transmitters. The dynamic range to mitigate the effects of jamming requires the Effective Number of Bits (ENOB) be 12. The A/D sampling rate should have a minimum of 2.4Gsps at 3W with a SFDR of -70dBFS. The D/A should have a 4.8Gsps minimum conversion rate at 2.5W and a broadband NRP at -15dB. The devices must meet the DoD directive for trusted manufacturing. Additionally the devices should have a path to become radiation hardened.

PHASE I: Propose and model designs for an L-band A/D converter and D/A converter to meet the performance goals mentioned in the description. Recommend a design for both an A/D and D/A converter to fabricate in Phase II, provide rationales for the recommended designs, and provide analyses to predict the A/D and D/A converter performances.

PHASE II: Fabricate and test the recommended A/D and D/A converter designs from Phase I. Reiterate the design, fabrication and test of the A/D and D/A converters, if needed, to meet performance goals.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Digitization of the full Intermediate Frequency (I/F) bandwidth will enable remote processing, eliminating potential security concerns for forward deployed units using local processing. A digitized bandwidth will result in improved data signal quality compared to present analog signals.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: digital IF, waveform, converter, A/D, intermediate frequency, time stamp, timestamp, jitter removal, carrier reconstruction


AF161-083
TITLE: GNSS Jammer Location Using Multipath Exploitation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a ground-based GNSS Jammer Location capability utilizing a single GNSS receiver capable of estimating the position of a GNSS jammer within 100 meters, and estimating jammer position within 10 meters when networked with other sensors.

DESCRIPTION: Detecting and locating Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) jammers is a vital part of navigation warfare (Navwar), comprising the major thrust of Navwar Electronic Support (ES). Effective jammer detection and location 1) enables alternative means to mitigate jamming (such as kinetic attack), 2) supports mission planning, and 3) increases situational awareness.

Although many effective techniques exist, they primarily rely on airborne equipment, using either high demand, low density assets or dedicated aircraft such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). To enhance the future Navwar capabilities of DoD, a ground-based capability that can operate in urban canyons or mountainous terrain will provide a significant improvement to overarching Navwar capability. In some cases, jammers may be deployed on mobile ground vehicles in an urban environment, making them difficult to detect and track.

Although the multiple signal replicas caused by GNSS multipath degrade position, navigation, and timing (PNT) accuracy, the effects of jammer multipath can be exploited to improve emitter localization. Some recent research postulates that a single receiver can achieve a high degree of localization accuracy. When multiple receivers are networked together, accurate tracking of a mobile jammer may be attainable.

This topic will apply multipath exploitation techniques to the problem of GNSS jammer detection and location. The capabilities of a receiver both with and without a Controlled Radiation Pattern Antenna (CRPA) should be evaluated, as well as enhancements provided by networking two or more receivers together. Expected performance in an urban canyon scenario should be evaluated, along with the required hardware and software necessary to implement multipath exploitation. For purposes of this topic, the threat is a single 100-W mobile jammer located within 10 km of the user and radiating uniformly in the horizontal plane. Furthermore, assume the mobile jammer uses blanking techniques to decrease its probability of localization.

Four alternatives should be evaluated: 1) a single GNSS receiver without a CRPA, 2) a single GNSS receiver with a CRPA, 3) two or more networked receivers without a CRPA, and 4) two or more GNSS receivers with a CRPA. For each alternative, assess the location accuracy, cost (both recurring and nonrecurring), and suitability for integrating in a ground vehicle.

Proposers should clearly indicate in their proposals what government furnished property or information are required for effort success. Requests for other-DoD contractor intellectual property will be rejected.

PHASE I: Develop multipath exploitation techniques for GNSS jammer location utilizing both a single receiver (greater than 100 m accuracy) and networked receivers (greater than 3 m accuracy). Assess the performance, cost, and suitability.

PHASE II: The selected proposer will design and build a brassboard prototype GNSS jammer locator using multipath exploitation for testing in laboratory and controlled field environments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The selected proposer will integrate a prototype GNSS jammer locator into a representative ground vehicle. Military application: GPS user equipment segment. Commercial application: Civilian (FAA) user equipment and FCC jammer/interference location.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: GPS, GNSS, anti-jam, emitter location, localization, multipath, jammer


AF161-084
TITLE: Cognitive UHF Radio for Enhanced GPS Crosslinks


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop advanced VHF/UHF inter-satellite radio network utilizing dynamic spectrum access and non-directional antennas to achieve 1-2 Mbps average data rates, providing GPS autonomous navigation and near real-time command and control (C2).

DESCRIPTION: Crosslinks have been an integral part of GPS satellites since the early days of the program. With the Block IIR satellite, the role of the GPS crosslinks expanded to include an Autonomous Navigation (Autonav) capability. By using crosslink ranging and onboard computation of ephemeris and clock states, the Block IIR satellites have the ability to maintain accuracy for a specified period of time after loss of contact with the GPS control segment. Original plans for GPS III included directional crosslinks at a much higher frequency to support new capabilities. A fully populated GPS III crosslink network would have provided control of the constellation from a single Continental United States (CONUS) ground antenna, zero age of data availability with a single upload, and near real-time command and control. Due to the high Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWAP-C) of the directional crosslinks, this capability was deferred from the first ten GPS III satellites.

The current UHF/VHF crosslinks have a few advantageous features, such as low SWAP-C and non-directional antennas that simplify the network architecture. The primary disadvantage of UHF/VHF is the crowded spectrum, where GPS is a secondary user that must operate on a non-interference basis. New techniques in cognitive radio and Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) may permit reconsideration of UHF/VHF for enhanced GPS crosslinks. Fortunately, research into utilizing the television “white space” as permitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may yield applicable techniques and technologies that can be exploited for GPS crosslinks.

This topic is focused on assessing the feasibility of enhanced UHF/VHF crosslinks for GPS using cognitive radio and DSA. The objective is to provide a 1-2 Mbps average data rate while ensuring that GPS crosslinks do not interfere with other users in the band. Using the existing crosslink antennas on GPS, the crosslink architecture should include spectrum sensing and Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) to utilize the band on a non-cooperative basis with other users of the band.

PHASE I: Create a model of existing UHF/VHF spectrum utilization in the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) environment. Develop an architecture, operational concept, and preliminary design for enhanced GPS UHF/VHF crosslinks, to include DSA technologies, network architecture, spectrum sensing, and information assurance.

PHASE II: Demonstrate enhanced UHF/VHF crosslinks with brassboard hardware and simulated interference environment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop prototype UHF/VHF crosslink payload, suitable for flight experiment testing. Commercial: Application to commercial satellites and/or terrestrial use.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: GPS, crosslinks, cognitive radio, dynamic spectrum access, UHF, VHF


AF161-085
TITLE: Improved Satellite Catalog Processing for Rapid Object Characterization


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop algorithms to enable rapid cataloging and characterization of space objects in support of space system threat indications and warning.

DESCRIPTION: Effective space control and situational awareness require continuous and accurate tracking of space objects with a limited number of sensing platforms. The Air Force Space Surveillance Network (SSN) is a critical foundation of U.S. space operations. It is a network of sensors scattered across the globe which provide both tracking and identification data on objects in Earth orbits. The SSN provides the information to the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), which has the mission to detect, track, identify, and catalog all man-made objects in Earth orbits. Approximately 500,000 individual observations are collected each day by the SSN. The SSN observations are used to maintain the satellite catalog, predict atmospheric re-entry of space objects, catalog new launches, detect satellite maneuvers, and safeguard important satellites, such as the International Space Station. Due to uncertainties in position determination and the inability to track objects continuously the problem of maintaining situational awareness of all space orbiting objects is challenging.

Improved methods to process both catalog and raw sensor data for enhanced threat indications and warning are needed. On a daily basis observed objects must be correlated with objects within the space catalog, accurately characterized, and potential threats identified. Due to orbital decay, maneuvers, and the generation of new objects there is a high degree of uncertainty in the characterization of space objects and a need exists for the timely and accurate cataloging of objects. A number of algorithmic techniques are used to correlate observed objects with catalog objects and provide catalog updates. Due to uncertainties the processing of uncorrelated targets is a time consuming and challenging problem. With the rise of multi-sensor fusion and exploitation techniques an opportunity exists for obtaining improved comprehensive and continuous space domain awareness of activities, systems, and the environment. There is growing demand for the development as well as the verification and validation of the emerging decision support algorithms and systems toward space catalog processing which will lead to enhanced situational awareness. To compound the technical challenges, any uncertainties in sensor models, object identification templates, or object motion models may cause significant degradation in the tracking accuracy of the existing state-of-the-art methods such as Joint Probabilistic Data Association Filter (Joint PDAF), Joint-Belief PDAF, and Interactive Multiple Model PDAF.

The focus of this topic solicitation is to address the problem of cataloging and processing of satellite objects with an interest in improved space event indication and warning. Improved algorithms and methodologies are sought which will improve correlation of observed objects with cataloged objects. Innovative solutions are sought for efficient filtering implementation for both cataloged and raw sensor data and determine space systems threats along with their probability of detection. Solutions which fuse observation data with intelligence community data and environmental data will be of particular interest. In addition algorithms that derive warnings from indications will be considered. Fused output should factor in confidence levels and their associated timeliness.

PHASE I: Using representative space catalog and raw sensor data develop and demonstrate a set of algorithms that would provide rapid correlation of observed objects for improved threat indications and warning. Techniques should demo improvements in uncertainty and demonstrate scalability. Demonstrate a proof-of-concept within the JSpOC Mission System (JMS) ARCADE testbed.

PHASE II: Using an array of space catalog and raw sensor data, develop and demonstrate a set of algorithms within the JMS environment that would provide rapid correlation of space threat indications and warning. Techniques should demonstrate improvements in uncertainty and demonstrate scalability. Demonstrate a robust proof-of-concept within the JMS ARCADE environment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Targeted technologies would be matured through the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Research Laboratory-led ARCADE effort.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: space catalog, space situational awareness, SPADOC


AF161-086
TITLE: Solid-State Power Amplifier Thermal Management


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop low-cost, low-mass thermal management solutions to address the high heat flux and temperature of next generation GaN power amplifiers or phased arrays.

DESCRIPTION: Current thermal management of solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) in space is limited in its ability to spread power densities from the channels of active power amplifier devices to the large area thermal radiators required for ultimate rejection of heat to space. Current power densities at the bottom of the power amplifier device can exceed 62 W/cm2 and are expected to climb to values greater than 1400 W/cm2 in the next five to six years. At these extreme heat fluxes and temperatures, it is apparent that a new generation of thermal management is required to bridge the gap between future requirements and the capabilities of our current systems.

The introduction of GaN power amplifiers affects the thermal control system from source-to-sink, and innovative tech solutions at any point in the thermal control system will be considered. GaN technology provides a number of system level benefits (e.g., reduced volume/mass) if the thermal subsystem design can take advantage of the increased operating powers and temperatures.

Future GaN power amplifier devices will operate at temperatures in excess of 150 degrees C and will exceed power densities of 1400 W/cm2 (600W over 0.635 cm x 0.635 cm). Current spacecraft thermal management systems are not currently able to handle these extreme temperatures and power densities. Traditional heat transport devices are limited to approx. 6W/cm2 and temperatures below 80 degrees C. Proposed technology solutions should seek to minimize the resultant temperature drop such that the radiator operates at peak efficiency. Due to the biquadratic nature of radiation heat transfer an increase in radiator temperature directly equates to reduced radiator volume and mass.

Proposed tech solutions shall operate in a space environment (vacuum and no gravity), as well as on Earth in any orientation with respect to gravity for ground testability. The solution must operate over the temperature range of -20 to150 degrees C and must survive a temperature range of -60 to 150 degrees C. In addition, please be sure to address the thermal induced stress on the tech solution after thermal cycles in a specific application as this will vary depending on the mission. The solution shall be a passive design, no power required to meet performance requirements.

PHASE I: Develop conceptual designs of the hardware based on preliminary analysis. Demonstrate by analysis and/or test the feasibility of such concepts and that the approach can meet all of the performance requirements stated above in the Phase II development effort.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the technology developed in Phase I. Tasks shall include, but are not limited to, a demonstration of key technical parameters that can be accomplished and a detailed performance analysis of the technology. The culmination of the Phase II effort shall be at least one prototype delivery for validation testing. Teaming with a prime contractor is highly recommended, as it speeds tech transition.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Thermal control technologies developed for use aboard DoD satellites are equally applicable for use on commercial satellites, as well as any number of terrestrial electronics.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: thermal management, thermal control, GaN power amplifiers, heat spreader, high power, space platform


AF161-087
TITLE: Algorithm Development for WFOV Mission Data Processing


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and test candidate front-end exceedance generation processing algorithms which may be employed in the mission data processing of wide field-of-view (WFOV) Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) data.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force has a WFOV program with a goal of proving out an effective ground mission data processing capability for large format sensor data. Of most importance here is real-time processing of large format image data. Relevant sensor data includes starer data in the SWIR, MWIR, SWIR-STG (see-to-ground), and MWIR-STG bands, as observed from geosynchronous orbit on a 4k x 4k focal plane recorded at less than 10 Hz frame rate. It's anticipated that mission data will be downlinked and routed to Space and Missile Systems Center's Falcon Shield algorithm research facility for processing on workstation class computing resources with available GPU acceleration. The proposer may offer to build algorithms in one or more areas of the front-end exceedance generation processing: 1) tiling and windowing, 2) noise suppression, 3) jitter suppression, 4) clutter suppression, 5) thresholding and buffering, and/or 6) exceedance formatting. Developed algorithms shall pursue real-time operation on supplied datasets. It's likely that the most successful approaches will demonstrate by direct comparison how to extend/reformulate current state-of-the-art algorithms toward more efficient computational performance when operating on large format datasets.

PHASE I: In this phase, the proposer is asked to prototype algorithms in one or more of the following areas of the front-end exceedance generation processing: 1) tiling and windowing, 2) noise suppression, 3) jitter suppression, 4) clutter suppression, 5) thresholding and buffering, and/or 6) exceedance formatting. Prototypes may be in MATLAB or any other form that can demonstrate processing potential.

PHASE II: In this phase, the algorithm(s) will be inserted into an overall architecture and tested using real-time WFOV data from the space vehicle. The contractor will program the candidate algorithm(s) in C++ to meet a government furnished API and will participate with a government team in evaluating effectiveness. Based on results, the team may choose to alter/tune the algorithm(s).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Certify and transition algorithms relevant to the operational system into the WFOV Mission Control System (MCS) to be completed in the 2021 timeframe. Adapt algorithms and market as appropriate to commercial ISR satellite operators.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: noise, jitter, clutter, starer, OPIR


AF161-088
TITLE: Integrated Code Base and High Performance Embedded Computing Tool


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop an integrated code base suite and a tool set that can generate high-performance, hardware platform-specific code.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force and the space community need a modern space processor for missions in 2020-2030 that processes large volumes of data with sophisticated algorithms. Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR), radar, hyperspectral, and hyper-temporal concepts being studied today envision real-time computer systems for signal and image processing applications. They typically require low latency and high throughput of application processing, efficient utilization of system resources (compute, memory, bandwidth), low form factors (size, weight, and power demands), affordable software costs (code size, re-use, portability) and high autonomy. The Next-Generation Space Processor study funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA has evaluated architecture trades and the Space and Missile Systems Center is currently assessing a processor developed for the National Reconnaissance Office. Translating high level algorithm descriptions written in MATLAB to high performance and hardware efficient implementation remains challenging. High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) application processing almost always requires iterative rounds of software performance optimization to attain required application latency and throughput performance. Consequently, progress has been slow and comparison between architectures has been ambiguous, and this has precluded an informed decision to commit the considerable resources needed for design, qualification, and implementation of a particular architecture. This topic requests the development of a tool that accepts C-language code for a suite of algorithms and outputs optimized code that can be compiled for a selected device. In addition to making it easy and quick to port algorithms across different platforms for comparing the performance of different architectures, the tool should also allow software developers to concentrate on algorithmic advances rather than processor architecture peculiarities. Goals of 10X productivity improvement (e.g., through high-level abstraction). Performance speed-up based on platform tuning (e.g., cache re-sizing, core availability, internal bus performance, etc.) are also desired.

PHASE I: Identify/define hardware-aware optimization capes for likely future compute architectures (e.g., RADSPEED, MAESTRO [Tilera], ARM, GPU, FPGA and X86 64). Define exemplar data sets used to V&V implementation. Establish methodologies that support rapid platform-agnostic code generation capable of efficiently mapping algorithms to platform-specific features and exploiting available optimizations.

PHASE II: Create consolidated and integrated OPIR algorithm test suite from existing constituent algorithms; map high-level MATLAB algorithm specifications to related kernel and processing functional block implementations. Demonstrate ability to generate hardware platform-aware code using the consolidated and integrated OPIR algorithm test suite, execute the generated code on one or more of the likely future computer processor hardware platforms using the representative data sets.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Space qualify selected processor in 2020 timeframe.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: processor, efficient, processing, design, tool, HPEC, OPIR


AF161-089
TITLE: Development of Flat Lens Technology


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop an ultra thin, flat lens that will focus light in the visible region, without the discontinuities imparted by a Fresnel lens.

DESCRIPTION: A flat lens focuses light by imparting an instantaneous phase shift to the light instead of working like a conventional lens by changing the distance traveled through a higher index of refraction material. Such a lens offers numerous advantages over conventional lens. It does not impart aberrations upon the light including spherical aberration, astigmatism, and coma. Additionally, wide-angle lens will not exhibit the fish-eye effect that occurs with conventional wide-angle lens. The resulting image or signal will not require complex corrective techniques. Such a lens will exhibit a large reduction in weight, greater than 90 percent depending upon the diameter and focal length. Additionally, this lighter weight lens would only need lighter weight holders, and weight savings for the holder is estimated to be greater than 50 percent. This would have a large reduction in the weight of optical and infrared sensors and would require less delta v for satellites utilizing such sensors. Fresnel Lens are a type of flat lens, but suffer from serious deficiencies in the image quality due to varying width of the rings that make up the lens. A flat lens would not experience such deficiencies as the phase shift is instantaneous. Recently it was reported by Aieta et al. (2015) that a multi-color flat lens was demonstrated in the laboratory.

PHASE I: Assess the feasibility of developing a flat lens that works across a broader region of the spectrum than around a particular laser wavelength. Investigate methods of color correction for such flat lenses.

PHASE II: Build and test that a flat lens that will focus light and has reduced aberrations compared to conventional lenses.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Numerous potential applications exist. Any optical device could be made much lighter. Military devices include ultra light optics for: cameras (satellites, drones), binoculars, and lasers. Commercial applications include telecom, camera lenses, prescription glasses, or optical implants.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: flat lens, axicons, metasurfaces, phase-discontinuities, lens, plasmonics, aberration-free


AF161-090
TITLE: High Data Rate/Low SWaP-C GPS Crosslinks


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop scalable, flexible lower SWaP-C GPS crosslink capability that allows future operational systems to forego significant dependence upon ground clock and ephemeris refresh with concurrent support of real-time command and control and age of data.

DESCRIPTION: Global Positioning System (GPS) space segment is currently comprised of 31 satellites in MEO at an approximate altitude of 20,200km (radius approx. 27,600km). The nominal space segment for GPS space consists of 24 space vehicles (SVs) in six orbital planes. Each GPS orbital plane nominally contains four satellites at a 55-degree inclination each (tilt relative to the equator).

GPS satellites receive updates from dedicated ground antennas located at Cape Canaveral, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, and Kwajalein, as well as the Air Force Space Control Network (AFSCN). The purpose of these updates is to synchronize the atomic clocks on board the satellites, update ephemeris data onboard the satellite, and provide command and control of satellite functions, to include critical data and capabilities needed by U.S. and allied forces in theaters of operation. Each satellite is normally updated once per day, resulting in an average age of data of 11 hours and 58 minutes. Between these updates, as the age of the ephemeris and clock data increases, positioning and timing errors experienced also increase.

GPS Blocks IIR and IIF utilize UHF crosslinks (260 MHz to 290 MHz). This band is allocated on a primary basis to the mobile and fixed services. The Navy UHF Follow-On program has priority for the use of this band, and several other primary users such as paging services limit the utility of this band. Furthermore, the current UHF antenna is omnidirectional, which increases the interference potential. The GPS Directorate has considered other bands such as Ka Band (22.55-23.55 GHz) and V-Band (59.3-64.0 GHz) with directional antennas, but the large size, weight, and cost of this system hindered further development.

To minimize reliance on ground uploads to individual satellites; it is desirable to have GPS satellites communicate via reliable crosslinks at high rates to all assets that minimizes the age of clock and ephemeris. The implementation of this high data rate crosslink provides ephemeris and clock updates across the constellation from a single ground to SV upload with the remaining SVs obtaining updates via the crosslinks. (Updated data transmitted are currently relayed via the crosslinks.) A realistic approach to understanding the viability of these high rate crosslinks is to design and develop capabilities to synchronize clocks and to generate onboard ephemeris via inter-satellite range determination on the crosslinks and geo-location from a crosslink ring with a specific focus on reduced SWaP-C.

Peak data rates per crosslink initially are expected to be approximately 1.5 - 3 Mbps and average data rates will be approximately 200-700 kbps.

Any relevant proposal should clearly indicate how the intended effort conclusion result will improve the GPS system's capabilities via a validation and verification plan.

Proposers are highly encouraged to work with relevant PNT system prime contractors to help ensure applicability of their efforts and the initiation of technology transition design and development.

Proposers should clearly indicate in their proposals what government furnished property or information are required for the success of the effort. Requests for other-DoD contractor intellectual property will be rejected.

PHASE I: Design and develop an innovative concept, which includes a preliminary design for a low SWaP-C space based crosslink system for GPS that meets or exceeds government-specified application requirements.

PHASE II: The selected proposer will design and build an EDU for the GPS crosslink system ground test and evaluation. Phase II efforts should ensure compatibility with component interface descriptions which support overall payload and space vehicle reference designs as part of their commercialization effort. Interface descriptions will be supplied to Phase I awardees invited to propose for Phase II.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military application: GPS space and MilSatcom constellations. Commercial application: Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). Commercialization of the proposed innovation through a Phase III should motivate partnerships with other GPS system contractors.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: GPS, crosslink, space-based networks, data transfer, free space optical data transfer, FSO


AF161-091
TITLE: Low Probability of Intercept PNT Augmentation Network


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) augmentation network to provide secure PNT with less than 10 meters horizontal accuracy to ground users in a GPS-denied environment.

DESCRIPTION: Since the inception of Navigation Warfare (Navwar) in the mid-1990s, the concept of pseudo-satellites (pseudolites) has been evaluated as a means of providing precision navigation in the face of threats where GPS is denied by an adversary. Although most concepts have focused on broadcasting GPS-like signals while leveraging the proximity of ground or airborne transmitters to overcome jamming, there has been very little research in the application of ultra-wideband (UWB) or other LPI techniques to provide PNT. The proliferation of digital radio networks illustrates that a hybrid approach may be suitable, one which provides tactical communications in conjunction with PNT.

A hybrid network provides many advantages. The communications capability can be used to distribute critical GPS data, including Zero Age of Data from the GPS Operational Control Segment, as well as time transfer to enable direct acquisition of the military signal. A tactical network can also provide black key distribution and support rapid key supersession. The PNT feature enables time synchronization of the digital network, and can provide Position & Location Information (PLI) to enable blue force tracking of U.S. and Allied forces.

This topic will develop a concept for a PNT augmentation network utilizing LPI techniques. By PNT augmentation, it is assumed that GPS and other satellite systems, such as GLONASS, are sometimes available, and that other PNT capabilities may be available, such as Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), Chip-Scale Atomic Clocks (CSACs), and other radio networks. The purpose of the LPI PNT augmentation is to provide a wartime reserve capability that delivers at least 10 meters of horizontal accuracy while avoiding jamming altogether through low detection. In addition to providing ranging capability, this network should provide GPS clock and ephemeris data, GPS almanac data, GPS keys, Navwar situational awareness (such as known jammers/spoofers). Time transfer with accuracy of 1 ms or less should be available for initial synchronization of GPS receivers. Advanced concepts such as virtual arrays created by networked receivers may be explored to enhance the performance and accuracy.

For the proposed concept, the effectiveness, associated Concept of Operations (CONOPS), cost (both non-recurring and recurring), and operational suitability should be evaluated. Application to non-DoD users such as law enforcement should also be evaluated.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for an advanced LPI PNT augmentation and evaluate cost, performance, and suitability.

PHASE II: Design and implement a prototype brassboard system to be tested in a laboratory environment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop prototype system to be integrated in multiple ground vehicles/tested in GPS-denied environment, military GPS user equipment and commercial (FAA) user equipment. Commercialization of proposed innovation through a Phase III should motivate partnerships with other GPS system contractors.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: PNT, electronic warfare, LPI, pseudolite


AF161-092
TITLE: Hypervelocity and Plasma Reentry Research Testbed


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a hypersonic materials testbed for characterization of multiple types of novel reentry materials.

DESCRIPTION: This topic seeks to develop a testbed for characterization of novel materials for use on orbital or sub-orbital reentry vehicles. Of particular interest are self-healing materials, which may include (but are not limited to) carbon/ceramic matrix materials, embedded microcapsules, materials with changeable geometries and/or chemistries to allow changing ablation rates and variable luminescence, and the ability to control air domain velocity to facilitate ablative response. Approaches for designing this testbed may include the use of novel materials, reentry test platforms with variable geometries, or other innovative methods.

PHASE I: Develop preliminary design for a novel reentry material testbed. Simulate expected self-healing properties or novel signatures under ballistic re-entry conditions (3000C+, high dynamic force, and dissociated air), thermodynamic material models of the ceramic/composite ablation process, or self-healing tailorable/controllable ablation materials (compatible with extant computational fluid codes).

PHASE II: Build, test, and deliver a prototype reentry material testbed. Demonstrate self-healing properties or novel signatures under ballistic re-entry conditions (3000C or above, high dynamic force, mega Joule heating rates and dissociated air), thermodynamic material models for the ablation process of ultrahigh temperature ceramics, ceramic composite materials and self-healing materials, and/or materials that allow for tailorable/controllable ablation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Technology developed under this topic can advance both military and civilian atmospheric reentry systems. Possible applications of this technology include hypervelocity vehicle research, human space crew rescue, and next-generation reusable launch vehicles.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: reentry systems, plasma physics, novel materials, ablation models


AF161-093
TITLE: Multi-material Additive Manufacturing for Advanced Space Systems


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a multi-material additive manufacturing approach using space compatible materials to produce spacecraft components or systems that offer improvements in mass, cost, schedule, and/or performance.

DESCRIPTION: Recently, the field of additive manufacturing has advanced quickly where many systems are being used in personal, commercial, and operational settings. The majority of research efforts are currently focusing on the development and advancement of systems and processes for single-class material systems such as systems for metals, thermoplastics, or conductive inks. These systems are rapidly improving in their ability to produce consistent, high-quality parts using a single material class and have demonstrated mass saving through part optimization beyond the capability of traditional subtractive fabrication approaches as well as significant cost savings by reducing material waste, fabrication time, and engineering design time.

In addition, the focus of most research efforts has been on material systems suitable for terrestrial or aeronautical applications with minimal work directed toward space-compatible material systems. Little work has been conducted to develop systems and processes capable of producing components that require multiple material classes to optimize functionality. This is especially true with respect to material systems that are compatible with the space environment.

This solicitation is seeking multi-material-class additive manufacturing concepts and approaches using structurally relevant materials (such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers [CFRP], titanium, high performance thermoplastics, or other applicable material system) for producing spacecraft components or systems. An example would be a structural panel or electronics enclosure with integrated antennas, wiring, sensors (i.e., strain gauges, temperature sensors, etc.), and/or heater elements. The emphasis is not on a specific component/concept but rather the ability to produce multiple material class systems using additive manufacturing as well as to use materials that are appropriate with the space environment—compatible with high vacuum, UV, radiation, atomic oxygen, and high launch loads.

Regardless of the approach or concept, the proposed approaches must be able to accommodate temperature extremes ranging between -60 C and 80 C; provide a stiffness-to-weight ratio within 80% of traditional spacecraft structures (threshold) or exceeding 100 percent (objective), specifically aluminum or CFRP honeycomb or isogrid structures; and provide a multifunctional aspect that reduces cost, schedule, mass and/or improves system performance. Improvement in any aspect of multi-material additive manufacturing will be considered under this topic.

PHASE I: Develop conceptual designs of the approach based on preliminary analysis. Demonstrate by analysis and/or test the feasibility of such concepts and that the approach can meet all of the performance requirements stated above in the Phase II development effort.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the technology developed in Phase I. Tasks shall include, but are not limited to, a demonstration of key technical parameters that can be accomplished and a detailed performance analysis of the technology. The culmination of the Phase II effort shall be at least one prototype unit delivery for validation testing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial: Structural health monitoring/sensing and reduce installation time for wiring in automtive and aerospace applications. Military: Embedding extra functionality for sensing, thermal control, wiring and communication for improving DoD systems in aerospace, naval and terrestrial applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: space platforms, additive manufacturing, structures, thermal, electrical, multifunctional


AF161-094
TITLE: Robust spacecraft solar array technology


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Spacecraft solar arrays represent a large target for potential adversarial action. Technologies are sought which have the potential to provide enhanced solar array resilience with minimal impact to overall array performance metrics.

DESCRIPTION: Spacecraft solar arrays provide critical electrical power for spacecraft operations. These systems have been designed to be robust to natural environmental challenges (thermal cycling, vacuum, UV, atomic oxygen, radiation, etc.) however, it is important to consider how these systems may respond to man made threats. This solicitation is looking for modifications to solar array materials and designs that have the potential to provide improved resilience to man made threats, without reducing the overall array performance metrics (ie, $/W, W/kg, W/m3, etc.).

Regarding materials, it may be appropriate to consider which solar array materials may be most vulnerable to a particular threat (ex. high temperature excursions) and to identify alternate materials that could be substituted and thereby provide an improvement to overall resilience. Alternatively, the vulnerability identified may be mitigated via changes to overall array design. The technologies proposed should be capable of successfully being qualified via standards such as AIAA S-111 and AIAA S-112 for solar cells and solar panels, respectively.

PHASE I: Phase I should identify a potential vulnerability (ie weak link) in state of the art solar arrays as well as multiple potential approaches to reducing or eliminating the vulnerability. Analysis and/or preliminary testing should be performed to assess the viability of the proposed solutions, with a potential down select.

PHASE II: Phase II builds upon the analysis and testing performed in Phase I to further refine the technology(ies) of interest. Identified technologies should be evaluated for their performance impacts on nominal array performance metrics. In addition, demonstration of enhanced resilience through breadboard prototype testing and/or analysis should be performed.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III further matures the technology developed in Phase II and should result in a solar technology which is ready to enter qualification testing (ie. AIAA S-111 and/or AIAA S-112).

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: spacecraft, solar array, resilience


AF161-095
TITLE: Resilient Sturctural Sensing Technologies for Responsive Anomaly Resolution


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop robust structural health monitoring technologies to rapidly assess health of spacecraft with minimal risk from environmental hazards preventing functionality. Demonstrate hardware in simulated environments (thermal, charging, radiation, etc.)

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is actively pursuing the capability to monitor the assembly, checkout, and launch of a satellite for tracking changes that may impact the system's performance on orbit and provide information during anomalous events to quickly identify sources of the problem to be hardware or software specific. Such a responsive space capability will provide our forces with an asymmetric edge in future conflicts or mission disruption as the ground station will be able to expeditiously asses the problem. Further benefit can be obtained by integrating the processing of raw measurement data on-board to give first order information to the system avionics such that basic software decision making routines can be put into place should communications with the ground be temporarily out of order.

While terrestrial applications have been under development for other DoD systems with regards to utilizing Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) for eliminating schedule based maintenance and providing real time evaluations of the platform for defining remaining useful life, these technologies are not suitable for long term space utilization. Space hardware is exposed to a diverse spectrum of EM energies that change from LEO to GEO orbits. Hardware must be able to function in these environments without experiencing damaging latch-ups that may prevent its functionality or damage the satellite. Thermal management of equipment requires conductive approaches to spread heat from high performing circuits. Energetic particles can penetrate the structure and deposit large potentials on internal dielectrics that can possibly discharge resulting in unknown upsets.

Several schemes have been proposed for the implementation of SHM on space vehicles; ranging from centralized to distributed sensing networks, piezo to FBG sensors, embedded to surface mounted integration. Any approach is of interest that has the potential to monitor the system for changes in thermal conductance, structural stiffness, MMOD characterization, and EM characterization. Of critical importance is the technology required to make such monitoring hardware resilient to the hazards of long term space operation such that they can be reliably called to function during an anomalous event. The primary orbit of interest is GEO and MEO orbits. The environmental limits pertaining to temperature, radiation, charging, etc., will be highly dependent on the proposed approach and any submissions should focus on understanding the environmental conditions their technology solution will be vulnerable to and how they plan on protecting from it. Ideally, a proposed approach will specify environmental limits that it can fundamentally withstand with respect to temperature, radiated fluxes, and charge build up, prior to material or electrical failure of the design.

Resilient satellites need a low SWAP-C solution for quickly assessing the structural health of their satellites. Such a Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) capability should be able to determine the integrity of the satellite’s structural components, as well as assess if electrical and mechanical connections are properly interfaced. If an error or damage exists, the SHM scheme shall determine the location and severity of the anomaly, so that technicians can quickly address the problem, or determine that the satellite structure has sufficient margin for continued operations.

PHASE I: Assess current state-of-the-art approach to meet space environmental conditions and identify methods of improving hardware robustness to mitigate operational risks. Determine cost, weight, power reqs, limits on performance for SHM design on representative 500-kg satellite. Small-scale hardware (H/W) demo encouraged

PHASE II: Refine Phase I design. Develop prototype for testing. Prototype to include at least three structural members connected in at least two different configs. Demo ability to detect sim damage. Damage of interest includes stiffness change, surface contact change and cracking in composites. Provide report detailing limits on design (damage size, delta torque values of mechanical fasteners, etc.) & H/W testing results. Design SHM scheme for resilient satellite including in-line sensor data processing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Adapt technology to relevant space system and integrate during assembly phase. Evaluate technology impacts on program cost, schedule, and risk

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: structural health monitoring, resilient, satellite


AF161-096
TITLE: On-orbit Calibration of Staring Imaging Sensors Using Innovative Techniques and Field-deployable Instrumentation with High Radiometric and Temporal Sensitivity


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop, test, and evaluate innovative measurement methods for calibration and performance characterization of on-orbit imaging sensors designed to detect temporal phenomena in the short-wave infrared.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is increasingly using space-based sensors in modes that exploit temporal phenomenology to detect and characterize a wide range of events. In order to further advance research on temporal signatures, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is seeking state-of-the-art measurement techniques for on-orbit calibration of staring imaging sensors that collect data in the SWIR. Of particular interest are sensors in geosynchronous orbits that make persistent observations of ground and military relevant events. These observations in many cases are challenging because the sensor is tasked to temporally resolve a dim, time-fluctuating signal superimposed on a bright atmospheric or terrain background. The problem is also often compounded by spacecraft jitter-induced clutter and sensor noise. As a result, AFRL is interested in sensor calibration measurement methods that provide high radiometric and temporal accuracy.

Proposals are therefore sought that develop, test, and evaluate measurement approaches for on-orbit, high sensitivity sensor calibration and characterization that are based on at least one type of calibration source, such as astronomic objects or ground-truthed objects. Multiple calibration sources are desirable to enable cross-calibrations for error reduction. For measurement techniques relying on natural or manmade ground-based calibration sources, a field-deployable approach is sought that allows for the collection of relevant ground truth at multiple locations such that vicarious on-orbit radiometric calibration procedures can be conducted throughout the sensor’s lifetime. In addition, a strong proposal should demonstrate a system-level approach to calibration data collection and analysis, including the capability to integrate sensor calibrations conducted prior to launch.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility of an innovative method to address radiometric characterization of a high-framing, high dynamic range, SWIR sensor in geo-synchronous orbit. The approach should identify all major components of calibration and should design the required instrumentation or detail the utilization or refurbishment of existing instrumentation capable of radiometric and temporal ground truth.

PHASE II: Test and evaluate calibration approach including ground-truth campaign defined in Phase I. Produce relevant calibration data products.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Evolve the methods, procedures, and instrumentation developed under the first two phases to provide new capability options for DoD and industry to exploit dim, transient events for which changes in absolute intensity are critical to monitoring activities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: on-orbit calibration, temporal imaging


AF161-097
TITLE: Novel High Transmittance Curved Surface Laser Eye and Sensor Protection


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate new high transmittance protection technology for large-area, curved and complex-shaped visors and optics. This topic is focused on developing laser and HPM solutions other than dyes and dielectric reflective coatings currently in use.

DESCRIPTION: LEP and sensor protection currently used by the Air Force incorporates cutting-edge technologies (absorptive dyes and/or reflective technologies) to protect against lasers at a variety of wavelengths in the infrared (IR) and visible portions of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Dyes tend to be broadband absorbers–their absorption at wavelengths other than the desired wavelength(s) frequently reduces overall visible luminous transmittance (VLT) to levels that are not compatible for night use. Also, dyes tend to decompose at the temperature of molten polycarbonate and can be bleached by solar exposure and exposure to high irradiance levels. These effects complicate the need to achieve a desired level of laser protection, and dye decomposition products can produce unacceptable optical effects. Dyes can (in principle) be imbibed or coated onto eyewear after it is molded, but the VLT problem remains.

Reflective technologies (dielectric coatings and holograms) are applied after molding and can be made with sharp cutoffs around the wavelength(s) of interest, providing much higher VLT than dyes. However, only a select few functional reflective coatings have been placed on large or highly curved surfaces, and none have been placed on complex shapes. Further, protection provided by reflective technologies is dependent upon the angle of incidence of the incoming light. Narrow protective notches and high incident angles can cause the wavelength against which protection is desired to become uncovered by blue shifting at high angles.

For a highly curved or complex-shaped sensor or seeker optical train or visor, some of the light coming in from any direction will always be at a high incidence angle. So even if reflective technologies could be put onto large, complex surfaces, their usefulness is by no means certain. Because reflective technologies can be complex and time consuming to manufacture, the resulting eyewear or optical elements often very expensive to produce. Finally, because they reflect light, these technologies have been found to produce distracting (and sometimes obscuring) nuisance reflections in the visual field, so visual compatibility of the laser protection with the avionics display on the inside surface of a visor can be problematic.

This topic will focus on the design, fabrication, and validation of a solution that for seeker/sensor and LEP technologies not currently in use. The resulting visor/eyeware/optics will provide a minimum optical density (OD) of 4 (OD6 desired) in the near IR (700 to 1550 nm) but be transparent to visible light between 400 and 700 nm and free from internal reflections. Ideally, the LEP technology solution will create a passive barrier that protects against both continuous wave (CW) and pulsed laser threats, will be compatible with incorporation into a large platform polycarbonate visor.

The LEP solution performance should not be angularly dependent. The technology must be compatible with, and must not degrade the ballistic protection properties of, polycarbonate and other commercial optical polymer substrates and not be hygroscopic for long term submersion or high humidity environment degradation.

The proposed technology must provide high VLT (minimum of 70 percent-greater than 80 percent desired) and be color neutral in the visible range. This technology must also be compatible with new narrow band dye technology. In terms of optical quality, it is paramount that negative factors such as haze, distortion, aberration, prism, and artifacts are minimized so as not to impair visual performance or create distractions in the visual field.

The proposed solution should be compatible with military sensor/seeker/aircraft environments and be process application suitable for current military optical components in a manufacturing environment. It desired that the proposed solution also provide a high level of rejection for both laser threats and high powered microwave emissions as well.

PHASE I: Perform a technology feasibility assessment, and deliver a model of the conceptual solution, develop optical data and proof-of-principle devices to support the feasibility of the proposed solution, and a Phase II technology development plan. Show path to 80 percent broadband transmittance from visible and laser/high powered microwave protection greater than OD4, with OD6 desired.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the proposed solution by delivering seeker, sensor, eyewear and visor solutions incorporating the proposed technology with supporting performance data. Demonstrate in actual prototypes with on and off axis illumination against threats. Show performance over wide range of military environmental conditions and the manufacturability compatible with current military sensor/seeker/eyewear manufacturing processes. Provide a manufacturing transition plan/readiness assessment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Air Force, Army and Navy have requirements for LEP for personnel. Potentially any field that uses lasers or laser eye protection-commercial aviation, medical/dental laser surgery, lab technicians, welding, manufacturing, laser research, consumer eye protection). Demonstrate the manufacturability.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: laser, visor, eye protection, laser eye protection, LEP, laser defense, laser filter, laser threat


AF161-098
TITLE: Enhanced Starting Reliability and High Altitude Operation of Internal Combustion Engines on Miniature Munitions


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: This topic seeks an innovative solution for a small aircraft engine to be capable of reliable self-start and high altitude operation after in in-flight dispense from a carrier aircraft.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force has interest in developing a class of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and munitions which are dispensed from parent aircraft. These UAVs are typically stored in a launch tube with surfaces folded into a minimum volume, and example of which is the Common Launch Tube (CLT). Once safely separated from the parent aircraft, the UAV deploys surfaces and activates its propulsion system to regain controlled flight and proceeds with its mission.

A common denominator has surfaced in recent programs where the majority of UAVs launching from such systems rely solely on battery powered electric propulsion (EP). The choice of EP is frequently driven by the inherent high reliability of such systems, although other factors such as lower vibration and temperature come into play. However, in-flight dispense of UAVs requires that the propulsion system activate without any user intervention and thus have high reliability.

A major failing of EP is the reduced system energy density as compared to hydrocarbon fueled internal combustion engines (ICE). An additional failing is that EP vehicles typically retain all their mass throughout flight as compared to fueled aircraft which shed weight as fuel burns down, becoming more efficient as they do so. These two effects combine to severely limit range, endurance, and payload of EP aircraft as compared to similarly sized aircraft running on ICEs.

It would be desirable for in-flight dispensed UAVs to be powered by ICEs, and the hobby industry has numerous well-engineered engines in a wide range of sizes and designs. Furthermore, systems have been developed for onboard starting and power generation, however the majority of products are for larger engines, for example 100 cc and above. There are also fuel injected and supercharged options available, also for the larger engines. Last, many of the larger engines are capable of running on gasoline, have internal lubrication, and are available in 2 or 4 stroke options.

The class of vehicles dispensed from the CLT typically employ electric powerplants equivalent to a 7-15 cc ICE. The commercially available ICE's of this size typically run on a diesel glow fuel and are almost uniformly hand started, carburated and naturally aspirated. These engines are also notoriously difficult to start and require careful tuning of the carburetor and fuel for stable running. The small size of these engines render self-starting, power generation, and mixture sensing and control particularly difficult, limiting their ability to fly much outside of the altitude range they are tuned for.

This topic aims to explore innovative solutions to allow small ICE's to fulfill the propulsion needs of compressed carriage dispense with a high reliability such as a 95% successful start in less than 60 seconds similar to that which EP currently provides, while still maintaining a significant system energy density advantage over EP's and operation over a large altitude range. UAV's carried in the CLT are of particular interest to this topic, and propulsion solutions should be in this size range. The intended outcome is the development of an appropriately sized ICE capable of reliable self-starting and operation from sea level to at least 8,000 ft ASL, and preferably above.

PHASE I: Perform studies to determine limitations in reliable self-starting and altitude operation of existing small aircraft ICE's. Evaluate how added complexity and mass will affect ICE system energy density. Organize a plan to develop a reliable self start system and a methodology for enabling altitude operation, as well as developing testing concepts.

PHASE II: Perform trade study to determine best approach to design. Perform detailed development of mechanical structures. Fabricate prototypes and test self-starting ICEs in the desired range to characterize reliability, altitude capability, and system energy density. Iterate on design to increase reliability and decrease weight.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The results of this effort will be directly applicable to existing UAVs being dispensed from the SCLT. The Phase III will integrate the engine onto a platform and assess its feasibility compared to EP.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: UAV, munition, miniature, micro, unmanned, aircraft, engine, electric, battery, hydrocarbon, system energy efficiency, internal combustion engine, ICE, monopropellant, self-starting, altitude, reliability, efficiency, hands-off, tube launch, propeller


AF161-099
TITLE: Ultra Miniature Beam Steered Laser Radar System


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop real-time 3D laser radar system for use in mapping and collision avoidance for Group 1 (1-20 lbs) and Group 2 (21-55 lbs) small hand-launched and rail-launched remote piloted air vehicles.

DESCRIPTION: The AF is increasingly using more small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) to perform a variety of missions, but often there are technological barriers to their application. One such case is in doing mobility/roadability assessments, airfield surveys and obstacle assessments in remote areas, where placement of a large survey team and their equipment is not possible.

The goal of this project is to develop a micro-LADAR sensor exploiting innovations in the sensor, transmitter, scanner, and optics of traditional laser radar sensors. An order of magnitude improvement is needed in order to improve the imaging rate and field of view (FOV), reduce cost, and provide lower size, weight, and power (SWaP) on SUAS platforms similar to PUMA and small rotary wing SUAS platforms, like quadcopters. This, in turn, will make it possible to use SUAS in missions that so far have been unachievable.

SWAP for employing on a SUAS needs to be less than 1 to 2 lbs to be compatible with current sensor payloads. This tremendous reduction in SWAP will only be accomplished with innovations in the key system element. Examples of new technologies that may contribute include vibration resistant chip-scale, non-mechanical laser scanners; replacing traditional high-power laser transceivers with new technologies like high peak power laser diode transceivers; and improving the detector noise performance for longer range with lower transmitter power. From prior research, it is apparent that severe vibration environment, weight, and field of view concerns may be accommodated with new technologies, such as a non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS) device.

Applications for short range, laser-scanned transceivers for SUAS include: collision avoidance/situational awareness; docking/refueling/recovery; landing assistance; terrain-following; target detection; wire detection; and others. Altitude ranges in excess of 100 Meters are desired, with 1000 meters as a goal. Single pass 100-meter wide swath mapping is desired with 3 inch or better resolution. Wire, pipe, nets, and cable detection or classification is desired.

For low altitude terrain-following, forward and down-looking modes drives the scan rate and pulse repetition rate requirements. For collision avoidance and docking, longer ranges/larger apertures are required with 360 degree in elevation coverage and 270 degrees in azimuth (forward and either side). For terrain following/target recognition applications, less than 6 inch spot size is required with less than 3 inch desired. From 300 meters altitude, at least 3 inch pixels should be generated for a vehicle-sized target. Eye-safe operation is desired to facilitate ease in deployment for hand launch applications.

Signal processing should provide for scan nonlinearity due to platform motion, multiple returns from tree canopies or camouflage, and pulse stretching due to clouds or aerosols. The system should discriminate either first or last pulse in the sensor electronics. The microladar should have an interface to both common UAS autopilot systems and to telemetry data links for compressed “imagery” transmission and reporting.

Non-mechanical steering approaches may be the key for the high SUAS vibration environment as they will allow highly efficient and accurate steering, and wide fields of view. They can also make a major impact on future optical systems by increasing pointing speed, providing random access pointing, reducing costs and complexity, and increasing reliability.

Non-mechanical steering systems are ideal candidates for providing these capabilities at high speeds with low SWaP and could be installed on a SUAS to allow the existing designators and imagers to operate, while providing off-boresight situational awareness and tracking capability for multiple target engagements. NMBS devices can provide true random access, enabling selective scanning of a FOV for structured targets, potentially reducing the data transmitted for ISR-type missions.

Ideal goals for a developed compact microlaser system would include:
• 100 meter swath at low altitude
• Eyesafe at altitude
• 1 pass mapping to 3 inch resolution
• Raven/Puma/Stalker/Quadcopter compatibility with current onboard sensors
• Collision Avoidance, Fuzing, Targeting in complex terrain/urban settings and tunnels
• Less than 1 to 2 pounds and 9 cu inches (Puma Bay)
• 12 Volt/24 volt operation
• Quick mode-low density pan and scan for fast look into buildings
• Less than 40 knots to over 150 knots max airspeed at low altitude
• Eye-safe operation
• Real time output via telemetry to remote operator over tactical radios. Overlay of and georegistration of acquired data on Government portable/tablet based GIS systems. Demonstrate ability to achieve resolution and detection goals, telemetry tasks and derive georegistered coordinates, slope/grade and obstruction mapping. The goal is better that 1% accuracy of surface slope and grade.

PHASE I: Investigate critical component technologies leading to a prototype microlaser radar system. Through laboratory and/or field experiment, demonstrate critical components in a breadboard with simulations of applications discussed above. Show maturity of component concepts and system design needed to field a successful prototype in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a system capability for a microladar. Demonstrate integrated brassboard in tower and surrogate flight tests for intended applications. Prototype fieldable versions for in-situ functional performance verification. Collect and analyze return data for multiple SUAS flight scenarios, tree canopy, LZ survey, road following and target imaging. Demonstrate processing requirements in conjunction with imaging and onboard navigation systems to provide real-time operator feedback.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The brassboard prototype will be redesigned to fit in the SWaP constraints of an operational hand-launched SUAS. The system will be flown and evaluated for military mobility applications and commercial surveying applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: microladar, laser radar, automated refueling, laser altimeter, laser mapping, laser aided navigation, collision avoidance, non-mechanical beam steering, 3D LADAR, flash imaging, non-mechanical, beam steering


AF161-100
TITLE: Multi-Axis Precision Seeker-Laser Pointing Gimbal


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a line-of-sight stabilized miniature gimbal for a nose-mount application in a small weapon/unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that can precisely point a laser rangefinder, laser jammer or designator beam via Coude’ Path across all three gimbal axes.

DESCRIPTION: The technologies associated with small weapons and small Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) UAVs and miniaturization of laser radars and laser target markers/designators has progressed rapidly. However, the higher powered versions of these lasers are generally too large to be packaged as a payload component in the small multi-axis gimbals on loitering weapons or small UAVs. This is especially true when considering that the stabilized payload generally contains one or more imaging systems, laser rangefinders, or other components and has severe thermal constraints.

In order to minimize aerodynamic drag and to provide the required field of regard (FOR), the use of a nose-mounted, three-axis gimbal is been determined to be the preferred configuration(roll, pitch, yaw) with a “fourth” or half axis referring to beam stabilization. In this configuration the outer gimbal axis would be aligned with the roll axis of the UAV; the middle gimbal axis would be elevation, with the inner axis being cross-elevation.

This would facilitate a required FOR relative to the air vehicle of at least +30 degree / -135 degree elevation, ± 135 azimuth (larger desired). For the particular class of vehicles, the maximum outside diameter of the gimbal would be about five and one-half inches. To enable laser marking/designation capability from a laser that is too large to fit within the payload, but able to be packaged within a 5-inch cylinder, the beam must be projected through the gimbal crossing all three axes via Coude’ Path. Packaging the laser outside the inner gimbal also facilitates a better thermal management solution which is a critical element for extended operation of these small weapon applications.

The types of lasers used in these applications typically have a center wavelength between 1 and 1.5 micrometer, beam diameters of approximately 4 millimeters, beam divergences of approximately one-half milliradian with pulsed energies in excess of 50 millijoules (mJ) (1/2 megawatt to megawatt peak). Masking of the airframe and wings must be accomplished based on gimbal angle and airspace management for eye-safety of aircrews.

A multifocal or zoom optics approach is desirable but recognized to have performance challenges. Thus, the optical elements used to steer the laser beam must be able to withstand these energy densities, and must be kept free of debris and contaminants and environmental issues (condensation) that would degrade performance. The challenges associated with providing the precise alignments to route the laser path through the gimbal, and providing the electrical power and digital signal paths up to1.5 Gb/s for each video stream across the axes in the tight package is formidable.

In conjunction with these packaging challenges, the payload must be stabilized to less than 100 µrad RMS jitter. This stabilization performance must be achieved on UAVs with operating speeds of 100 KTS (weapons with speeds up to 300 KTS), and angular motion rates in excess of 100 degrees per second in gusty environments, in addition to high frequency vibration from the motor and propeller. As in all small platforms weight, power, and cost are critical elements of consideration for endurance, cost, and platform performance (drag, center of gravity, etc.).

The objective is to incorporate an optical and sensor payload with the 1064 nm or other lasers to acquire, track, and illuminate a specific point on the target at slant ranges over 3 kilometers. The optical payload must acquire and precisely track the target and resolve under 0.5 meter aim-point on moving targets day or night.

The target tracker must hold the laser spot aim-point on a particular point of a target, once operator designated, regardless of target motion, change of orientation, and in the presence of background contrast changes and clutter. The tracker must be predictive so that target transition behind and through structures and trees or clouds will adjust anticipated re-acquire point and open search window to identify target by "memory" of characteristics for scenarios with many movers. Closed loop spot position imaging and management with in band sensors target acquisition with IR and other imaging sensors is envisioned.

System weight of 5 pounds for the larger gimbals and 2 pounds for the small gimbal are design goals, and 80 G launch loads, with 8 to 10 G peak to peak -100 Hz vibration from reciprocating engine propulsion. Air speeds for operation range from 40knots to 250knots with altitudes from sea level to greater than 20,000 feet AGL. Temperature ranges in carriage can exceed -40 degrees C to 70 degrees C.

PHASE I: Design a 3+ axis gimbal concept that can steer a high-energy pulsed or CW laser beam & stabilize it with an on-payload imaging systems to less than 100 µrad RMS jitter for small weapons and UAS environments. Show ability to achieve the stabilization & steer the payload & laser over the required FOR, within a diameter of 3 to 5 inches. Demonstrate critical components in lab/field demonstrations.

PHASE II: Carry the concept from Phase I into a form-fit-function prototype. Design, build, integrate and test the prototype with a suitable laser to demonstrate conformance to requirements. Through hardware in the loop and tower/ surrogate flight testing on SUAS or other fixed wing platforms show the pointing and tracking capability to maintain track on moving targets is sufficient to hold the laser spot on the designated point.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition into numerous DoD applications and use for laser point to point communications, astronomical, and police applications requiring helicopter and small aircraft precision tracking.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: gimbal, laser designator, stabilization, remote piloted vehicle, moving target tracking, shape correlation aimpoint


AF161-101
TITLE: Fiber Optic Networking Technology for Advanced Payload Integration on F-35 and Other Platforms


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Address the current and future needs of weapon systems' increasing demand for new data communication speed and flexibility. Wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) will provide high speed digital information channels to new weapons and weapon systems.

DESCRIPTION: Information throughput capacity and available information paths for optimal operation of weapon and sensor payloads at platform store stations are limited in the current MIL-STD-1760 (1760) aircraft/store electrical interface. The recent addition of a coaxial cable based Fibre Channel data path to the MIL-STD-1760E revision provides some enhancement to the legacy MIL-STD-1553 data bus capability (which is very slow by today’s standards), but still does not fully satisfy projected long term needs. It has been recognized that two reserved fiber optic contact spaces in the 1760 connector could provide a long term solution to this limitation, using such techniques as WDM to provide a number of high speed digital and wide band analog information channels over the two available physical fiber paths. This would facilitate much closer coupling of weapons and sensors mounted on wing and internal bay store stations with platform avionics, allowing for greater information fusion and enhanced mission capabilities. Improved and/or dedicated processing capabilities for supporting advanced mission capabilities could also be feasibly incorporated into store station mounted devices (weapons, sensors, or pods), alleviating the need for corresponding (and highly expensive and operationally disruptive) platform modifications to take timely advantage of emerging weapon and sensor technology advancements over the platform lifespan.

Some currently ongoing technology development efforts and standardization initiatives are addressing basic definition of a fiber optic interface for future versions of MIL-STD-1760 at the interface level. Effort under this topic would conduct further research into WDM and high speed networking techniques, and develop and demonstrate technology based on such techniques that would provide an underlying technical basis for future implementation of an overall fiber optic network architecture and communication scheme to facilitate efficient and cost effective integration of technically advanced payloads with high information throughput requirements on platform store stations.

PHASE I: The underlying technology for an overall network architecture and signal transfer scheme capable of efficiently supporting the emerging 1760 fiber optic interface definition would be defined and documented through relevant technical research and technology concept development under the Phase I effort.

PHASE II: Laboratory demonstration of a corresponding prototype system (or certain key technology elements of such a system) based on the defined technology concepts would be accomplished in a Phase II follow-on effort.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III efforts would focus on implementing this technology on the existing F-35. Possibly in time to effect Block 5.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: weapons, integration, networking, interfaces


AF161-102
TITLE: High Fidelity Algorithm to Model the Statistical Variations of Ground Target Signatures in Scene Generator Systems


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Investigate and identify innovative techniques to represent statistical variation of target signature in visible, infrared (including both mid-wave and long-wave infrared), and millimeter wave spectra.

DESCRIPTION: Ground targets like a T-72 tank have signature variations from one version to another due to manufacturing differences, production line variations, and operational usage. The Joint Air Force/Navy weapon programs, such as the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB II), and the Joint Army/Navy Joint Common missile (JCM) use high fidelity scene based target models for infrared and radar applications to facilitate seeker algorithm development, pre-flight and post-flight analysis, and to determine specification performance compliance. While these target models are extremely high fidelity compared to statistical or empirical modeling and simulation techniques, they are currently deterministic in nature and don’t necessarily represent the variations observed in reality.

The Air Force is seeking to investigate and identify innovative techniques to represent the statistical variation of ground target signatures for visible, infrared (including both mid-wave and long-wave infrared), and millimeter wave spectra applications. This would ensure that the algorithms are performing across the expected variation of a ground target rather than a single "finger printed" version of that target. The causes of the statistical variations are likely to be missing or added components, component articulation differences, paint variations, and dents, rust and holes. These variations may result in either local or global changes in the target signatures. It is recommended that the developed tools will provide for the ability to vary the computed signatures in both a local and global manner consistent with the expected variations. The extent of the expected variations should be analyzed by comparing measured and/or computed signatures to the amount feasible. These comparisons need to match expected results within 10% for the passive signatures and 3dB for the radar signatures. The modeling approach used for this effort needs a flexible application programming interface (API) allowing the product to be integrated into high-level scene generation and simulation frameworks. These scene generation and simulation frameworks include the Army’s Common Scene Generator (CSG) simulation, the Air Force’s Fast Line-of-sight Imagery for Targets and Exhaust Signatures (FLITES) simulation, the Air Force’s Irma simulation, and the Army Missile Research Development Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Virtual Target Center (VTC) predictive target models. The government will provide these scene generation and simulation frameworks as needed to assist with integration. The design of the statistically variable target signatures developed by this topic should minimize modifications needed to existing scene generation and simulation frameworks capability, but if changes/upgrades are required to the capabilities to provide efficient interoperability, then the proposer should describe in detail any new interfaces needed to support this effort.

PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate a statistical algorithm of a target model with a well-defined API that would facilitate integration with government owned scene generator systems. The specific target model, for example T-72, should include appropriate statistical variations of the target signature. Recommend a method to validate the proposed algorithm.

PHASE II: Finalize and validate the design through more testing over tanks (T-72, ZSU-23-4, BMP) and battlefield wheeled vehicles (BM-21, URAL-375). Developed models and software must be made available to the prime contractor for SDB-II and/or JCM in support of the validated concept.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Expand the development of statistical variation of target signatures to include both military and civilian applications. Results should be transitionable to all DoD services, as well as their supporting contractors.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: Fast Line-of-sight Imagery for Targets and Exhaust Signatures, FLITES, Common Scene Generator, CSG, Irma, AMRDEC Virtual Target Center, mid-wave infrared, MWIR, long-wave infrared, LWIR, millimeter wave, MMW


AF161-103
TITLE: Low Signal to Noise Ratio Radar Technology Investigation


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Investigate and develop innovative compact long-range, multi-mode, high frequency, low transmitted signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio radar system concepts that will enhance performance, robustness, and survivability of precision terminal guided weapons,

DESCRIPTION: The problems associated with precision terminal guidance of autonomous lock-on-after-launch weapons for military and civilian targets, both stationary and mobile, in high clutter backgrounds, under adverse weather conditions, day/night, and low-light conditions, are some of the outstanding challenges facing the tactical weapons development community today. A radar-based seeker is a good candidate and excellent selection for the stationary and moving target acquisition, track, and aim-point selection for precision terminal guidance applications. Development of a light, compact, high frequency, low energy consumption (low transmitted power), low S/N ratio and low cost radar sensor with high range and Doppler resolutions is a challenging problem for today's radar technology. These interesting radar systems concepts should have a multi-mode (SAR, GMTI, and HRR) radar operational capabilities to search, acquire, and track single and multiple targets. This type of radar sensor will provide a new ability for radar system design and will find a number of applications for weapon seekers and commercial navigation collision avoidance. Optimal reception of coherent (pulsed or CW) radar signals and pulse compression technique are the principles forming the basis of the modern radar design. The antenna and radar waveform designs along with operational bandwidth and signal processing are critical in designing radar systems for a specific radar application, such as smart weapons.

To begin this effort, a trade-off study of various radar concepts will be conducted. A complete innovative radar system concept will be selected, developed, simulated, demonstrated, and compared with conventional radar in term of antenna peak-to-side-lobe ratio, waveform characteristics, transmit power/operational range, average power, range/ Doppler resolution, probability of target detection, and target tracking capabilities.

PHASE I: Survey, develop, and assess a feasibility of innovative radar technology concepts for a range of 5 to 10 km operation with low transmitted power and low S/N. Proposer shall conduct a concept study of potential new compact low cost wideband multi-mode (SAR, GMTI, and HRR) capability and low S/N radar technology that is feasible for precision terminal seeker and weapon network centric development.

PHASE II: Develop a radar system simulation based on the Phase I results. Select an optimal radar system architecture that meets all objective requirements. Radar architecture will be proposed and simulations of the selected full radar system will be used to compare the proposed innovative radar concepts to more traditional radar approaches. A complete radar system prototype based on the simulation outcome will be developed, evaluated and demonstrated in laboratory and outdoor environments.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Design and fabricate a low cost and lightweight/compact full function innovative radar system for a realistic field test and flight demonstration. Transition into Air Force weapon/UAV and commercial (UAV navigation collision avoidance, weather radar, altimeter, etc.) applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: ultra-wideband radar, low transmitted power radar, diversity radar waveforms, radar signal processing, multimode radar


AF161-105
TITLE: Sensors for Remote Airfield Assessment


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a small form factor lightweight sensor(s) that can work with satellite or RPA survey to rapidly assess the the load bearing capability of soil, roads, and runways and clearances, grade, and obstructions to support aircraft operations.

DESCRIPTION: Develop and prove accuracy of a technology or group of technologies to replace the need for hammer driven-dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) assessment of runways or unimproved runways for aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.

The goal of this research is a lightweight sensor or set of sensors (array) that can provide the equivalent soil shear strength, moisture content and associated factors to determine the ground or pavement load bearing capacity. The entire sensor and processing suite must fit in less than a small rucksack or pack, be battery operated and require two or less person operation.

Low/no acoustic footprint or other emissions are of prime consideration. The goal is for a two person survey team to determine the soil shear capacity for up to 30 points over a 2,000-foot-long runway in under 2 hours. It is envisioned this sensor (or array of sensors) would be hand carried or droppable from aircraft or small UAS (or quad-copter).

An improved or unimproved runway survey assesses the structural suitability or load bearing capability of an airfield to support aircraft landing, taxi, and takeoff. The survey approach also addresses other factors including the geometric characteristics of an airfield such as: runway length and width, grade, and airfield and airspace obstruction clearances.

The numbers and locations of soil strength tests and samples will vary with the type of airfield, size of airfield, proposed mission of the airfield, number of features, and time available for conducting the tests. Test locations must be chosen wisely and should accurately cover each feature or aspect of the airfield, yet may need to be minimized due to aircraft operations or time constraints. Soil conditions are extremely variable; therefore, as many tests as time and circumstance will permit should be taken.

The California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test is the test most commonly used in road and runway design all over the world. There are many methods for estimating CBR from the soil and site-specific parameters (Dave, 1997). The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) value is being used extensively in several countries for reliable estimation of subgrade CBR value. This test can be used for rapid measurement of in situ strength of pavement layers and subgrades and has been successfully employed for this purpose in South Africa. The DCP was initially developed in South Africa as an in situ pavement evaluation technique for continuous measurement with the depth of pavement layers and subgrade soil parameters. Since, then this device has been used extensively in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and many other countries, because it is simple, economical, and less time consuming than most other available methods. One- and two-man DCP kits have been fielded with costs from $2 to 3K per kit. It takes 10 to 15 minutes per sample for dirt runways, much longer for paved surfaces, with 20 or more points for runways plus overrun and taxiways. The goal is to reduce a typical 4-hour survey to one hour of less.

Shearing resistance is one of the most important properties that a soil possesses. A soil’s shearing resistance under given conditions is related to its ability to withstand a load. The shearing resistance is especially important in its relation to the supporting strength or bearing capacity of a soil used as a base or subgrade beneath airfield pavements. For military pavement applications, the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) value of a soil is used as a measure of soil strength.

Currently, CBR is determined using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) which is an impact device. This large unit represents many operational and logistic challenges. The DCP consists of a 16-mm-diameter stainless steel rod with a cone attached to one end which is driven into the soil by means of an 8 kg sliding hammer which is dropped from a height of 575 mm. The angle of the cone is 60 degrees and the diameter of the base of the cone is 20 mm. Units that test both paved and semi-prepared airfields use 50-inch-long rods, but 36-inch-long rods are available and are adequate for semi-prepared airfield evaluations. Loaded aircraft may affect the soil to depths of 36 inches or more; therefore, it is recommended that DCP tests be conducted to the full depth of the rod. Use of the DCP is a multi-person activity and requires moving the unit up and down every 200 feet (minimum) of the road or runway and back and forth across it to get a useful distribution of points.

PHASE I: Investigate novel sensor technologies for non-impact/noiseless technologies to rapidly determine the geospatial, geotechnical, and grade of improved and unimproved areas to determine suitability for aircraft operation. Demonstrate critical component technology suitability with laboratory or field demonstration.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate-hand or SUAS deployed sensor array to rapidly assess soil shear strength for CBR down to at least 36 inches with desired goal of 48 inches and soil surface and soil depth moisture content. In laboratory and field demonstration, show direct traceability to traditional DCP or other Air Force-approved survey approaches.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition to commercial highway and runway construction, Air Force civil engineering support, Army and Marine Corp mobility and amphibious landing support.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: hyperspectral, California bearing ratio, dynamic cone penetrometer, remote sensing, ground penetrating radar, acoustic holography


AF161-106
TITLE: Compact SWIR DFOV Optics


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a near infrared (NIR) and short-wave IR (SWIR) dual-field-of-view (DFOV) optical system compatible with small unmanned aerial system (UAS) gimbals to support day/night imaging and targeting of ground targets.

DESCRIPTION: Small, stabilized gimbals are being developed for emerging small pursuit weapons and air-launched UAS. These 3-to-5-inch diameter gimbals place severe limits on the size and weight of any optical imaging system. Past demonstrations with air-launched air vehicles and weapon sights have used single-FOV lenses, leading to a trade between operator situational awareness and magnification required for positive identification. Mechanical design, weight, and poor MTF plague current COTS optics.

A dual-field-of-view optical system would provide an operator with good situational awareness in a wide-field-of-view (WFOV) and high resolution for target identification in a narrow-field-of-view (NFOV). Zoom lenses have been evaluated in prior program but have issues through the zoom range and have weight and size impacts.

Most standard lenses have been designed for 20-25 micron pixel pitch, and relatively few are available even in single FOV designs for recently-developed small pitch focal plane arrays with 12.5 to 5 micrometer (micron or um) pixels.

Production cost is an important factor since the small, air-launched UAS and weapons are designed for a one/few-time use in an operational setting but may be re-used many times in a CONUS training environment.

The optical system requires full-field resolution of greater 80 cycles/mm and an MTF greater than 50 percent at 40 cycles per millimeter. The optical system is needed for low light capability and needs high (80 percent objective) transmission for visible through SWIR 0.4 – 1.9 micrometers wavelengths.

The optical system needs to accommodate at least two mechanically-switchable spectral filters (IR cut and laser passband). The format should accommodate an image format supporting current 640 x 512 pixel SWIR InGaAs focal planes and the new 1280 x 1024 pixels (or larger 1920 x 1080 HD format) focal planes.

Pixel pitches from 10 micron down to 5 micron for SWIR are anticipated and as small as 2 to 3 micron in the visible. The lens needs at least two selectable fields of view, with an narrow field of view (NFOV) focal length of 50 mm or longer and a wide field of view (WFOV) focal length of one half to one third of the NFOV. The distortion shall be 0.5 percent or better over the full field of view with no vignetting. The band-average spectral transmission shall be 80 percent or higher at f-number 1.4 or faster.

Multiple sensor ports for color-visible/SWIR focal planes will be an option to accommodate focus variations, if the size and weight impact can be minimized. The goal is to not require operator-initiated refocusing to maintain image quality upon field-of-view switch or filter selection, and provide for operator-adjustable (motorized) focus. The lens should provide positive mechanical stops or locks at each FOV and filter position and provide FOV/filter position feedback indications to the weapon of small UAS control system. FOV and filter switching time should be 0.5 seconds or faster.

The design must include optical anti-glare coatings and baffles to prevent objectionable stray light artifacts from natural or man-made light sources outside the FOV.

A variable iris (f/1.4 – f/16) is desirable for weapon mounted sights to accommodate the wide range of conditions from daylight to night operations.

The optical system should be no larger than 42 x 50 mm (W x L) to fit in the smaller gimbals. The optical system has to survive the shock loads present in deployment from a Common Launch Tube (CLT) of approximately 80g and it is desired to have higher shock survival for weapon mounted applications. The lens must operate over an altitude range of 0 to 20,000 feet above sea level.

For gimbal and weapon balance considerations, lightweight approaches are critical. A goal of under 200 grams is ideal for hand launched systems where the entire gimbal payload is under 900 grams including sensors. The lens system environment goal is operation over -40 to +70 degrees C of gimbal interior temperature is required with a goal of -20 to 70 degrees C. The optical system has to operate in the vibration environment of a small propeller-driven UAS with up to 8G peak to peak 0 to 100Hz and operate in rail mounted gun sight applications for full automatic fire with small arms (5.56mm/7.62mm).

PHASE I: Develop a preliminary optical, mechanical and electrical designs. Thermal, electrical and vibration specs will be finalized between the government, the gimbal developer, and lens designers. One proof-of-concept laboratory lens (performance not required in a vibration/g-shock environment or at temperature or altitude extremes) mechanical models are desired for performance evaluation.

PHASE II: Develop, integrate and deliver one engineering qualification prototype and five fully-qualified units. Provide an interface control document and source data to support safety-of-flight requirements. The Phase I and II optics may not utilize any hazardous glasses, substrates or coatings. The prototype unit shall be tested over the temperature and vibration limits to be finalized in Phase I. Provide optical test data (MTF, transmission, distortion etc.) for all six lenses.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Manufacture low-cost dual FOV lenses for rugged weapon, missile, and small UAS application. Apply in manufacturing for machine vision, medical imaging, hostile fire detection, and astronomical/navigation applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: short-wave infrared, optical imaging, optics, SUAS, night vision, weapon sight, unmanned aerial system


AF161-107
TITLE: Integrating the EPIC Hydrocode with MEVA and Endgame Framework


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Design and implement an EPIC Hydroocde module in the Modular Effectiveness Vulnerability Assessment (MEVA) code. The two codes should be fully linked under the Endgame Framework architecture.

DESCRIPTION: Current lethality tools make use of empirical models that are the result of fitting data to sub-scale test data. This approach is not only expensive but provides for a simplified approach to modeling the lethal effects of munitions that exclude important physical effects. The full ranges of lethal effects are therefore not modeled, thus underestimating the performance of weapons. Until recently it was not possible to integrate more accurate tools into the lethality codes to provide better estimates of the actual weapon effects. However, this is changing. Recent advances in computing speed of desk side computers are now enabling more accurate and detailed calculations to be performed. The calculations that were once performed on the fastest Cray supercomputer 20 years ago can now be performed ten times faster on a modern multi-core PC class computer. This trend shows no sign of abating. There is a desire to take advantage of this modern computing power and increase the fidelity of the models currently used in the Air Force’s Modular Effectiveness Vulnerability Assessment (MEVA) code. Currently, the MEVA lethality and vulnerability software application is used to perform lethality and vulnerability analysis to estimate the effectiveness of Air Force weapon systems. MEVA is built with the Endgame Framework simulation architecture, a 3D modeling and simulation computer application. Currently, when the scenario involves a penetrating warhead, MEVA calls a module that implements empirical relations to estimate the performance of the penetrating warhead. However, the empirical relations that are currently used require extensive test data to calibrate and can only model rigid solid bodies. The EPIC hydrocode has the ability to perform detailed simulations of hard target penetrators and includes non-rigid bodies and the ability to model internal structures, such as the fuze, fuze mount, and explosive fill. A more accurate estimate of probability of kill can be obtained by using more accurate codes such as EPIC. EPIC is an elastic-plastic finite-element based code and with the proper material constitutive models can accurately simulate penetrators to a much more accurately and completely that the current modules in MEVA.

The purpose of the topic is to develop and implement a means to include EPIC as a module in MEVA and other Endgame Framework based applications. The EPIC module must accept inputs from MEVA and then compute the penetrator trajectory and survivability and return these results to MEVA. The EPIC model shall be able to use the target and warhead geometry entered by a use in MEVA and then automatically creates an input deck to run EPIC, which will be packaged in a wrapper and added as a module according to the Endgame Framework development API. Software changes to both MEVA and EPIC may be required to facilitate the integration of the two software applications. The goal is to allow a user to use the more accurate, but more time consuming, EPIC module as a substitute for the less accurate but faster empirical relations when performing lethality and vulnerability calculations in MEVA, or other applications built with the Endgame Framework.

PHASE I: Develop overall software integration design that includes a detailed description of the necessary software components necessary to link EPIC with Endgame Framework for penetration scenarios.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a fully integrated prototype system that allows realistic EPIC penetration calculations to be performed as part of MEVA lethality calculations.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop and demonstrate integrating other types of warhead analysis with Endgame framework and MEVA. These may include EFPs, blast warheads, and fragmenting warheads for examples.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: penetration, lethality, vulnerability, hydrocode, finite-elements


AF161-108
TITLE: Innovative, Cost-Effective Techniques for Antenna Electronic Beam Steering


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Investigate low-cost alternatives to steerable antennas for the munitions application.

DESCRIPTION: The performance enhancements afforded by electronically steerable antennas is of high interest to the radar seeker community. Traditionally phase array antennas require beam forming networks with distributed phase shifters or time delay mechanisms and additional control circuits, to perform beam steering that lead to expensive and complicated circuitry not economically feasible for use in small missile radar seekers. Recent breakthroughs in engineered electronic and electromagnetic materials and continuous transverse stub arrays have made agile, reconfigurable apertures possible where the beam-forming function is integrated in to the aperture. These technologies are opening avenues to provide new levels of real-time control of the aperture and performance as well as affordability.

There is a need to investigate innovative beam steering schemes that eliminate traditional beam forming networks and lead to digitally controllable RF apertures for radar seeker. Minimal figures of merit and functionality are frequency control and agility (17 GHz +/- 10 percent or 35GHz +/- 10 percent), wide bandwidth (600 MHz to 1.2GHz) and instantaneous pattern control. Instantaneous Field of View (IFOV) of approximately 7 degrees, Field of Regard (FOR) of approximately +/- 35 degrees in azimuth and elevation with a gain greater than 21dBi and nominal aperture of six inches. An antenna that can possibly meet these requirements and is able to work at 17 GHz in addition to 34 GHz is also of interest but not required. The techniques should be implementable in a small, lightweight package and, at minimum, allow for classical sum and difference mono-pulse beam forming. The technique should be evaluated against factors such as beam forming capability, gain, Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWAP-C) and radiation characteristics such as FOR, IFOV, beam width, etc.

PHASE I: Study the feasibility of innovative beam-steering techniques and implementation for use in a small radar seeker. Requirements for several antenna concepts should be considered and translated into design specifications. Trade-off analysis and simulation of critical performance parameters is expected during Phase I.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate the technique through a breadboard antenna and relevant drive electronics. It is expected for AFRL to perform testing of the prototype.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop and demonstrate in KHILS anechoic chamber a full-up antenna array with beam-forming network.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: engineered electronic materials, engineered electromagnetic materials, continuous transverse stub arrays, smart antennas, meta-materials, Software Defined Apertures, SDA


AF161-109
TITLE: Develop Urban Target Cumulative Structural Damage Models


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative models that simulate urban target cumulative structural damage caused by multiple weapons.

DESCRIPTION: This topic is in support of today’s next-generation munitions that will attack their target at the same location or at multiple locations in an effort to destroy or functionally kill an urban structure. The objective is to develop an innovative High-Fidelity Physics-Based (HFPB) Fast-Running Model (FRM) that predicts cumulative damage to the structural components of urban targets impacted by multiple weapons. The requirement is to be able to assess the incremental damage to an urban target and its components when subjected to multiple strikes with consideration to airblast, gas pressure, weapon fragment and structural debris loadings, time dependent variable venting, and weapon detonation intervals. Desired FRM outputs include structural component damage (deflection, spall, breach, and/or failure), structural debris mass & velocity distributions, subsequent residual strength (residual capacity), and Collateral Damage Estimation (CDE) data. An incremental definition of component damage to include residual capacity is extremely important for weaponeering multi-layered targets for progressive collapse, and could be exceptionally helpful in planning protection from sequenced terrorist attacks. This new FRM must be tightly integrated with AFRL’s Modular Effectiveness Vulnerability Assessment (MEVA) code to provide seamless transitions between the existing single-strike FRMs and new progressive-damage methodology.

Current requirements specify the need for FRMs that predict the structural damage to Urban Framed and Mass constructed structures subjected to multiple weapon detonations with an overall accuracy of 80 percent or better when compared to actual test data. Blast and fragment loads from current and future weapons are of particular interest. Current single weapon models include the quantification of modeling uncertainty and a representation of the models’ predictive accuracy based on that uncertainty. In cumulative damage models, modeling uncertainty is expected to grow with cumulative damage from multiple weapons. Thus, the cumulative damage models should also reflect cumulative uncertainty when assessing their predictive accuracy.

One of the options for defeating urban structures is collapse due to sequential damage from multiple weapons at multiple locations. Walls, columns, beams, and slabs not completely destroyed during a strike could be sufficiently damaged during subsequent strikes to promote structural collapse. The residual capacity of the structural components under repeated weapon loading, including impulse loading from structural debris and secondary airblast, is of interest here. These residual capacity outputs will be fed into a progressive collapse model to determine the structural integrity of the building.

These FRM(s) should address both air-backed and soil-backed walls, roofs, floors, columns, and beams including soil-structure interaction effects. In addition, the FRM(s) should be able to handle the different room configurations typically found in urban-type structures. The resulting FRM(s) will need to be integrated into the AFRL MEVA architecture and have execution times similar to current FRM(s). The multiple weapon loads (blast and fragment), location, orientation, detonation timing, along with the structural component information will be provided as input from MEVA to the FRM(s). In addition, the proposer should propose a limited set of test experiments that can be performed to validate proposer's algorithms. If necessary, government test facilities and or test data will be provided if requested and within the government’s funding constraints. If required, government HPC facilities will be provided to the proposer upon request.

PHASE I: Demonstrate the feasibility of using HFPB models to simulate the effects of multiple weapon detonations in one room of a typical RC framed structure with masonry walls and multiple weapon detonations in multiple rooms of a RC framed structure with masonry walls. Demonstrate the feasibility of developing FRMs that capture the important characteristics of the problem.

PHASE II: Using HFPB models that can simulate the effects of multiple weapon detonations on the structural components of urban structures, develop innovative FRM(s) that capture the important characteristics of the problem for the desired parameter space. Validate the HFPB models with experimental data and quantify the accuracy of the FRMs. Implement FRMs in AFRL’s MEVA and standalone codes, and support code verification efforts.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finish development of the FRM(s) covering the parameter space not covered in this development. Adapt the FRMs for use by other services and for use in anti-terrorism activities where model predictions must be survival conservative as opposed to kill conservative for weaponeering solutions.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: structural response, MOUT, urban targets, weapon lethality, target vulnerability, engineering models, fast running models, finite-element models, debris modeling, cumulative structural damage


AF161-110
TITLE: Ultra-Wideband Structurally Integrated Antenna Architectures


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Design ultra-wideband structurally integrated antennas suitable for the next generation of radar seekers. These seekers will require a very large field of regard while maintaining beam-shaping capabilities.

DESCRIPTION: Future radar seekers will be software defined and capable of performing multiple missions. These seekers will be expected to operate cooperatively in hostile environments and meet the demanding cost, size, weight and power (C-SWaP) constraints of weapons for fifth- and sixth-generation platforms.

As the need for engaging targets in difficult environments grows, ultra-wideband and structurally integrated antenna architectures have gained interest. However, these antenna architectures must conform to the limited size and overall outer-mold line of the weapon platforms. Next-generation seekers must perform frequency agile radar and communication waveforms, which will require ultra-wideband apertures. These structurally integrated and conformal antenna arrays may also allow for an extended field of regard as compared to traditional nose mounted seekers. Also, by utilizing the surface area, which would typically be larger than the missile cross-sectional area, for the conformal aperture could allow for additional antenna gain and thereby longer acquisition ranges.

To address the challenges of these antenna architectures, it is of interest to study novel conformal ultra-wideband antenna elements as integrated directly into the munition structure.

PHASE I: The Phase I effort will look at the feasibility and attainable performance of an ultra-wideband structurally integrated architecture for use in a small radar seeker. Identification of technology barriers, trade-off analysis and simulation of critical performance parameters is expected during Phase I.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the antenna architecture through simulation and develop representative breadboard. It is expected for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to obtain delivery of the breadboard for independent assessment.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Mature and develop a brassboard prototype. It is expected for AFRL to obtain delivery of the prototype for independent assessment.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: ultra-wideband, antenna, RF seeker, conformal


AF161-111
TITLE: Manufacturability Improvements for Highly Integrated Monolithic Exploding Foil Initiator


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Maturation and transition of a highly-integrated monolithic exploding foil initiator (EFI) which focuses on enhanced performance, survivability and manufacturability, while complimenting long-life, high-G, and high reliability requirements

DESCRIPTION: Conventionally, most slapper detonators are based on a non-integrated design where a pre-fabricated EFI/slapper chip is sandwiched between a chip spacer and a barrel. This assembly is then soldered onto a header with a 2-pin feed-through. A problem associated with such modular slapper detonators is the potential for unreliable operation due to failure of the electrical connections between the EFI/slapper chip and the header. Conventionally, electrical connections are formed by soldering. However, it is important to perform this soldering at low temperature to avoid degradation of the dielectric overcoat from which the flyer is generated by the vaporization of the bridge of the EFI. Failure of the solder connections due to materials aging and/or manufacturing defects can lead to unreliable operation of conventional slapper-detonator designs.

There is a need for a new approach to slapper detonator design that avoids such problems. A monolithic slapper detonator (monolithic exploding foil initiator) can be expected to yield greater reliability of operation and higher yields of devices meeting performance specifications compared to previous modular designs. An additional benefit of a monolithic device is that it represents a configuration that is more readily survivable in high-g-force environments.

As a solution to the need described above, Direct Header Deposition Slapper (DHD) technology has been developed by the Department of Energy (DoE), via Sandia National Laboratory (SNL). The DHD, a type of monolithic exploding foil initiator, is an adaptation of a chip slapper which focuses on enhanced manufacturability while complimenting long-life, high-G, and high reliability requirements. Upon completion of prototyping, DHD shows considerable promise, but further development is needed in order to mature the technology and also enable reduction in the manufacturing process.

The intent of this topic is to address the need to mature the manufacturing processes and technology prototyped with the DHD, and consider other technology to produce a monolithic EFI that is highly integrated with enhanced high-g survivability that may be implemented into DoD weapon systems.

Proposers are encouraged to demonstrate how their technology and processes can address enhanced manufacturability of a highly-integrated monolithic EFI, while meeting EFI performance and high-G survivability requirements. The ideal candidate should have expertise in all domains. Technologies and processes proposed should be able to show significant gains in manufacturability over existing solutions. A highly integrated solution is desired. Proposers should leverage existing technologies with minimal risk while optimizing performance. Ideally the deliverable should be able to transition as a drop in replacement for existing systems and support legacy systems, as well as emerging ones.

PHASE I: Demonstrate an improved process utilizing DHD technology to manufacture monolithic EFIs that are readily integrated into DoD weapons. Define materials, manufacturing steps, and production costs. Use a standard fireset and PDV to characterize the performance of prototype EFIs with the same bridge specification as a conventional EFI.

PHASE II: Refine the improved manufacturing process developed in Phase I and demonstrate its performance at larger (production) scale. Use a standard fireset and PDV to validate the performance of a statistically significant sample of EFIs produced using the new processes. Conduct and report the results of an explosive threshold test series on a standard material. Conduct high-G shock loading experiments to assess survivability at relevant conditions. Quantify cost savings and reliability improvements.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Mature and demonstrate the ability to fabricate prototypes that meet all performance and environmental requirements in order to transition as a drop in replacement for existing systems and support legacy systems, as well as emerging ones.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: exploding foil initiator, monolithic exploding foil initiator, EFI, direct header deposition, DHD, chip slapper


AF161-112
TITLE: Armament Life-cycle Status Monitoring Device


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: External non-invasive collection of environmental data on armament without modification. Self-powered RFID-like system with status sensor/analysis suite, memory/reader feeding logistics databases. Max G loading, min/max temperature data desirable.

DESCRIPTION: Most armament, both bomb and missile systems, are acquired as "wooden" rounds, intended to be stored indefinitely until retrieved for use. Though many have the capability to have a built-in-test performed to determine system status, few have any environmental monitoring capability to determine the number of hours spent in storage, on the flightline, on the aircraft, or in the air. This topic is looking for solutions to non-invasively collect this data without system modification. An RFID like system that is self-powered, has a sensor/analysis suite sophisticated enough to determine the status, and memory/reader system capable of feeding that information into the maintenance/logistics database, is sought. In addition to status information, additional information such as max G loading, min/max temperature, and such, would be useful in determining RM&A and life-cycle risks.

The technical challenges are threefold: 1) packaging the device small enough to be non-invasive from an aerodynamic and human factors perspective, 2) be robust enough to last the entire lifecycle of the weapon being monitored, and 3) require low enough power requirements for its operation to be self-sufficient. Ideally the device should be capable of storing the entire environmental history in on-board memory. Due to the varied geometries of the armament on which the device could be placed, it would be desirable for the device to be flexible enough to conform to various shapes. MEMS-based circuits, capable of sensing the vibrational environment, are expected for the sensor portion of the device though other concepts would be entertained. The analysis portion of the system should be capable of processing the sensor data and determining system status such as in storage, in flight, active/open-air storage, and ground handling. On-board data logs should include the amount of time spent in each status with a desired accuracy to within 10 minutes. Maximum and minimum values (such as the mentioned G-load, temperature) during defined events should be logged as well. Desired performance includes recording events with differing classes of G-loads, such as distinction between low loads/impacts (e.g., less than 2G), intermediate loads/impacts (e.g. greater than 2G, less than 10G), and high loads/impacts (e.g. great then 10G) with a false call rate of less than 5 percent. Desired accuracy for temperature measurements should be within 1 degree F. Ideally the data could be down loaded wirelessly similar to data from RFID tags. While no specific format has been specified for the data from the sensors, it must be readily configurable into a generic format that is readable by any data capture system. RMA requirements will be driven by the need to ensure the device is not destroyed during normal operational use, including the storage, maintenance, and flight environments. The goal is to ensure risks for weapons that are that are carried multiple times are identified and managed.

PHASE I: Determine options for self-contained, self-powered external sensor suite to meet desired performance. Primary sensor is expected to use vibrational environment to determine operational system state. Ancillary sensors pertinent to system reliability, e.g. thermal sensors, are of interest. Report should describe potential hardware modules, on-board analysis algorithms, and data management approach.

PHASE II: Primary objective of phase is to produce and demonstrate a working prototype. Sensors and analysis package should be able to determine when a weapon is in storage, transportation/maintenance, or airborne. Memory management and data transfer into a maintenance device should be demonstrated. Cost strategy for incorporation into weapons maintenance concepts should be presented.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Identification of fielding and application paths, to include program sponsors, should be identified. Clear user requirements should be developed and fielding courses of action generated. Finalization of design for sponsor applications accomplished. Verify design operational performance.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: environmental monitoring, reliability study, logistics monitoring


AF161-113
TITLE: Direct Measurement of Protection System Breakdown and Corrosion Processes within Aircraft Structures


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop sensors and monitoring systems for direct detection of coating protection system breakdown for aircraft structures.

DESCRIPTION: An embedded corrosion monitoring system suitable for aircraft would ideally be capable of detecting the loss of barrier and inhibiting properties of coatings (MIL-PRF-23377, MIL-PRF-85285) at airframe structural joints. The prototype would demonstrate feasibility of the basic measurement technique using a simple aluminum alloy test assembly to simulate a lap joint with an aircraft coating (primer MIL-PRF-23377, Class C2, and topcoat MIL-PRF-85285) tested in accelerated atmospheric corrosion test (ASTM G85-A5, or similar).

The direct measurement system should measure coating system condition and the onset of coating degradation within multi-layered aircraft structures. The breadboard prototype fabricated in Phase I system should detect coating system condition, and should be able of measuring percent inhibitor loss of 20 percent with a threshold of 20 percent with an accuracy of 10 percent of actual value, and capable of detecting a 5 mm long scribe or coating crack along a lap joint. The embedded corrosion monitoring system will need to be primarily compatible with conventional coatings and aluminum alloy structures, but future extensibility to specialty materials and composite structures of more advanced aircraft would be advantageous. The measurement system will produce direct measurements of coating condition and corrosion rate at coating defects. System intelligence will be built in to automate data processing for generation of actionable information indicating the extent and location of coating breakdown. The system will support automated coating condition diagnostics for anticipating inspection and maintenance actions. The system must be highly reliable and not create new inherent failure points on the structure. It must not present an additional maintenance burden, nor result in an unacceptable level of false positives.

The system should be designed to eventually integrate with maintenance or health monitoring network systems, to support Condition Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+). CBM+ is the application and integration of appropriate processes, technologies, and knowledge-based capabilities to achieve the target availability, reliability, and operation and support costs of DoD systems and components across their life cycle. Ideally, the system will not require aircraft power for long-term operation (5 - 8 years), and will support wireless data transmission. The embedded corrosion monitoring system including sensors, supporting electronics, power sources, and physical and electrical interfaces will be lightweight, small size, and cost effective to meet qualification and cost/benefit requirements.

PHASE I: Establish a preliminary design and build a prototype embedded corrosion measurement system for aircraft structures. Measurement system should be able to detect a seeded preexisting coating defect and an applied defect including coating crack and scribe. The system should be capable of measuring inhibitor loss and detecting scribes and coating cracks as per description.

PHASE II: Complete a prototype sensor and monitoring system for aircraft applications. Establish physical, electrical, and network communication interfaces needed for aircraft integration. Develop the data acquisition system, data processing algorithms, and user interface to demonstrate system performance in long-term accelerated corrosion tests and outdoor exposures using simulated air force structural component. Deliver prototype system for use in AFRL testing in accelerated corrosion test chamber.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Identification of fielding and application paths, to include program sponsors, should be identified. Clear user requirements should be developed and fielding courses of action generated. Finalization of design for sponsor applications accomplished.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: corrosion, aircraft structures, condition monitoring, aircraft maintenance


AF161-114
TITLE: Alternative Nondestructive Testing Inspection Method of In-service Aircraft Bolts and Wheels


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop and establish alternative and effective non-destructive inspection (NDI) methods for in-service bolt and wheels currently inspected by magnetic particle (MT) and penetrant testing (PT) methods.

DESCRIPTION: All in-service Air Force aircraft wheels and steel wheel bolts are to be inspected using MT and PT NDI methods when they are rebuilt or when required by any maintenance actions. The wheels and wheel bolts of critical support equipment wheels and bolts also require periodic inspections with these NDI methods also.

MT is the most currently the most common methods used for the inspection of aircraft wheel bolts. There are thousands of wheel bolts inspected daily in Air Force NDI labs, aerospace and industry. PT is the method most commonly used for inspecting in-service aircraft and critical support equipment wheels. The major drawback for each of these methods is the generation of hazardous waste and the inspection process is associated with costly equipment, maintenance hours, and support. Another main disadvantage of MT testing is the interpretation of results due to the accumulation of particles in the thread sections. An additional problem associated with PT testing is the improper stripping and cleaning of the wheels. This causes difficulty in removing excess penetrant and generates false calls.

MT and PT have been traditionally used as the NDI methods for in-service wheels and steel bolts. The complex geometry and the improper stripping discussed above dictate that better NDI methods should be developed and established. The proposed method should eliminate the generation of hazardous waste and by extension the expensive equipment used in MT and PT inspection systems. Initial research efforts showed there could be existing alternative methods, Processed Compensation Resonance Testing (PRCT) and Sonic Infrared (SIR), for this inspection. Current inspections rely on a hit/ miss analysis. The proposed method would follow the same pattern. For the proposed effort representative examples for wheels and wheel bolts can be used; however, if necessary, discarded examples could be provide to assist in the development and preliminary evaluation of these new methods.

PHASE I: Determine potential candidate methods and perform a feasibility demonstration showing the proposed method is capable of detecting damage. If applicable, a lab-grade breadboard prototype would be sufficient.

PHASE II: Continue development of feasibility demonstration from Phase I toward creation of prototype system. Through a proof-of-concept demonstration show that the capability can be meet when taking into account system throughput.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Prepare technology for military and commercial transition including hardening of beta system from Phase II to meet depot and field requirements.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: nondestructive testing inspection, non-destructive testing inspection, NDI, magnetic particle inspection, penetrant testing inspection, probability of detection


AF161-115
TITLE: Direct Measurement of Bondline Temperature During Composite Repair/Fabrication


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop improved methods to measure bond-line temperature during composite material repair or fabrication without introducing critical flaws or unduly increasing the burden/time to the repair technician.

DESCRIPTION: A better method is needed for assuring adhesives and pre-impregnated composites are fully cured during repair. Current methods for predicting if adhesives in composite materials are properly processed require the placement of multiple thermocouples around the repair site but external to the material being cured in order to avoid the introduction of a structural flaw. Even with multiple thermocouples around the repair it is difficult and sometimes impossible to assure the temperature requirements have been met at the bonding surface of the patch.

Because of the risk of failure to meet the required processing temperature, many repairs that could otherwise be managed in the field, must be returned to the depot, thereby denying access to the warfighter. Better methods are needed to measure the temperature in critical locations that are not easily verified by the current temperature measurement methods.

A solution is sought where temperature sensors could be placed at critical locations within the repair without creating a critical flaw in the repair or undue hardship on the repair technician. Further, the solution must not have any external wires or other components protruding from the repair bondline, and must be capable of providing output/feedback to monitor and control the heating of the repair in real-time. For example, one possible solution is to use temperature sensors that are small enough to be below the critical flaw size and use a magnetic field to non-destructively interrogate the sensors and provide readouts for interfacing with the hot bonder. It is theoretically possible to use such sensors to greatly improve the confidence in repairs. However, the ability to make such measurements is as yet unproven for the materials and processes required in the depot or field repair environments.

PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate proof-of-concept prototype that can measure bondline temperature of Air Force composite repairs and provide feedback to control the heating of repair. System shall be capable of measuring through glass, carbon, boron, or aramid fibers; measuring ambient temperature to 500 degrees F; wirelessly transmitting from bondline through approximately 0.150 in. of composite material.

PHASE II: Investigate accuracy and precision of the new system and determine if it exceeds current technology. Design and manufacture a working prototype that can interface with current commercial hot bonders, providing feedback for controlling the heating of the repair. Define field test objectives and conduct limited testing using composite structures similar to current aircraft composite structure/substructure. Assess the ability to field the system and its limitations. Perform a cost-benefit analysis.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Design and manufacture version ready for commercial sales. Develop and document procedures for operation, calibration and servicing.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: composites, bonding, bondline, temperature measurement, repair


AF161-116
TITLE: Rapid, Local Characterization of the Fatigue Crack Growth Behavior


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop an experimental method that can rapidly and cost-effectively characterize the local fatigue crack growth behavior in a metallic material to assess the impact of local microstructural variations.

DESCRIPTION: While metallic materials are thought to be homogeneous, they can contain significant variations in the material microstructure that results from variability in upstream processing that significantly impacts material performance. Titanium alloys, for example are prone to the development of microtexture wherein clusters of grains with similar crystallographic orientation persist over millimeter length scales.[1] These microtextured zones can significantly impact the fatigue crack growth rates – especially under loading conditions containing a tensile dwell period.[2-3] This phenomenon has contributed to a number of turbine engine incidents over the past 40 years yet a great deal of uncertainty remains. Thus, a more detailed assessment of the impact of material texture and microtexture on material performance is required.

Current research has concluded that the size, shape and intensity of the microtextured regions contribute to fatigue variability, but models to predict the growth of cracks from these regions will require better data to more accurately predict its effect.[4] Specifically, the degree and intensity of preferred orientation can significantly impact the local threshold stress intensity range for crack growth. Furthermore, the size of microtextured regions can be as large as several millimeters yet the material performance can be impacted by significantly smaller regions. Microtexture also appears to predominantly impact the plain strain crack growth behavior. The experimental technique(s) that are developed should be able to clearly measure the growth rate in individual regions as small as 0.5 mm. The technique(s) should allow for local, plain strain crack growth and/or crack growth threshold measurements that cannot be determined using conventional fracture mechanics specimens. The approach(es) should allow detailed fractography [3] of the crack path to quantify the mechanisms of crack growth. It is important that the technique(s) developed are cost effective and are not significantly more expensive than a standard crack growth test. The technique(s) should be able to include relevant loading characteristics that may include: temperature (elevated to cryogenic), atmosphere (e.g., ambient, high vacuum), and loading (constant amplitude–complex mission). The specific requirements could be best identified by a partner company.

It is envisioned that the technique(s) would be applicable to highly loaded, military and commercial aerospace structures. As such, the inclusion of an OEM partner early in the research will help to identify target applications for the technology and assist in the development of a suitable technology suite for broad applicability.

PHASE I: Develop an approach to rapidly interrogate the local crack growth behavior in a titanium alloy. Design and build a prototype to assess the feasibility of the methodology. A titanium alloy, e.g., Ti-6Al-4V, with suitable microtexture, up to 20 cubic inches, will be required and sourced either from a partner company or requested from the government TPOC.

PHASE II: Refine the experimental approach and demonstrate the capability of the approach to interrogate the local fatigue crack growth behavior under a range of loading conditions. During Phase II, identify and partner with an original equipment manufacturer that is concerned with the impact of local microstructure in the durability of their product. The contractor will need to verify and validate the cost effective technique approach over the range of loading conditions examined.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A rapid method to characterize the local crack growth behavior could find applications in several military and commercial aerospace sectors. The contractor will have to identify these markets and applications for the technology to develop a commercialization strategy.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: micro-texture, fatigue crack growth, local microstructure, cold dwell, titanium alloy


AF161-117
TITLE: Automated High Speed Grind for- High Pressure Compressor Blade Repair


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop an automated capability to identify/characterize surface damage in high pressure compressor (HPC) blades and apply high speed grinding operations to reliably and repeatably perform blend repairs in an Air Force depot environment.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force's Air Logistics Complex (ALC) at Tinker AFB, OK, is responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of all turbine engines within the Air Force fleet. Metallic HPC blades are a critical component in all jet engines and can incur erosional and impact damage during normal operation. During an engine MRO cycle these blades are routinely removed from the engine, cleaned, inspected, and either repaired or replaced based on the type of damage and the repair capability available.

A common repair technique is the use of high speed grinding to carefully blend out surface damage such as gouges, nicks, etc., primarily located on the leading and trailing edges of the blade. This is a time consuming and labor intensive process, highly reliant on individual operator skill level to accomplish acceptable removal of surface flaws. Current blend repair cycle times per blade are on the average order of 30 minutes per blemish. Typically, the ALC will identify and blend repair only several blades per month. In order to increase the depot's capability to perform blade repair in much higher part volumes, automation solutions will be necessary.

The Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center are interested in developing and deploying an automated system to identify/categorize surface defects on HPC blades and then perform high speed grinding blend repairs on these blades based on defect type, size and location. HPC blade materials of interest include both nickel and titanium alloys, and sizes range from 0.5 to 24 inches. Basic blade geometry is represented by a twisted airfoil shape attached to a mating, or fir tree, structure at one end. For this topic, only the airfoil portion of the blade is to be addressed with particular attention paid to leading and trailing edges. Defects types and sizes are more fully described in Ref. 1 and associated tech orders, but are predominantly scratches, nicks and surface gouges.

Successful solutions should be able to measure defect dimensions with a repeatable dimensional accuracy that is within 3.0 percent of actuals in order to minimize ground material removal. Defect identification/characterization can be performed either manually with defect location/type data input by the operator, or automatically using CAD and scanned data and defect analysis software. However, successful proposers will recognize the AF need to efficiently collect and analyze defect data as part of an overall Digital Thread /Digital Twin strategy. Additionally, potential proposers must propose and develop a system that could be implemented into the ALC environment at Tinker AFB. Power, size, cost and integration with existing/emerging depot capabilities are all factors that should be considered in any proposed solution. Sample HPC blades can be provided as GFP to winning proposers by the Air Force upon award. The Air Force will also make available representative tech orders and depot guides to blade repair.

PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate the feasibility of critical components of the system concept described above. System designs should include defect id/characterization methodology, automation hardware and software, additional hardware, and all required external interface components. Identify user facility requirements and high-risk technologies.

PHASE II: Develop, integrate and demonstrate the critical capabilities of the proposed system defined in Phase I to validate system performance against user requirements. Demonstrations should include a set of representative Air Force parts, environment and set-up of the final solution. Develop and document prototype system to Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 5-6 maturity as defined at www.dodmrl.com.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Continue prototype refinement and MRL maturity (to level 8) of the developed system to meet end user requirements for transition into the Air Force depot environments. End goal of Phase III activity is the delivery of system(s) to the end user for incorporation into their HPC blade repair facility.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: high spend grinding, automated blade repair, high pressure compressor, HPC, blade defect analysis, blade defect characterization, blend repair requirements, robotic grinding, robotic material handling, robotic material inspection


AF161-118
TITLE: Blade Repair of Integrally Bladed Disks (IBDs)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a repair for the blade tips/edges of integrally bladed disks (IBDs).

DESCRIPTION: Integrally bladed disks (IBDs) are highly desirable from a performance perspective and as such are now used in the fan and compressor sections of state-of-the-art military turbine engines. Unfortunately, they are also large, complex, extremely expensive, long lead items, which are subject to foreign object damage (FoD), making them difficult to maintain cost effectively. Development of a flexible and economic repair for IBD blade damage (beyond blending of minor nicks) has proven to be elusive. Efficient sustainment of engines employing IBDs requires that damaged blades can be repaired.

In a typical repair, the damaged blade tip or edge is machined away, a patch is welded on, any required post processing and heat treatment is accomplished, the patch is machined to match the original blade shape, and the repair is non-destructively inspected to ensure that the repair meets specifications. However, these state-of-the-art processes have yet to be qualified and there are numerous potential variations.

A successful proposal needs to identify a target IBD and the extent of damage that can be repaired. Alloys of interest are, Ti 6-4, Ti 6-2-4-2, Ti 6-2-4-6. In Phase I the various repair steps need to be demonstrated. Validation that the microstructure and properties of the repair are nominally equivalent to that of the parent material to within 10% is key. A Phase II award will not be made without this validation. A phase II effort, in addition to maturing and validating the repair, should evaluate the cost of repairs, seek to advance the manufacturing readiness level (MRL), and identify any remaining required qualification testing.

The proposed phase II effort should be gated (i.e. configured with sequential options). Each portion should have self-contained tasks, evaluation of TRL and MRL status, and specific milestone tests or accomplishments required for program continuation.

Teaming with a turbine engine manufacturer is highly recommended for insight into IBD performance, specifications, qualification testing, NDI requirements, cost estimates, and life management.

PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate the repair and any required post processing on coupons of the appropriate alloy with dimensions generally characteristic of the anticipated blade repair. Accomplish metallurgical characterization and mechanical testing sufficient to demonstrate that the repair has properties and microstructure that are nominally equivalent to the parent blade metal.

PHASE II: Mature the repair approach as appropriate. Accomplish mechanical characterization of repaired coupons, including HCF. Since government delivery of an actual IBD asset or sectioned blades cannot be guaranteed, demonstration of the repair, including final machining, may be conducted on, blades sectioned from an IBD, or appropriately machined and processed plate material supplied by the contractor. Accomplish repairs in a commercial facility to demonstrate MRL5.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Identify remaining qualification type testing and work with the engine OEM and government customer to accomplish it. Evaluate licensing and repair location options.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: integrally bladed disk, repair, welding, probabilistic technology


AF161-119
TITLE: Non-Destructive Inspection for Repaired Integrally Bladed Disk Airfoils


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop, demonstrate, and verify a non-destructive inspection (NDI) technique to assess the integrity and microstructure state of repaired integrally bladed disk (IBD) airfoils.

DESCRIPTION: Integrally bladed disks (IBDs) are highly desirable from a performance perspective and as such are now used in the fan and compressor sections of state-of-the-art military turbine engines. IBDs are unique in their design as the airfoil and the disk which they are attached is of one piece construction. Unfortunately, they are also large, complex, extremely expensive, long lead items, which are subject to foreign object damage (FoD), making IBDs difficult to maintain affordably. Efficient sustainment of engines employing IBDs requires that damaged airfoils can be repaired. Development of a flexible and economical repair for IBD airfoil damage that is beyond blending of minor nicks is under development, and a key need is to also develop, demonstrate, and implement the non-destructive inspection (NDI) technology to assess the integrity of the repaired airfoil. Specifically, the technique needs to verify that the repaired region has a suitable microstructure, and is free from internal and external flaws.

In a typical repair, the damaged portion of the airfoil tip or edge is machined away. If the degree of damage is relatively small, the repair restoration can be accomplished using additive type processing methods. If the damage is more significant, a patch is welded on. In both cases, post processing heat treatment is accomplished to restore as much of the original microstructure as possible to minimize mechanical property knock-down. The repaired region is final machined to restore the original blade shape and then nondestructively inspected to ensure that the repair meets specifications. The materials of interest for this topic's effort are titanium alloys Ti-64 (Ti-6Al-4V) and Ti-6242 (Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-2Mo).

This Phase I and Phase II effort is not to develop repair methods. The technical challenge for this Phase I and Phase II is the NDI method for validation of the repaired microstructure that is perceived to be the more difficult task, although the detection of internal and surface flaws is also important.

The proposed Phase II effort should be gated (i.e., configured with sequential options). Each portion should have self-contained tasks, evaluation of technology readiness level (TRL) status, and specific milestone tests or accomplishments required for program continuation.

Teaming with a turbine engine manufacturer is highly recommended for insight into IBD specifications, NDI requirements, and life management. While the solution sought is an NDI solution, it is also recommended the proposer have a strong metallurgical background in general and a deep understanding of titanium alloy materials in particular.

PHASE I: Identify inspection requirements for the selected IBD airfoil repair. Explore NDI options and their capabilities and limitations. Develop or tailor the NDI technique as required to demonstrate the feasibility to characterize the microstructure within the repair zone. Identify technology gaps and uncertainties to achieving accurate microstructure characterization. Define the Phase II plan.

PHASE II: Mature and optimize the NDI technique, demonstrate ability to accurately characterize the microstructure in the repair zone. Desired metrics to achieve are microstructure property estimation within 10 percent of actual to include bulk and near-surface estimations of grain properties and the presence of internal and surface flaws. Validate the results via metallurgical characterization. Identify remaining technology gaps and uncertainties in signal processing and analysis, equipment and modeling.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop system prototype inspection system and demonstrate TRL7/MRL7. Perform a reliability assessment first in a relevant environment and then in an operational environment in accordance with MIL-HDBK-1823. The objective is to transition the capability for engine OEM and Air Force depot NDE.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: nondestructive inspection, non-destructive inspection, NDI, integrally bladed disk, repair, sustainment


AF161-120
TITLE: Development of a High-Temperature Bond Coat for Environmental Barrier Coatings on SiC/SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate bond-coat for environmental barrier coatings (EBC) on silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide matrix composites (CMC) that can protect substrate in a combustion environment while maintaining 2700 degrees F at EBC-CMC interface.

DESCRIPTION: Silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide ceramic-matrix composites (SiC/SiC CMCs), by virtue of low density and high-temperature capability, are prime candidates for turbine engine hot-section components. However, they are thermodynamically unstable in combustion environments. Not only are they susceptible to oxidation, but the silica oxidation product volatilizes via Si(OH)x in the presence of water vapor at high temperatures and pressures.[1]

To minimize SiC and SiO2 recession due to volatilization, EBCs have been developed to protect the substrate from the products of combustion and minimize volatilization of silicon hydroxides.[2-4] While minimizing the effects of environmental degradation, it is unknown whether current EBCs are capable of protecting CMCs over their intended design life of approximately 2000 h in the combustion environment of advanced turbine engines, where component surface temperatures are predicted to reach 3000 degrees F.

Furthermore, EBCs are expected to function as a thermal barrier coating to maintain a 2700 degrees F interface and substrate temperatures for cooled CMC components. One critical aspect of the coating system is the need for a bond coat to ensure strong adhesion of the oxide EBC to the SiC/SiC CMC. State-of-the-art EBC systems rely mainly on a silicon-based alloy as the bond coat; however, the temperature of the EBC-CMC interface is expected to exceed the melting point of these alloys. Innovative materials and process solutions are sought for the development of a bond coat that will ensure survivability of advanced EBC systems on SiC/SiC CMCs for use well above the melting point of silicon.

The proposer should conduct a detailed literature search to identify key issues associated with the development of advanced EBCs for SiC/SiC CMCs. Selection and processing of a successful bond coat will be strongly influenced by the fiber and matrix constituents of the CMC substrate and the EBC system; therefore, teaming with a CMC manufacturer and turbine engine manufacturer is highly recommended. Commercialization plans and qualification requirements should be established to offer these new techniques to the aerospace industry for evaluation and qualification in Phase III. Government-furnished property will not be provided for this topic.

PHASE I: Identification and proof of concept of a bond coat for an advanced EBC on a SiC/SiC CMC must be demonstrated in a high moisture containing, oxidizing atmosphere (50 percent water, 50 percent air) at 2700 degrees F, which will serve as a representative combustion environment. Demonstration of proof of concept must include thermal cycling to 2700 degrees F.

PHASE II: Demonstration and optimization of a bond coat for an advanced EBC on a SiC/SiC CMC. Demonstration of temperature capability of 2700 degrees F under thermal cycling in simulated combustion environment such as a burner rig or actual turbine engine. Successful bond coat performance will correspond to life times on the order of 200 h at 2700 degrees F.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: EBC bond coat technology should be made available to the turbine engine companies and CMC industry at large. CMCs are applicable to military engine hot-section components. They are also in development for commercial applications such as for power turbines and commercial aircraft engine components.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: ceramic matrix composites, CMC, environmental barrier coating, EBC, bond coat, process modeling, combustion environment, turbine engine


AF161-121
TITLE: NDI Tool for Heat Damage Detection in Composites


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop correlations of FTIR signature to material property degradation induced by heat damage for BMI 5250-4/IM7. Transition a turn-key BMI composite heat damage detection technology and state-of-the-art reference standards to Air Force and Navy.

DESCRIPTION: Composite structures are becoming more prevalent throughout the Air Force as aircraft designers implement composites to save weight, improve range, and enhance structural integrity. However, heat damage to composites can result in a significant degradation of the material's mechanical properties and in turn jeopardize the structural integrity of the aircraft. Most non-destructive inspection (NDI) methods (specifically ultrasonics) are used to identify structural deficiencies in composites, such as disbonds and delaminations, yet most are insensitive to thermal damage before the formation of delaminations. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) has shown proof-of-principal potential as a non-destructive method capable of detecting and quantifying heat damage in composites. However, this type of spectroscopy has traditionally been limited to benchtop or bulky devices that are not suitable for on-aircraft inspection. This program would expand the use of FTIR for BMI 5250-4/IM7 composite materials using a portable technology capable for use in depot and field environments.

BMI 5250-4/IM7 composite panels shall be manufactured (using a 16 ply quasi-isotropic layup composed of tape nominal thickness of approximately 0.096 inces) and exposed for a consistent time for each panel (anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour) to a range of elevated constant temperatures (using two-sided heat exposure methods) with the intent of degrading the BMI resin and therefore material strength properties. Matrix dominant mechanical property testing (such as Short Beam Shear and Unnotched Compression) shall be correlated to FTIR surface measurements to develop reliable and reproducible correlations of FTIR signature to material properties including addressing any variance in signal stability and sensitivity as a function of time and location of the measurement.

PHASE I: Demonstrate the feasibility of FTIR for identification and quantification of heat damage for 5250-4/IM7 using a portable FTIR system. Fabricate BMI panels, perform C-scan UT NDI for QC purposes, & conduct FTIR measurements & some mechanical tests on baseline & limited thermal exposure conditions. Identify a mechanical test approach & correlation philosophy for detailed correlations in Phase II.

PHASE II: Expose BMI panels to temps from 50 degrees F below Tg to 200 degrees F above Tg. Perform FTIR, UT & mechanical tests on damaged panels. Develop mathematical relationship to reliably/automatically correlate material strength & FTIR signature, include algorithms to establish acceptable limits based on percent correlated strength loss from heat damage. Validate algorithms by exposing BMI panels to wide range of heat damage. Establish statistical estimates of material property correlation accuracy.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop turn-key methodology for commercially available FTIR system, reference standards, data & training to transition the solution. Establish & document a standard methodology to develop correlations of heat exposure, mechanical properties & FTIR measurements for other composite material systems.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: NDI, composites, heat damage, structural integrity, non-destructive inspection, nondestructive inspection


AF161-122
TITLE: Novel Moderate Temperature Polymeric Absorbing Material


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Formulate and characterize a novel moderate temperature (upper-bound temperature = 650 degrees F) spray-applied polymeric, absorbing material for hot engine exhaust washed environments.

DESCRIPTION: The maintainability of specialty materials used on advanced fighter and bomber aircraft is the top driver of non-mission capability rates for those platforms, accounting for as much as 30-50 percent of the overall maintenance downtime. Moderately high service temperature (400-650 degrees F) coatings are one example of these specialty materials. The performance of these moderately high service temperature specialty materials used on advanced fighter and bomber aircraft has been historically poor. The failures of these materials have resulted in high non-mission capability rates and high maintenance costs to the platforms.

Recently the Air Force has refined its understanding of the environmental variables for hot engine exhaust wash environments, leading to a better definition of the requirements for specialty materials used in these areas. These revised requirements provide an opportunity for the development of novel moderate temperature polymeric specialty coating that can be spray-applied and cured similarly to other polymeric coatings used on the aircraft outer-mold line.

PHASE I: Develop a polymeric absorbing coating serviceable -65 < T < 650 degrees F. Must be traditional spray applied (~10 mil) to bare composite/Ti substrates with environmental conditions of 60-80°F & 45-65% RH. Preferred cure < 24 h (ambient), or max forced cure < 250°F. ID all required primers/adhesion promoters. Deliver 4 formulations max w/spec sheets, applied to at least 5 1'x1' panels (per formulation).

PHASE II: Extend application EnCon to 50-95 degrees F & 35-85 percent RH. ID cure/property trade-offs. Validate resistance to standard and platform specific fluids (aircraft fuels, hydraulic oils, etc). Demo scalability to batches > 10 gal w/< 10 percent variability in physical properties. Provide an ROI and/or cost benefit analysis. Deliver 2 formulation variations max w/spec sheets, applied to at least 5 2'x2' panels (per variation), ROI, trade-study, cost benefit analysis and detailed scale-up plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Qualification activities shall be performed. Other activities leading up to a T-2 flight test shall be performed.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: engine exhaust, OML, polymer resin, sustainment, coating


AF161-123
TITLE: MQ-9 Lightweight Anti-Ice/De-Ice Solution


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Provide an improved understanding of how adverse weather conditions impact the flying conditions for remotely powered aircraft (RPA). Develop and conclusively demonstrate a lightweight anti-ice/de-ice solution for the MQ-9 RPA.

DESCRIPTION: Due to the urgent need for the combat capability of the MQ-9, the system was fielded without a complete understanding of the mechanism of ice formation at the altitudes flown by the MQ-9. Due to the lack of this data, the Air Force imposed conservative flight restrictions in order to reduce the risk to the weapons system. Therefore, an improved understanding of the effects of weather on the flight of the MQ-9 is needed. From there, an alternate technology will be identified and incorporated onto the MQ-9 to provide the needed anti-icing/deicing capabilities during flight. While prior Air Force programs have identified possible passive solutions, none have provided the amount of anti-icing required in flight for the MQ-9. Additionally, current ongoing active anti-icing technology programs require more power to be use that desired by the MQ-9. Thus, it is desired that this new technology be either passive in nature or have minimal power requirements in flight.

Precipitation adversely affects aircraft performance and reduces visibility. If conditions permit, pilots should minimize exposure to all types of precipitation during all phases of flight. If precipitation cannot be avoided, pilots should maximize climb or descent rate to exit potential or actual icing conditions.[1]

Pilots should not conduct flight into forecast moderate or worse icing and will minimize conduct of flight into known icing conditions to the maximum extent possible. If encountering icing, pilots should maneuver the aircraft to exit the icing conditions. Consideration will be given to turning the EO/IR sensor aft to prevent ice formation on the lens face and thus allow use of the sensors to scan flight surfaces and the visual ice detector for ice build-up.[1]

Based on these restrictions, the MQ-9s experience significant impacts to operations every year. These weather impacts involve icing conditions as they pertain to the aircraft, the route of flight, and the route of flight for the emergency mission. The emergency mission is a pre-programmed route of flight that the aircraft will fly in the event that it loses link with its command and control link.
Over the years, a few capabilities were developed to potentially alleviate these restrictions; however these were unsuccessful as the baseline icing analysis was never completed. In order to solve this problem, it is first necessary to conduct an analysis of how ice forms on the MQ-9. Once this analysis is complete, an alternate technology will be identified and incorporated onto test panels/aircraft parts that will prevent/shed the ice to provide the proof of concept for this technology. Finally, these systems can be integrated into the MQ-9 and tested to demonstrate functionality.

The solution must demonstrate a capability to accomplish this and a clear path to transition this capability onto an MQ-9. The MQ-9 is operated with zero excess power and weight for stores. Whenever anything is added to the platform, something must be removed (i.e. fuel, sensors, stores). Therefore, it is not desirable to have to power down sensors and mission systems in exchange for anti-ice/de-ice systems. Thus, a passive solution and/or a very low power active one is sought.

PHASE I: Either leverage existing analysis or conduct a new baseline MQ-9 icing characterization and propose a potential solution to the problem. Part of the output should include technical analysis of icing shapes as they pertain to the MQ-9 airframe and the proposed effect of the solution system. This data will be provided by the MQ-9 Program Office.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system or subsystem demonstrating the techniques for prevention and/or shedding of ice on the MQ-9. The prototype will be tested in appropriate environments in order to ascertain its utility and viability.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential customers include Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Special Operations Command, NASA, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: MQ-9, anti-ice, de-ice, aircraft icing, active deicing, unmanned aircraft vehicles, remotely powered vehicles, active coatings, passive coatings


AF161-124
TITLE: Accelerated Adhesive Cure for Nutplate Repair


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Develop a technique that provides a controlled temperature profile to an adhesive bondline (under a nutplate) so as to cure the adhesive in 4hrs while meeting the same requirements as those of the adhesive cured for 24 hours at room temperature.

DESCRIPTION: Nutplates are used on several military aircraft to secure fasteners when there is limited or no access to the backside of the fastener at the time of installation. A bonded nutplate is a metal nut with a base plate attached to which a two-part adhesive is applied to bond the plate to a surface.[1] When bonded nutplates fail, it can take over 24 hours to affect a repair, in large part due the time it takes to cure the adhesives used in these applications (i.e., two-part epoxy-based systems that require 24 hours to cure at room temperature).

This 24 hours of curing time is necessary for the adhesive to develop the strength require to hold the nutplate in place while the bolt is then torqued and the two surfaces drawn together (e.g., an access panel reattached to an aircraft). This wait time can negatively impact the aircraft’s availability for missions and is the driver for this topic.

What is desired is a technique and/or process that can provide a controlled elevated temperature cure schedule profile to the adhesive bondline (under the nutplate) so as to adequately cure the adhesive in 4 hours or less. A feedback temperature control mechanism needs to be in place so that the desired temperature profile can be maintained irrespective of underlying substructure which can vary from place to place on the aircraft (targeting under 180 degrees F for the maximum cure temperature with a mechanism in place to insure that the temperature does not exceed 200 degrees F). Heating methods, for example, may include but are not limited to hot air, electric blankets, induction, etc., but the resulting cured adhesive must meet the same original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements (e.g., shear, torque, peel, impact strengths) as those of the adhesive cured for 24 hours at room temperature.

Reinstalling (i.e., rebonding) nutplates will typically occur on the aircraft, meaning that the ability to remove parts from the aircraft will be limited, therefore in many instances getting access to the surface of the substrate that the nutplate will be bonded to will be challenging (i.e., confined/restricted access), thus any technique developed will have to be able to work within these restrictions. In addition, as these repairs may be performed on-aircraft, they must be safe to operate under these conditions (e.g., meet explosion proof criteria as jet fuel vapors may be present). Proposals considering new resin/adhesive chemistry will not be considered due to the high cost of qualifying new adhesives. Partering with prime contractors/OEMs is highly encouraged to support transition pathways.

PHASE I: Develop a prototype technique/process and demonstrate the feasibility that it has the capability to meet the above requirements. Mechanical testing on the adhesive could include shear strength, peel strength and impact strength. Develop business case analysis and transition plan.

PHASE II: Further develop the technique/process and demonstrate in a field (on-aircraft) representative environment or on a simulated aircraft part. Perform testing on bonded nutplates to include pushout and torque out testing. Refine business case analysis and transition plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Production and repair of military aircraft as well as future military air vehicles. Commericial Application: Potential pervasive technology that will find utility in both military and commercial aircraft in the joining of composites.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: adhesive, nutplate, on-aircraft repair


AF161-125
TITLE: Self-Referencing Positioning System


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Integrate a novel and innovative, spatial positioning system with an existing, commercially available 3D non-destructive evaluation (NDE) system to provide precisely positioned measurement sets suitable for use in change detection.

DESCRIPTION: A fifth-generation fighter aircraft program has developed a handheld NDE imaging tool for use on aircraft. A small, light-weight, self-referencing positioning system that can accurately determine its position in space (x, y, z) and orientation (pitch, yaw, roll) is required. Current state-of-the-art systems provide acceptable positional accuracy, but require unacceptable system bulk, weight, and lack CE/ATEX certification.

The goal of this effort is to meet positional capabilities required to perform the inspection with hardware suitable for a flightline or carrier environment (inside or outside), including size, form, portability, and certification for use around fueled aircraft in day or night.

The positioning system must have 6-DOF accuracy at < 1mm, update rate minimum of 30 Hz, and be Class I Division 2 and CE/ATEX certified for use around fueled aircraft. The positioning system is required to operate in areas where vibration is occurring such as on a carrier deck. The positioning system must continually register the NDE tool in time and space on the outer surface of the aircraft during use, in the aircraft coordinate system. Information/location processing should be accomplished in near-real time. A capability to use known locations on a given aircraft to inherently place the system in aircraft coordinates without requiring a separate aircraft alignment step is a preferable optional capability.

The positioning system can be all inclusive to the NDE tool or it may include ancillary equipment not on the NDE tool to assist in determining the spatial, orientation and temporal attitude of the system. The use of multiple modalities of information such as accelerometers, LIDAR, IMUs, stereo cameras, lasers and optics is acceptable to properly to obtain the required self-referencing information. A system that does not rely on line-of-sight communication is preferable, or one which can elegantly overcome line-of-sight blockage. Systems that propose aircraft contact as part of positioning (i.e., targets) are permissible but will be required to demonstrate that the system does not damage the aircraft surface. Off-aircraft systems such as tripods that require work zones to be set up around the aircraft are unacceptable as they may interfere with high-tempo aircraft sortie operations occurring in limited space environments.

The entire positioning system should be optimized to minimize the number/weight of individual components including shipping and storage containers. The containers should be designed to allow for a one person lift not to exceed 40 lbs (preferred) or a two person lift not to exceed 75 lbs. No specialized tools should be used to set up, operate, or maintain the positioning system. The positioning system must be able to operate and not impede other concurrent aircraft maintenance actions while the handheld NDE tool and the positioning system are employed. The positioning system must be capable of operation without external power for a 4-hour work shift while maintaining CE/ATEX compliance.

The positioning system must be capable of using alternate aircraft alignment points in case of the area to be inspected coincides with an alignment point. While the primary application is for a fifth-generation fighter size aircraft, it is desired that the positioning system should also be capable of scaling and integration into multiple platforms.

Use/modification/integration of commercial-off-the-shelf technology to meet these high performance requirements is encouraged.

Collaboration/teaming with prime contractors/OEMs is encouraged to facilitate transition.

PHASE I: Demonstrate a proof-of-concept device to required accuracy or demonstrate plan /path forward to achieve required accuracy. Develop technology transition plan and business case assessment. Develop plan for technology integration, test and validation with specified NDE tools.

PHASE II: Demonstrate measurement accuracy in 6-DOF with aircraft coordinates using a prototype in a relevant (preferably operational) environment. Update transition plan and business case assessment. Finalize plan for integration, test and validation with specified NDE tools.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize ruggedized commercial design and obtain certifications (i.e., UL/CE) required for use in an operational environment. Complete integration, test and validation with specified NDE tools. Finalize manufacturing/commercialization plan and business case.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: nondestructive evaluation, NDE, self referencing, positioning system, non-destructive evaluation


AF161-126
TITLE: Structrual High Power Microwave, Nuclear and Electromagnetic Pulse Protection of Organic Matrix Composite and Ceramic Materials for Munitions


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Nuclear Technology

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Novel materials development, scale-up, and demonstration focused on providing protection from Nuclear EMP, Nuclear Particle, HPM effects and thermal management as a form fit replacement of traditional BMI, Epoxy or ceramic structural materials.

DESCRIPTION: New materials concepts for structurally integrated nuclear particle, high power microwave, and nuclear electromagnetic pulse protection organic matrix composites and ceramics subjected to high temperature environments. Materials submitted in this topic should be suitable for use on munitions systems.

New systems will require compliance with MIL-STDs, such as 464, 3023, to meet the ever-changing mission environment. The metrics defined in the unclassified portion of the listed MIL-STDs will be used as evaluation criteria for the Phase I. This topic is to address gaps in current organic matrix composites and ceramics to meet requirements such as those in the MIL-STDs list above. Specific relevant testing can be found in the "The Nuclear Matters Handbook, Expanded Edition" Appendix G4.1.[3] Materials proposed will be need to be producible in large quantities, affordable, maintainable, and sustainable.

Historically, efforts have focused on providing one of the characteristics above, this effort is to provide all simultaneously while maintaining a weight near that of current organic matrix and ceramic materials. While one to two in thick steel could provide the desired shielding and thermal barrier properties; this effort seeks lightweight materials as a part of the engineering trade space with a minimum 50 percent weight reduction required.

Dual-use applications include materials that could be of use in shielding commercial aircraft and commercial spacecraft from cosmic radiation and harsh natural electromagnetic environments.

PHASE I: Propose, develop and demonstrate flat coupons of scientifically relevant size (12 in x 12 in min.) to measure the performance of the organic matrix composite and ceramic matrix composite under neutron, electron, hot x-ray, cold x-ray, thermal load, and electromagnetic environments. A design of experiments with specific materials should be proposed, not just a review of the literature.

PHASE II: Build and demonstrate complex shapes of scientifically relevant size, in representative configurations, to measure the performance of the organic matrix composite and ceramic matrix composite under neutron, electron, hot x-ray, cold x-ray, thermal load, and electromagnetic environments. Material should be a down select from the design of experiment in Phase I. Specific platform based guidance for geometry will be provided in Phase II.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate the materials from the Phase II in a relevant environment and work with appropriate program office for transition and ground based simulated flight testing. Potential dual-use applications include shielding aircraft and spacecraft from cosmic radiation and electromagnetic environments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: electromagnetic pulse, nuclear, high power microwave, composite, organic matrix composite, ceramic, ceramic composite


AF161-127
TITLE: Chromium-Free Flexible Primer


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop replacement for high Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), chromium-containing polysulfide flexible aerospace primer.

DESCRIPTION: The Environmental Protection Agency has issued rigid guidance to reduce, and ultimately eliminate chromium in aerospace protective coatings, with intent to protect the environment and workforce health. The most effective flexible primer in use on aircraft throughout DoD is a high VOC, chromate polysulfide primer. Standard epoxy and polyurethane primers provide protection of smaller aircraft, but significant flexure on large aircraft structures leads to coating cracks around the seams and fasteners. These coating cracks expose the metallic substrates allowing penetration from water and other corrosion causing chemicals. The resulting corrosion damages both the aircraft’s skin and surrounding coating causing significant time and manpower to remove the corrosion, repair any damage, and reapply protective coatings.

A VOC compliant (350 g/L) chromium-free flexible primer will allow for more durable and longer lasting protection for the large aircraft which make up a significant portion of the Air Force fleet. Further, such a primer would be the final piece in a completely chromium-free outer mold line coating system comprised of a surface pretreatment, flexible primer, and topcoat. Proposed coatings must be free of chromium and cadmium, capable of enduring 60 percent elongation without cracking before and after 3000 hrs of Xenon-arc exposure, incorporate a proven non-chromate corrosion inhibitor, be compatible with standard Air Force coating equipment, and comply with relevant EPA and OSHA standards for aerospace coatings. The primer must also be combined with a suitable chromium-free pretreatment and top coat, and meet the requirements of MIL-PRF-32239A.

PHASE I: Develop at least one laboratory formulation for a high-flexibility, VOC compliant (350 g/L), chrome-free primer. Demonstrate that the primer when teamed with a suitable non-chromate pretreatment and topcoat can pass the flexibility and dry time requirements of MIL-PRF-32239A, Type 1, Class 2, Grade 1.

PHASE II: Modify the best formulations from Phase I and demonstrate the primers when teamed with a suitable non-chromate pretreatment and topcoat can pass standard DoD corrosion tests (as described in MIL-PRF-32239A and MIL-PRF-23377) while still passing the requirements from Phase I.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Select the best coating systems from Phase II, mature the formulation, and demonstrate performance in a relevant environment. Generate a five-gallon batch and deliver to the government for further testing. Develop and deliver plans for scale-up and large-scale production.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: flexible, primer, aerospace, coating, corrosion, paint, chrome-free


AF161-128
TITLE: Materials Processing for Heterogeneous Integration of Optical Isolators


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop materials processing techniques for heterogeneous integration of high performance magneto-optical materials into integrated optics substrates, such as Silicon and Indium Phosphide.

DESCRIPTION: It is becoming increasing clear that heterogeneous integration of optical materials and devices will be needed in order or integrated optics to achieve the performance desired in DoD systems. There does not exist one material that by itself can perform all the optical processing functions needed, and also be the material of choice as the integration platform. Therefore a toolkit of heterogeneously integrated materials and devices is needed, and one critical device is the optical isolator.

Optical isolators use the magneto-optic effect to achieve optical isolation, and only a few materials have the necessary magnitude of magneto-optic response, typically they are magneto-optic glasses such as terbium oxide or terbium gallium garnet (TGG). A process is needed for accurate placement within the integrated optical circuit at length scales that are typically in the micron range. Device sizes will most likely be tens of microns, or possibly a few hundred microns, but material dimensions and placement will be on the micron scale due to alignments with small core optical waveguides. Device geometries will have small and precise form factors, therefore large area deposition techniques are typically not desired. A qualitative metric proportional to the magneto-optic coefficient, inversely proportional to linear loss at 1.55 microns wavelength, and qualitatively proportional to processing results will be used.

Of critical importance will be the placement and choice of the permanent magnets for the DC magnetic field.

PHASE I: Demonstration of machining, milling, fabrication, or any other technique for the creation of optical quality (less than 1 db/cm bulk optical loss) magneto-optic materials with Verdet constant greater than -40 rad/T-m, with dimensions of less than 300 microns x 50 microns x 10 microns. Develop a plan for integration onto chosen integrated photonics substrate.

PHASE II: Demonstration of an optical isolator device on a silicon, InP, or other integrated optical circuit waveguide. Insertion loss less than 6 db at 1.55 microns wavelength, isolation ratio of 20dB. Although no restrictions are placed on overall device size, compatibility with integrated photonics will be assessed. The permanent magnet will also be a key consideration, at this stage.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Insertion into a foundry level process completed at a national facility. Device must have MRL 7 at end of Phase III and be available for use in the photonics community.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: integrated photonics, optical isolators, magneto-optic materials


AF161-129
TITLE: Certification Modeling for Composites with Voids and Wrinkles for Engines and Structures


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Model the effects of voids/wrinkles on interlaminar strength and fatigue, detect defect locations, test curved specimens, and develop void/wrinkle generation models for composite structures to improve part integrity and reduce rejection rates.

DESCRIPTION: Voids and wrinkles are pervasive concerns in the processing of composite parts. Thick, curved composite structures present known processing difficulties causing inferior structural integrity and rejection rates. For example, rejection rates as high as 75 percent are occurring in rate production of the F135 polymer matrix composite (PMC) STOVL duct due to the manufacturing defects (voids and wrinkles) in the greater than 0.35 inch-thick, 90-degree curved flange sections. Similarly, a baseline PMC composite stator section of F135 is experiencing wrinkling/void and associated integrity problems, and a metallic replacement if required would cause a very substantial weight penalty.

Ceramic matrix composite (CMC) parts are often made from PMC materials which are pyrolized, leading to even more severe issues of the same types; coupled with comparatively immature processing science for CMCs, the needs for modeling the generation and structural effects of voids/wrinkles are magnified in CMCs. Best-of-industry CMC materials display wide variabilities in mechanical performance, and unexpected failures have occurred on prominent engine development programs.

However, the promise of higher turbine engine temperatures and thrust-to-weight ratios available to engines utilizing CMCs, leading to lower specific fuel consumption and greater aircraft range, have led to major investments in CMC technologies by all major aircraft engine manufacturers. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner experienced early production stoppage due to wrinkles in the composite fuselage[1,2]. CMC parts are also targeted for structural applications for hot section areas, especially as next-generation aircraft are considered.

The effects of voids/wrinkles on interlaminar strength may be substantial. There is no consensus on the accept/reject criteria for assessing the effects of porosity on strength and fatigue performance, owing in part from the difference of porosity size, shape and location upon fatigue performance[3-5]. Voids may be generated by reactions associated with the curing process, as well as by air entrapment in the layup process of autoclaved parts, and/or infusion processes of low-temp cure parts. Wrinkles result from a combination of handling and in-cure material instabilities related to, e.g., outgassing of volatiles, the latter also leading to voids if gases cannot escape.

This topic seeks to understand and minimize the generation of void and wrinkling defects, as well as understanding their effects on structural integrity such that useful accept/reject criteria can be developed leading to the minimum conservatism in rejection criteria. This may be accomplished by a combination of theoretical and experimental means, assessing the effects of measured thermodynamic state variables upon void growth and wrinkling coupled with the deformation and ultimately failure of the structure. Due to irregular profile geometries of actual industry parts, as well as assessing the effects of instabilities and load path disturbances due to voids and wrinkles, the capability to capture rotational (large) deformation is advantageous. Algorithmic efficiencies and error monitoring strategies will be assessed within the described context. Due to the observed effects of defect location, size and shape upon structural behavior, modeling of critical discrete defects is preferred, though it may not be possible to model all defects individually.

In Phase II, the contractor will be provided with specimens by the Air Force, to be tested and imaged for representing the location, sizes and shapes of voids and wrinkles, to correlate with structural integrity models. The geometric data will be transferred to CAD/FE mesh-based descriptions for further analysis by the proposer, as well as for related purposes by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

PHASE I: An analysis method capable of modeling effects of composite wrinkling/void generation, growth and motion, air entrapment, as well as static and fatigue integrity in curved parts, will be outlined and preliminary features demonstrated. The method must reflect coupling of: void and wrinkling initiation and growth, thermodynamic state, total deformation.

PHASE II: A modeling/testing program incorporating void and/or wrinkling will assess flaws versus change of strength/fatigue performance of thick, curved composite structures. Testing should of a scope to provide validation within the program budget and may be limited to void or wrinkle flaws. The model will be capable of comparing flaw evolution/location to air entrapment/handling causes, quantifiably address uncertainties in properties, and will be used to predict performance of curved test specimens.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A technology transition plan shall be addressed focusing on implementing the model into commercial-off-the-shelf finite element analysis tools for further composite process modeling or damage progression predictions.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: void, wrinkle, porosity, composite, thick, nucleation, strength, fatigue


AF161-130
TITLE: Innovative Application and Modifications of Scanning Kelvin Probe Technologies for Measurement of Coating Degradation and Detection of Corrosion


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Investigate enhancements and augmentations of Scanning Kelvin Probe (SKP)-based techniques as means of characterizing and quantifying the degradation of protective coatings and detecting corrosion.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force has a recognized need for a nondestructive evaluation tool that assesses the condition of aircraft outer mold line (OML) urethane and epoxy coatings and for detecting corrosion in multi-layer structure. An ideal technique should be capable of visualizing and mapping degradation and corrosion processes, be quantifiable, and be amenable to development into field-deployable systems.

The SKP is a novel, non-destructive inspection technique that has been used to investigate the electrochemical properties of surfaces, coatings and polymers over the last 20 years. The SKP technique has been used to measure the difference in the work function of polymers adsorbed to solid substrates by using a backing potential to null the current between the sample substrate and a vibrating probe electrically connected to the substrate and positioned close to the sample surface. This difference in work function between the non-contact scanning Kelvin probe and the underlying substrate is defined as the contact potential difference. The utility of the SKP technique in the laboratory to characterize changes in molecular conformation in adsorbed organic layers at the air/solution interface and on solid substrates has been demonstrated, and changes in the alkyl chain lengths of polymers and their terminal groups have also been determined using the SKP technique.

Additional studies using a SKP have been used to determine the interfacial diffusion of water through epoxy adhesives on iron substrates as a function of the chemical structure/functional groups of polymers within a coating, demonstrating in practice, it is possible to measure the potential differences at very small scales using a SKP technique. For the Air Force application of interest, the correlation of contact potentials with the susceptibility of materials to undergo hydrolysis or reversion before and during the process is highly desirable. The ability to locate and measure the degradation and change in polymer chemistry in a coating in a non-destructive manner prior to its physical change is compelling. This ability would allow the SKP technique to be used as a screening tool for the detection of reversion of the polyurethane in the coating stack up.

While traditional SKP technologies have many positive features including refinements that could enable field-deployable units, the SKP has no or very limited demonstration in terms of quantifying coatings degradation and corrosion. Additional refinements and augmentations in the underlying SKP instrumentation, techniques, and protocols to would enable an augmented SKP (or hybrid-SKP) capability to demonstrate the ability to detect, quantify, and visualize coating degradation and corrosion processes in multi-layer stack-ups.

Innovative application of SKP-based technology is of primary interest, while innovations are sought in techniques, protocols, methodologies, and augmentations with other techniques to enable the SKP technology to meet the objectives.

The long-term objective of this topic is to develop and commercialize a rugged, fieldable SKP system for quantitatively assessing the presence and degree of degradation/reversion of outer mold line (MIL SPEC) polyurethane/epoxy coating systems and for detecting corrosion in multi-layer structure.

Specific research questions include:
1. Can we differentiate between a polyurethane coating and an epoxy primer coating using the SKP technique?
2. Can we differentiate between a degraded and non-degraded polyurethane coating, epoxy primer and polyurethane/epoxy primer stack up coating system using the SKP technique?
3. Can we design a portable SKP system that could be used in the field on aircraft OML coatings?
4. Can we design a probe tip array that would enable large areas of a structure to be scanned simultaneously?
5. Can other functional measurements be incorporated into the SKP system?

The probe will be able to identify degraded areas in both horizontal and vertical axes of the coating system stack up on OML coatings over an area of at least 1 m2 in a single measurement scan. Additional Phase II work could include alignment with, and development of, a tool for prediction of degradation/reversion or OML coating systems on aircraft. At the completion of Phase II, the contractor will deliver to the Air Force a prototype SKP system for further evaluation.

Validation of the SKP based results will be accomplished by comparison with results from other analytical techniques. Such other techniques will be selected by the vendor to be appropriate to the mass and time scales of the specific degradation or corrosion under investigation. These results will be used to determine the limits of quantification of coatings degradation and corrosion detection possible with SKP and develop design parameters for a prototype field probe system based on these results.

PHASE I: Demonstrate the feasibility of SKP technology to quantitatively measure coating degradation and detect corrosion in multi-layer structure under laboratory conditions. Validate results and determine achievable detection limits and their uncertainties.

PHASE II: Design, build, and test one prototype field probe system. Report the degree to which the system achieves stated goals. Validate the detection and quantification levels established based on the laboratory results of Phase I are being met with the prototype system.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Successful development and deployment of SKP coating interrogation techniques will serve the non-destructive evaluation needs of commercial and military aircraft engineering and maintenance activities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: Scanning Kelvin Probe, work function, nondestructive evaluation, coatings, coating system, SKP


AF161-131
TITLE: Airborne Graph Analytics Applications for Multi-sensor Fusion and Integration


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop graphic analytic methods to store sensor data and algorithms to support information fusion.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is looking at how sensor data and information from a multi-sensor platform can be collected and placed in graphical representations that enable automated fusion on board the platform to support rapid engagement, additional collection while supporting integrated in-flight, and post mission analysis. The resulting low kinematic (location) and classification errors provide high track continuity through move-stop-move motion cycles. In addition, by moving to a graphical storage approach, the hope is to be able to combine the individual graphs with additional data sources to form integrated graphs supporting improved post mission analysis and fusion approaches using Big Data analytics.

The area of graph analytics and the use of graphical database approaches are being investigated for use with data and sources for fusion applications, including detection and identification of mobile and stationary locations of interest. Graph analytics is an emerging area of applied mathematics and data base theory being used for a wide variety of applications from information management to automated machine reasoning based fusion and integration of information. These automated techniques have demonstrated promise to combine disparate data types and pull in related information to bring out features that have been seemingly unrelated in the past and unavailable to the end user.

This effort will develop and implement a graphical data structure for multi-sensor fusion and exploitation. Applications include both real-time implementations for on-board processing and off-board forensic analysis. Data may include geospatial, electronic information, and signatures.

PHASE I: Design a graphical data structure for single and multi-sensor collecting platforms, test and demonstrate using previously collected data how an automated program could be used for onboard integration and fusion as well as post mission analysis. Develop a test plan to exercise in laboratory and on-board environments. Identify any required government furnished property needed for testing.

PHASE II: Design and implement in a phased approach graphical data structure and automated fusion algorithms for both single and multiple sensor collection platforms using flight hardware (data processors and data storage) connected to sensors. The initial configuration will be implemented using computers, algorithms, and sensors in a laboratory environment (defined in Phase I) with follow-on application and integration on board actual aircraft based on availability and other external programs.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This phase will focus on extended onboard information analysis as well as post mission data integration and fusion capabilities that would enable event replication and further analysis. Testing will include algorithm performance analysis in extended operating conditions[5].

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: graph analytics, fusion, automation, information integration


AF161-132
TITLE: Fully-Adaptive Radar Modeling and Simulation Development


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a radar modeling and simulation environment to address the needs of a fully-adaptive radar.

DESCRIPTION: Due to onerous requirements imposed by anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments, it is imperative to develop innovative signal and data processing techniques for delivering sophisticated sensing capabilities to the warfighter. Recent advances pertaining to fully-adaptive and distributed radar hold promise. The understanding of the underlying phenomenology and incorporation of radar signal processing techniques for these approaches require further maturation. Modeling and simulation (M&S) plays a critical role for fully-adaptive radar due to the need for real-time generation of representative scenarios from the standpoint of capturing the dynamically varying statistical and spectral properties of the environment.

Prior M&S efforts treat the scattering from distributed radar scenarios via a pair-wise approach which employs a Mono-static Bi-static Equivalence Theorem (MBET) approximation. This approximation is valid only for a small range of bi-static angles and fails to capture the broad gamut of scenarios that arise in this context. A sophisticated MATLAB-based distributed radio frequency (RF) scattering model is currently being developed via a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program to overcome the limitations of the MBET approximation. A key gap in previously developed radar M&S tools, such as the Air Force's Space Time Adaptive Processing, is the lack of a comprehensive distributed radar scenario generation capability. Therefore, the Air Force seeks an M&S capability for fully adaptive radar from a distributed perspective to include multi-fidelity representations such as the radar range equation, true covariance matrix, mean clutter radar cross section (RCS), clutter amplitude statistics, clutter spectral characteristics, and site specific models.

Additionally, this must permit inclusion of a variety of system and environmental factors such as internal clutter motion, mutual coupling, and antenna errors. The M&S environment must permit experimental validation of signal processing algorithms to include the impact of sensor/platform system effects, allow for incorporation of a priori information, and afford a 3D spatial visualization of scattered clutter, beam patterns, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), sensor and target placement, as well as trajectory.

PHASE I: Develop the M&S capability for a scenario generation which lends itself to use in a MATLAB environment for performance of signal processing algorithms for radar. Validation must be carried out using statistical and spectral techniques. Validation will be quantified in terms of statistical goodness of fit test discrepancy indices, mean square error, SNR, detection and false alarm probability.

PHASE II: Continue the validation and maturation for integration of the M&S capability into the Air Force Research Laboratory's M&S tools of choice for this purpose to afford a prediction capability for distributed radar sensing and processing to validate fully adaptive radar concepts and techniques. Validation efforts will be quantified in terms of statistical goodness of fit test discrepancy indices, mean square error, SNR, detection and false alarm probability analysis.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Validation of models via experiments in controlled and realistic environments.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: radar, modeling, simulation, cognitive, adaptive, distributed, visualization


AF161-133
TITLE: Radar Agnostic, Low Computation Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Automatic Target Recognition (ATR)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a reduced feature SAR ATR technique to classify ground vehicles based on simple features in order to simplify/reduce the overhead and logistics of maintaining SAR ATR capability for multiple platforms against evolving target sets.

DESCRIPTION: Automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms are required to reduce operator workload because ground surveillance systems are reducing onboard and ground-based analysts. Current algorithms require complex features to operate, leading to large overhead and logistics tails to develop and maintain the target database. A reduced feature set will be developed, along with a feature discovery methodology, to reduce collection requirements while maintaining performance; 60 percent database reduction with no worse than 15 percent reduction in probability of correct classification is required.

Current approaches require each target to be represented within 2 to 5 degrees of the observed sensing depression and aspect angle, and employ both physical and derived features to achieve top performance (typically 90 percent probability of correct identification). Derived features are often specific to both the sensor characteristics collecting the preparatory data and to the mission sensor. Approaches to consider for this effort include: (1) more reliance on physical features that can be estimated more directly from surrogate data and (2) use of features that span classes so that each target need not be represented explicitly.

Additionally, a portable approach for a radar agnostic ATR algorithm is needed to employ with multiple radars with limited code revision. Radar-specific parameters should be encapsulated in a distinct module to provide radar-specific adaptation. This approach enables use of the algorithm and its database for multiple radars.

If successful, this effort will ease collection and training requirements, reduce the need for multiple algorithms, and provide a classification capability for new targets.

PHASE I: Assess the feasibility of using physical features to perform classification of targets in SAR data. Identify the most promising features as well as radar parameters that need to be encapsulated outside of the ATR algorithms to allow use with multiple radars. Provide performance estimates based on feature and sensing options.

PHASE II: Develop reduced feature set SAR target classification techniques and quantify the level of effort needed to sustain and add to the target list. Develop a modular, reduced feature set SAR target classification algorithm and assess performance compared to current approaches.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Mature reduced feature set SAR target classification system, including adapting encapsulation module for transition to radar programs of interest. Develop effectiveness measures for transition candidates.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: SAR, Synthetic Aperture Radar, ATR, Automatic Target Recognition, ISR, Radar Agnostic, OSA, Open Systems Architecture


AF161-134
TITLE: Low Profile Multiband Airborne Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Antenna


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a low-profile, low-weight, low-cost active electronically steered array for the X/Ku/Ka/Q-band satellite communications for aircraft and Group 5-sized unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

DESCRIPTION: Many Air Force aircraft currently have capability gaps for transmitting and receiving BLOS data updates during mission execution. Mission data updates could include lower data rate transmissions of Air Tasking Order (ATO) updates or target positions updates or could include higher data rate updates such as imagery intelligence or streaming video.

A low profile, multiband active electronically steered array (AESA) antenna is required to provide BLOS connectivity to both commercial Ku/Ka-band satellites and military X/Ka and Q-band satellites antennas. It must support commercial Ku-band operations at 10.95 to 12.2 GHZ receive and 14.0 to 14.5 GHz transmit; commercial Ka-band operations at 17.7 to 20.2 receive and 27.0 to 30 GHz transmit. Must support military satellite X-band operations at 7.25 to 7.75 GHz receive and 7.9 to 8.4 GHz transmit; Ka-band operations at 20.2 to 21.2 GHz receive and 30 to 31 GHz transmit; and Q-band operations at 43 to 45 GHz transmit.

Antenna should support both right hand circular polarization (RCHP) and left hand circular polarization (LCHP) and provide a scanning coverage of continuous azimuth with an elevation threshold of 20 to 90 degrees threshold and -20 to 95 degrees objective. Equivilent Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) should be on the order of 45 to 50 dBw.

Since many Air Force aircraft will require BLOS communications, even when in contested and denied environments, the contractor should emphasize compatibility with military X/Ka/Q-band satellites that provide protected, jam resistant communications. In particular, interoperability with advanced EHF (AEHF) and wideband global satellite (WGS) military satellite communications is required. The antenna design must meet environmental requirements for operations at altitudes up to 50,000 feet and be capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -54 to 71 degrees C.

Technical challenges in this technology include size and weight constraints, conformal profiling to the platform, co-site interference, and operations in jammed environments.

The contractor should also focus on antenna technologies that reduce size, weight, and cost.

Commercial applications should be considered in addition to military utility.

PHASE I: Propose novel concepts for antenna design and evaluate performance characteristics through models and/or simulation. Perform initial studies to trade size, weight, and cost for technical performance.

PHASE II: Leverage either existing or newly designed technologies/products to build and test prototype low profile, multiband AESA antenna.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Low-profile, low-weight multiband AESA SATCOM antennas can support low-to-medium data rate for command and control (C2) applications for many Air Force missions on different aircraft. The technology could also provide higher data rate BLOS communications in support of ISR missions.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: communications, antennas, SATCOM, multi-band


AF161-135
TITLE: Lightweight Infrared Search and Track Systems


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a lightweight infrared (IR) search and track (IRST) system for applications to air-launched, air-recoverable airborne platforms.

DESCRIPTION: The increasing proliferation of radio-frequency (RF) denial techniques will require air platforms to operate in an anti-access/Area-denial (A2AD) environment threatening U.S. air superiority. IRST systems offer a passive alternative to active radar systems for detecting and tracking airborne threats. IRST systems have demonstrated long range detection and tracking of air targets. IRST systems can also prove valuable in applications with homeland security.

Although highly capable, pod-mounted, gimbaled IRST systems have several distinct disadvantages which limit the platforms on which they can be deployed. The narrow field of view and wide search areas requires short integration times to maintain low system scan periods. Wide area surveillance necessitates the use of large optical apertures and with it large gimbals to meet the needed performance. This has significant size, weight, and power (SWaP) limitations and aircraft integration implications.

Some of the challenges that should be addressed are detecting and tracking targets with wide field-of-view (WFOV) staring infrared sensors capable of line-of-sight stabilization over the kinematic envelope of a representative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The minimum WFOV requirements are +/- 35 degrees in azimuth and +5/-15 degrees in elevation. Consideration should be given to appropriate IR band selection, line-of-sight stabilization versus sensor instantaneous FOV, performance when looking into clutter, and how available technology can be used to reduce SWaP while maximizing system performance. The host UAV platform is envisioned to be capable of operating from 30 to 35 kft altitude with a flight radius of 300 nmi and a loiter time of 2 hours and have a 30 lb., 400 Watt payload allocation. This solicitation requests a tradeoff, design, construction, and delivery of a prototype lightweight IRST system.

PHASE I: Perform a trade study and develop a concept design that minimizes SWaP using new focal plane array, innovative optical element, and image stabilization technologies for miniaturization of a WFOV staring IRST system.

PHASE II: Refine Phase I design and fabricate a prototype breadboard IRST for evaluation and performance testing from a fixed ground site.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Validation of the IRST design through experimentation.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: infrared, search, track, unmanned air vehicle, UAV


AF161-136
TITLE: Deployable Lightweight Upper Air Sensing System


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a lightweight, deployable sensor system to gather meteorological data for the lowest 15,000 feet of the atmosphere.

DESCRIPTION: This topic is looking to develop a lightweight, deployable sensor technology that can sample the atmosphere up to 15,000 feet (objective). Environmental measurements of the atmosphere in many parts of the world are sparse, degraded or non-existent. This hampers the DoD's ability to provide accurate current data in support of battlespace awareness or to seed weather forecasting models for accurate forecasts in those regions. The research developed under this topic will explore the art of the possible using cutting-edge sensor technology and demonstrate a working prototype delivering this capability.

The current upper air sensor system is the Vaisala DigiCora Sounding System MW31. This is a helium balloon-based solution which presents logistical challenges in deployed environments. The hardware for the MW31 is bulky; making it unsuitable for tactical deployments, as lugging around helium canisters is not practical in most deployed situations. The Air Force needs a replacement sensor system that is easy to ship and able to be configured and deployed quickly.

The Air Force is interested in exploring all relevant sensor options that provide the necessary data, including ground based upper air sensor systems or commodity remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) with lightweight sensor systems. The main focus is to develop a new sensor suite that does not require the use of a balloon deployment mechanism or helium. The new system will be used as part of an integrated theater sensing strategy to support service specific and missions and joint operations.

As a replacement for the MW31, this upper air sensing system will need to, at a minimum, sense/derive and record the following atmospheric parameters from the surface up to 15,000 feet:
- Location and geopotential height
- Temperature
- Dew point
- Wind direction and speed
- Pressure

Additionally, the system must measure parameters, process, store, and disseminate all required information in standard formats for local use and make the collected data available to command and control centers, operational units, and weather forecasting centers within minutes.

The system should be configurable to operate in one of three modes: stand-alone (attended but no network connection), locally (attended and on the network), or remotely (unattended but using a remote interface to control the system). Ideally, the final system would have a small footprint, less than one-cubic foot in size, weigh less than 10 pounds, and be both reconfigurable and reusable while in theater.

The system will need to include its own power source and any transportation packaging associated with the system would need to be reusable. Trade-offs will be considered between system size, power requirements, time on station, turn-around time, precision, and covertness. Logistical concerns and system supportability while deployed shall also be considered. Systems based on technical approaches that are easy to support while deployed are desired.

PHASE I: Conduct an analysis on available and near-term technologies to identify possible solutions. Develop one or more designs that explore the trade-off spaces described in the topic description in order to fulfill the data collection and data dissemination requirements. Additionally, describe the procedures that will be used for deployment, data collection, system reuse, and maintenance.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype based upon the Phase I design and Air Force refinement of requirements and continuity of operations. Identify any gaps between the prototype solution and the Air Force requirements and develop a path forward for addressing the gaps. The Phase II system must be able to address any information assurance concerns such that the prototype can achieve an interim authority to test on the Air Force network.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop an operational version of the prototype that bridges any gaps remaining with the Phase II solution. The resulting system must be able to receive an ATO for disseminating collected weather data to the Air Force network. Demonstrate the proposed solution through exercises and test scenarios.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: upper-air, meteorological, atmosphere, weather, sensor, sensing


AF161-137
TITLE: Wideband Efficient Dual Polarized High Frequency (HF) Communication Antenna


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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Design and development of dual polarized high frequency (HF) antenna covering 3 to 30 MHz is required. Must support both transmit and receive functions with an instantaneous bandwidth of 10 MHz. Both ground and airborne antenna solutions are sought.

DESCRIPTION: The HF communications are well known for the ability to support very long range communications, including up to around the world under the right ionospheric conditions. The equipment is affordable and accessible. The data rates are very low compared to satellite communications. However, HF communications continue to be employed throughout the world. Recent technology advancements provide the ability to improve the throughput and increase the reliability of the communication channel.

The HF communications operates between 3 and 30 MHz. The HF signal refracts off the ionosphere, supporting communications from short to exceptionally long ranges (depending on the number of bounces off the ionosphere). The ionosphere has multiple layers (E and F layers) as well as X and O modes within a layer. The transmitted signal can propagate over multiple paths, and will therefore arrive at the receive site with varying delays. These delays introduce fading effects. To reduce the fading, the layers/modes are separated using both multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) techniques as well as dual circular polarization. In order to integrate this new capability into the HF radio, a new, dual polarized, efficient HF antenna is necessary.

The desired antenna will be capable of operating over the 3 to 30 MHz bandwidth, with a tunable instantaneous bandwidth of 10 MHz to support ionospheric sounding and frequency selection. The antenna must support both transmit and receive functions, with the ability to handle up to 200 watts of transmit power. The HF communication systems are deployed throughout the world. Therefore the antenna solution must be deployable, rugged in nature, with the ability to sustain both very low temperature as well as very high temperatures. Both ground and airborne antenna solutions are desired but performance standards for these antennas have not been finalized. Channel separation requirements, size and efficiency requirements are to be determined.

The government can provide data formats but not actual data for test transmission. There are no other planned government-furnished equipment items for Phase I of this contract.

PHASE I: A wideband dual polarized HF antenna design will be designed and simulated (threshold of ground based, with objective to include an airborne antenna). Performance metrics include polarization isolation, operational bandwidth and instantaneous bandwidth (assuming a VSWR of 3:1), power handing, size, efficiency, ruggedness. A prototype design will be developed and VSWR measurements collected.

PHASE II: Multiple antenna elements will be prototyped, deployed, and characterized through measurements under variable environmental conditions. Based upon deployed performance, the design will be optimized for sustained deployment. Alternative variants will be developed including a smaller design for mobile applications as well as an airborne antenna.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The Global ASNT program will evaluate the antenna for suitability for the Increment 2 fielding. Additionally, HF communications are used throughout DoD, including AFSOC, Navy shipboard, etc. The HF is an affordable communication technique for Arctic communications, both for DoD and commercially.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: high frequency, antenna, wideband, dual polarization


AF161-138
TITLE: Cognitive Processing and Exploitation of 3D Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Imagery Data


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Develop algorithms that emulate the human cognitive process to analyze 3D LIDAR data to identify areas of interest to cue human analysts for further analysis to reduce the analyst's workload.

DESCRIPTION: The intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) enterprise has not met its full effectiveness potential due to the massive data flows of ISR-class data produced by existing and emerging sensor suites. Significant efforts are being undertaken to speed the processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) of ISR sensor suite data. There is an important need to reduce the data-to-decision timelines. Processing efforts to date have concentrated primarily on passive electro-optical sensor systems that operate in the visible and infrared spectral regions. Both still imagery and full motion video PED has been the focus of research to achieve accelerated processing. The ISR data processing problem can be expected to worsen as such systems as 3D LIDAR wide area surveillance capabilities come on line. The objective of the research is to extend current approaches to image signal processing to include 3D LIDAR data and enable significant acceleration of the PED process for both passive and active electro-optical sensors suites.

One of the important techniques for future ISR data PED will be the current research efforts underway to develop algorithms that emulate how the human visual path processes imagery. In the human visual path, wide field of view, moderate resolution imagery produced by the eye is processed on the retina and in the early cortex to determine the presence of salient activities within the wide field of view. This processing relies on the spatial, temporal, and color content of the imagery and the definition of the salient features in the human visual path processor. If a sufficient high saliency value is determined the human visual path directs the high resolution fovea of the eye onto those regions and the high resolution data is passed into those regions of cortex which perform recognition. This Cognitive Processing Paradigm has been successfully demonstrated for passive visible and thermal sensors and for both still imagery and full motion video. Further, it has been successfully extended to hyperspectral data processing and exploitation as well.

The emerging 3D LIDAR imaging technology provides an additional and important dimension for detection and tracking of the full spectrum of targets and target activities of interest. The specific technical objective of this research is the extension of the Cognitive Processing Paradigm to include 3D LIDAR imagery. It is expected that the inclusion of the additional information provided by the 3D LIDAR sensor systems can be used to dramatically improve the accuracy and robustness of detection and tracking processing systems. The direct physical measurement of range to target and high resolution mapping of the 3D structure of candidate targets will enable the emulation of cognitive techniques to more closely approach the performance of the human visual system. By developing techniques for merging 3D LIDAR data with more traditional ISR data classes in an integrated cognitive processing paradigm, future PED capabilities will be significantly enhanced and ISR System effectiveness significantly increased.

The Air Force is looking for an open technology development that makes use of libraries such as Open Source Computer Vision (OpenCV) and Point Cloud Library (PCL). The proposer should consider implementations that will utilize parallel processing architectures for acceleration so the software will run on commodity central processing units CPU(s) and graphics processing units GPU(s).

PHASE I: Phase I will focus on the development of a technical foundation and algorithms for extending the cognitive processing paradigm to include 3D LIDAR data. The performance of the algorithms in terms of speed and accuracy should be evaluated on publicly available 3D data, and a proof-of-concept software will be delivered.

PHASE II: An integrated ISR sensor processing suite which combines 3D LIDAR with other multi-sensor data such as still imagery, full motion video, and hyperspectral imagery will be constructed. Extensive evaluation of the integrated system performance will be made using ISR data sets provided for this purpose. Results of this extensive evaluation will be used to define an operational integrated system, and a prototype implementation of the software suite will be delivered.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Target detection and tracking, scene visualization, combat search and rescue. Commercial Application: Mapping and navigation, city development and planning, emergency response.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: 3D LIDAR, 3D segmentation, target recognition


AF161-139
TITLE: Automated Target Recognition (ATR) Detection from Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Data


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a low size, weight, and power (SWaP) ATR capability for installation on-board the unmanned aerial system (UAS) or in a pod configuration along with the LIDAR sensor

DESCRIPTION: LIDAR sensors are under investigation for expanded intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) use with medium altitude UASs or the high altitude U-2. Typical uses include data collection for digital elevation maps and 3-D object definition. However, little work has been done with LIDAR automatic target recognition in near real time.

This project will develop a low SWaP ATR capability for installation on-board the UAS or in a pod configuration along with the LIDAR sensor. The ATR capability should be able to detect and discriminate objects of interest in near real time and communicate object type and location. Technology algorithm and processing design should be at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 2 by the end of the Phase I project and TRL 6 by the end of Phase II. There is limited data available upon request.

PHASE I: Investigate ATR algorithms which can be included in an on-board processor for a LIDAR sensor. The algorithms will use Level-3 point clouds (see Ref. 3) from either linear mode or Geiger mode LIDAR sensors with the purpose of classification and identification (to the extent possible) of the 3D objects against a reference database.

PHASE II: Algorithms and database shall be developed for use on Open Systems Architecture hardware and software. The ATR processing will minimize the latency of the data from when the sensor collects the imagery to when the algorithms present their prediction to the aircraft communication systems for real-time distribution.

Additionally, the algorithms shall learn from the object point clouds that do not fit the database and establish new objects to be included in the database.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Apply the technology to an operational radar system and demonstrate ATR of targets.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: LIdar, LADAR, ATR, algorithms, processing, high altitude


AF161-140
TITLE: Multi-Attribute Circuit Authentication and Reliability Techniques


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and implement integrated circuit (IC) design and analysis techniques for authentication of microelectronics throughout its lifecycle.

DESCRIPTION: As foundry services continue to become increasingly global, the supply chain, both commercially and for government interests, is increasingly less traceable. The growing proliferation of counterfeit electronics highlights a definitive need to invent design methodologies which allow real-time chip authentication, identification, and reliability monitoring. Reliability in complex mixed signal chips is directly related to the function of trustworthiness in operation of the system. The ability to aggregately monitor traits of both authenticity and reliability can provide a substantial increase in confidence of system performance. Innovative techniques are sought that allow for unique chip fingerprinting and authentication with predicative signature capability, based upon design, process, and functional test information in order to prevent safety and security incidents. The methodologies and techniques should attempt to quantitatively measure authenticity, unique identification, and reliability insight versus performance as supply chain risk management (SCRM) technologies.

Literature has provided evidence that digital, analog, analog-mixed-signal (AMS), and radio frequency (RF) circuits may be designed to exhibit unique behavior based on inherent random differences in processing and/or manufacture. Many times these types of behaviors are minimized through design in an effort to maximize yield in a process. These unique behaviors may be used to identify and group circuits of the same pedigree and provide traits for reliability monitoring. Furthermore, fingerprints, such as those found through electromagnetic test, may be able to be exploited for purposes of individual chip authentication. Current techniques do not exist that allow for trade-offs between state-of-the-art performance and authentication.

During design and implementation, consideration should be given to sensitivity analysis, properties for characterization that relate circuit behavior to device and material physics, and the development and implementation of metrics to quantify circuit performance, area overhead, power consumptions, cost, and overall risk mitigation. Techniques are sought that use configurable test state operation, advanced waveform analysis, spectrum monitoring, and built in self-test (BiST) for authentication, identification, and reliability monitoring. Techniques are sought that can provide non-destructive evaluation techniques to determine and monitor evidence of failure or degradation by extracting and monitoring a distinct signature that precedes a failure and investigate integration of on-chip monitoring through test and characterization techniques such as spectrum analysis and radiated electromagnetic (EM) signatures.

Specific circuits of interest include configurable low noise amplifiers (LNAs), voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs), phase lock loops (PLLs), and active mixers. Techniques are sought that provide less than 20 percent area overhead and less than 15 percent performance drop in key components parameters (e.g., gain, noise figure, phase noise, IIP3, P1dB etc.) as compared with state-of-the-art performance at equal power. Techniques should provide greater then 90 percent confidence in authenticity and greater than 99 percent unique identification.

PHASE I: Conduct a trade study of mixed-signal circuit topologies that have active & passive structures of particular sensitivity to process nodes. Design components that exploit sensitivity to random process variability with statistically significant difference excluding static variations. Design topology to allow for reconfigurable "test states." Output responses to be identified based on input stimulus.

PHASE II: Design and fabricate mixed-signal test structure component blocks to exploit unique spectral behavior based on process variations. Measure and characterize behavior and prove statistical difference in applied stimulus-response behavior. A subset of outputs will be quantified or quantized fingerprints of the IC. Capture and document effective test structures in a form possible for internet protocol (IP) reuse and insertion into leading commercial electronic design automation (EDA) tool suites.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The commercial IC design community is as negatively affected as the military with counterfeits in the supply chain. The mixed-signal components and techniques developed under the topic will be captured in such a way that the commercial community will be able to easily leverage the capabilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: authentication, integrated circuits, mixed-signal


AF161-141
TITLE: Integrated Circuit Authentication and Reliability Tool and Techniques


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and implement analysis tools and techniques for authentication and end of life prediction of a packaged integrated circuit (IC) at any point in its life cycle.

DESCRIPTION: Die extraction and reassembly (DER) of obsolete die from an undesired package to the required package has promise to provide quick-reaction, low-cost obsolete IC sourcing. One potential downside is that counterfeit or already used parts could be unintentionally inserted into a DoD weapon system through the DER process. Current methods to detect bad parts include physical inspection (x-ray, scannign electron microscopy (SEM), optical, Raman spectroscopy, die shear, etc.) and electrical inspection (parametric, functional, burn-in) methods which can be time consuming, tedious, and sometimes destructive.

The Air Force seeks to develop novel IC analysis techniques and methodologies to produce fingerprints for authentication and reliability monitoring of the IC die before DER, after DER and while in operation. The approach needs to cover legacy parts and potentially new or more complex part integration including analog, digital, radio frequency (RF) or any combination. The end tool should detect malicious circuitry and give an estimated end of life when the IC is queried. The technology created needs to be adaptable to a variety of electronic packaging technologies including ball grid array (BGA), quad flat no-lead (QFN), small outline integrated circuit (SOIC), plastic quad flat pack (QFP) and low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC). Depending on the application the materials could include plastic, ceramic, or newer packaging materials like liquid crystal polymer (LCP).

This research should be based on sound theory of operation and degradation with the appropriate non-destructive sensor apparatus to detect the fingerprint. The characterization will cover the full military temperature range when comparing methodologies to predict counterfeit parts and develop end of life estimations.

No government furnished equipment will be provided.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility through analysis of IC behavior, phenomenology and sensor choice to identify modified/counterfeit/Trojan/used/bad parts. Conduct preliminary analytical modeling and simulation.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate tools that non-destructively identify modified/counterfeit/Trojan /used/bad parts and estimates remaining life. The characterization will cover the full military temperature range

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The commercial IC community is being negatively affected in the same manner as the military with counterfeit components in the supply chain. The techniques developed under the topic will be captured in such a way that the commercial community will be able to easily leverage the capabilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: authentication, integrated circuits, packaging, reliability, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, liquid crystal polymer, die extraction, die extraction, die reassembly


AF161-142
TITLE: Integrated Circuit (IC) Die Extraction and Reassembly


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and assess tools/techniques to evaluate performance, lifetime, and safety of integrated circuits re-packaged using DER techniques for suppliers to certify parts for DoD and high-reliability commercial applications.

DESCRIPTION: DoD and extreme-condition commercial applications continually face diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages for obsolete electronics. As the number of known ICs in the appropriate package goes to zero, the community has few options: new manufacturing of the existing IC (if the design is available and foundry has capability--usually neither is available), reverse engineer the IC function and either emulate the IC with a more current IC (rare, if possible), or fabricate a redesigned IC. Other options include board redesign and worst case, system redesign. Redesigns usually take over a year and can cost several million dollars for each IC design.

Recently, another option has emerged if the needed IC is available but not in the required package. The process is called IC DER. An individual IC is also called a die. Typically, the same IC or die is used in many different packages that are specifically chosen for cost, operation, and environment. The DER process takes an equivalent obsolete die from an undesirable package and reassembles that die into the needed package. The oil drilling industry’s need for high-reliability, high-temperature electronics drove early development of the DER process. The goal was to take parts in low-cost plastic packages, developed for systems with benign operating conditions and environments and re-package them for the drilling industry’s extreme-use and extreme-environments. DoD has similar requirements, but the technique has not been certified for DoD use. Furthermore, the tools, techniques, and knowledge do not exist to certify DER parts. Innovations are sought to develop tools and techniques that will eventually lead to a DoD certification process, similar to MIL-STD-883. Also, innovations are sought to develop the necessary understanding to determine the operating and environmental limits for DER ICs in ground, air, and/or space applications.

There will be no government-furnished equipment.

PHASE I: Feasibility study of DER ICs for DoD use & corresponding T&E for certification. Address operating use, environment, & complexity for analog & digital high performance military and commercial ICs (e.g., radar part). Include techniques to evaluate package yield, IC performance stability & long-term reliability. Statistical accuracy & limitations of the developed techniques should be addressed.

PHASE II: Development and demonstration of the tools, techniques and knowledge identified in Phase I. Lifetimes of pre-DER ICs will be assessed and compared to lifetimes of DER ICs for both MIL-grade and commercial ICs when available. Part performance stability and reliability will be assessed stressing parts for military use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Air Force plans to install DER ICs in some non-flight critical LRUs on some F-16 aircraft to assess their performance and long-term reliability. If successful, the DER process could transition to rest of DoD for use. Processes will be documented for IC community to leverage.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: diminishing manufacturing sources, DMS, die extraction and reassembly, integrated circuit, IC, microcircuit, reliability, MIL-STD-883


AF161-143
TITLE: Electronic Image Stabilization for Staring Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Sensors


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop concepts for stabilizing video frame rate imagery in staring (non-scanned) infrared arch and track (IRST) that utilize large format focal plane arrays (FPAs) in the presence of the full aircraft kinematic environment.

DESCRIPTION: Successful implementation of an offensive staring infrared search and track (IRST) system can potentially yield significant benefits when incorporated into a fighter aircraft fire control system. It is anticipated that this type of passive sensor will yield higher performance in a more compact, lighter weight design with greater installation flexibility. Advancements in large format two-dimensional FPAs and readout integrated circuits offer potential advantages in clutter rejection, more frequent updates, longer integration times, multi-frame detection techniques, and image stabilization. It is expected that by exploiting these advantages, an IRST can be developed that supports long range detection and tracking of targets in cluttered environments with a low false alarm rate over a large field-of-view (FOV).

By leveraging advancements in the development of large format two-dimensional FPAs for wide FOV search and track to maximize aircraft installation flexibility and yield the highest performance in the most compact and light weight design, it is preferable to eliminate all mechanical pointing and line of sight stabilization components. This is especially critical for embedded/conformal sensors on highly dynamic aircraft. It is expected that successful implementation of electronic image stabilization and exploitation of other advantages of large format arrays will result in a novel and innovative IRST. It is envisioned that such a system can be developed to support long range detection and tracking of targets along clear atmospheric paths and in cluttered environments with low false alarm rates while staring over the system FOV.

The technical focus of this topic is to explore novel techniques and sensor chip assembly design concepts that can provide rapid control of the field of view from the subpixel level to a substantial fraction of the field of view to enable fine line-of-sight stabilization in addition to image motion compensation during aircraft maneuvering. The sensor wavelength bands of interest are midwave (3.0 to 5.0 microns) and longwave (8.0 to 12.0 microns). Stabilization must occur during the integration time of the FPA and requires an appropriate bandwidth input source.

Non-mechanical stabilization techniques such as those implemented in the FPA/readout integrated circuits of the sensor are of primary interest, but other techniques shall be considered. Mechanical and non-mechanical beam steering approaches are specifically excluded from this solicitation.

Teaming/collaborating with prime contractors to develop transition approaches is encouraged.

PHASE I: Investigate component-level concepts and techniques. Perform initial component prototype development and experiments to validate concepts. Establish system design implementation and provide technical analysis that supports the proposed design and quantify expected performance. Develop business case analysis and transition plan.

PHASE II: Based on Phase I results, construct and test a prototype imaging sensor to demonstrate and evaluate the design concept. Identify and reduce the risk of the component technologies needed to perfect the design and demonstrate the approaches needed for commercialization of a flight-capable instrument. Refine business case and transition plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Transition the newly demonstrated design to DoD industry partners. There may be some commercial applications that could benefit from the proposed approach.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: infrared, focal plane, stabilization, sensor


AF161-144
TITLE: Continuous High Pulse Repetition Frequency (HPRF) Mode for Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Research the use of continuous HPRF to improve detection range and other improvements for air-to-air and air-to-ground scenarios. Also, determine optimum tracking techniques to resolve ambiguities, computational requirements, and cost trade-offs.

DESCRIPTION: In the first look, first kill environment against lower Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets, fourth and fifth generation fighters need to maximize their detection range, range resolution, and velocity resolution. Fighters, surveillance aircraft, and even commercial airliners want to be able to detect and identify targets at lower signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) while minimizing the radar beam dwelling on a target. Commercial aircraft have the problem of locating and avoiding small aircraft or micro unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Being able to accurately determine the range and velocity, and track a target is problematic in many ways and involves non-ideal waveforms. The probability of detection in coherent radar depends on the signal energy contained in the coherent processing interval (CPI) and processing gain. The Doppler (velocity) resolution is improved by increasing the duration of the CPI, which prompts the use of longer coherent train of pulses. The range resolution improves with the bandwidth of the signal, which prompts the use of narrow pulses or modulated longer pulses. Two problems associated with long modulated pulses are extended blind range regions due to eclipsed transmission and reduced Doppler tolerance or resolution of the individual pulses.

The best technique for increasing the energy in a CPI, while improving range and velocity resolution, can be accomplished by more pulses within a CPI. For a fixed CPI, this implies using a continuous HPRF waveform. HPRF offers many advantages in addition to improved maximum detection range. For example: better exo-clutter performance, improved range resolution, Doppler bins are narrower with decreased filter straddling losses, and more points in FFT for better processing gain. However, the single most significant advantage will be the system's ability to use one continuous PRF and dwell for long periods of time on a single resolution cell to increase detection probability for low RCS targets at longer ranges.

However, the HPRF waveform, or mode, can suffer multiple unknown range ambiguities that are attributed to the delay of returns from distant targets being longer than the pulse repetition interval (PRI). Currently, one common approach to resolve range ambiguity is the use of several CPIs within a single dwell, where each CPI has a different PRF (i.e., PRF hopping). Resolving true range and Doppler is then performed noncoherently, using an M out of N decision statistic. Where, for example, M is 2 or 3 PRFs, while N could be as large as 8 PRFs. Thus, a 2 out of 8 detection decision implies that in the worst case only 2 out of the possible 8 CPIs contribute energy to the detection process. This is a grossly inefficient use of the transmitter energy which, in turn, reduces the maximum detection range.

Today processing power and sophisticated tracking techniques could be used to resolve these range ambiguities (i.e., eliminating second time around targets) in high PRF systems. The Air Force can take advantage of ambiguous pulses more likely producing illogical tracks due to the far-out targets moving through resolution cells slower than near-in targets, in addition to other factors. Tracking filters, Bayesian logic, and/or track-before-detect techniques could also be used to eliminate these ambiguities.

Teaming/coordination with prime contractors is encouraged to facilitate transition opportunities.

PHASE I: Develop techniques to resolve range ambiguities in a continuous HPRF mode. Complete trade-off study for various ambiguity reduction techniques such as tracking filters. Evaluate each approach in various air-to-air and air-to-ground scenarios against various targets. Determine SNR, processing gains, resolution improvements, computational requirements, and perform trade-off analysis.

PHASE II: Integrate developed techniques into a real radar or a simulated radar system using real data in a continuous HPRF mode. Determine sampling, data bandwidths, and computational requirements. . Determine performance parameters. Test and evaluate the most promising algorithms to resolve ambiguities using measured data.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Construct a prototype system and validate techniques in production representative environment. Determine performance parameters through experiments and prototype. Follow-on activities include any customer-unique requirements, training, and operation documentation.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: radar, signal processing, high pulse repetition period, HPRF, ambiguity, tracking, particle filter, Kalman filter, fighter aircraft


AF161-145
TITLE: Compact Wideband Direction Finder


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a compact, wideband aperture for direction finding (DF) with a broad field of view, polarization independence, and an operating bandwidth of 2 to 18 GHz.

DESCRIPTION: Direction finding, or the ability to measure the direction from which a received signal was transmitted, has a variety of applications including navigation, search and rescue, tracking, and signal intelligence. For the Air Force, direction finding on incoming RF energy plays a critical part in current electronic support (ES) systems. While improved angle-of-arrival (AOA) accuracy is always desired, increasing the pool of candidate signals which the system can DF will improve ES capabilities to cover a wider variety of threats. More flexible DF systems are desired that possess increased bandwidth, a wider field of view (FOV), two-dimensional scanning, and dual polarization apertures. However, applications that involve installation on an airborne platform always constrain the size, weight, and power (SWAP) of the system.

In many cases, the required baseline at the upper end of the frequency band cannot be met due to the physical size of elements, which are sized according to the lower end of the frequency band. For this reason, many interferometers used today break the operating band into sub-bands with multiple apertures per sub-band. This creates a few challenges when installing the DF aperture on an aircraft. Multiple apertures on multiple baselines require a large amount of real estate to operate effectively. In addition, the DF receiver behind the aperture now has risen in complexity to handle all the different apertures at the various bands.

Given the limitations of traditional interferometric approaches, this topic desires technical solutions that provide improvements to the aperture to increase bandwidth coverage while maintaining a compact form factor. This overall goal will allow for expansion of the platforms that can support direction finding missions that may currently be too small for a typical interferometer suite.

Therefore, this solicitation requests an innovative design on a wideband aperture for DF with constraints on SWAP, FOV, bandwidth, polarization, and AOA estimation accuracy. The aperture should be suitable for direction finding from 2 to 18 GHz and be dual polarized. The field of view should span a minimum 120 degrees in both azimuth and elevation with a minimum gain of 0 dBi at boresight. A signal with a minimum of 80 MHz of tunable bandwidth and 15dB SNR should have an RMS angle error less than 3deg over the entire FOV, frequency band, and polarization space. The aperture should fit in an opening 8 in. by 8 in. and maintain a low profile, allowing installation on an aircraft.

Teaming/collaboration with prime contractors/original equipment manufacturers is encouraged to facilitate transition.

PHASE I: Investigate aperture for DF sensors that meet the above requirements. Perform modeling and simulation of the aperture. Identify DF algorithms to pair behind the aperture, and perform an analysis of the AOA estimation accuracy over frequency, polarization, and AOA. Develop transition plan.

PHASE II: Based on Phase I modeling, complete design, fabricate, and develop a prototype of the aperture. Obtain experimental measurements of the aperture and analyze DF performance using measured results. Provide a practical implementation of the DF algorithm suitable for real-time operation. Refine transition plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Fabricate and test a prototype DF sensor with performance tailored for end user to enable technology transition to the field.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: direction finding, spiral antennas, modeforming, wideband apertures


AF161-146
TITLE: V-Band Terminal Low Noise Amplifier


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop low noise amplifiers (LNAs) operating from 71 to 76 GHz with noise figures suitable for future satellite communications (SATCOM) ground terminal applications.

DESCRIPTION: Expanding the availability of battlefield information for better situational awareness to the warfighter will require increased satellite communications (SATCOM) capacity. Due to the present frequency allocation restrictions in existing SATCOM bands, there is a continually increasing need to exploit frequency spectrum available in nontraditional bands such as 81 to 86 GHz for uplinks and 71 to 76 GHz for downlinks.

In order to access this spectrum, a new generation of transmitter and receiver microelectronics, such as low noise amplifiers (LNAs), will be required, and the Air Force is interested in sponsoring LNA research to reduce power consumption, optimize noise figure (NF), and improve linearity to support bandwidth efficient modulation waveforms like 16-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation).

This topic seeks E-band LNA research supporting high performance SATCOM downlinks. Goals for the V-band ground terminal LNAs include NF less than 2 dB, small signal gain greater than 30 dB over 71 to 76 GHz and an operating temperature range -40 to +80 degrees.

PHASE I: Develop innovative E-band LNA designs with requisite NF, gain, bandwidth, operating frequency, and temperature ranges. Validate design through modeling and simulation.

PHASE II: Fabricate one or more prototypes and characterize performance in areas of NF, gain, bandwidth, operating frequency, and operating temperature range.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A military amplifier can be used for terrestrial wireless communications and avionics to support next-generation satellite communications. Commercial applications include wireless communications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: low noise amplifier, E-band, noise figure, satellite communications


AF161-147
TITLE: High Performance Global Positioning System (GPS) M-Code Acquisition Engine


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop high-performance acquisition engine for direct acquisition of global positioning system (GPS) M-Code that can achieve time to first fix (TTFF) of 120 seconds with initial time uncertainty (ITU) of 10 ms and jamming/signal ratio of 51 dB.

DESCRIPTION: The traditional means of acquiring GPS signals for military users is the use of the coarse/acquisition (C/A)-code, which is used in nearly all legacy military GPS receivers. The C/A-code, which repeats every 1 ms, is exceptionally easy to acquire, yet vulnerable to jamming and spoofing. The P(Y)-code and M-Code signals are essentially infinite in length, making them difficult to acquire unless the ITU is very small.

Over the past twenty years, technologies have been developed to support implement direct acquisition of the P(Y)-code using large correlator arrays, Fast Fourier Transmitter (FFT) techniques and other approaches. Most of these techniques are applicable to direct acquisition of M-Code as well, although Betz showed (reference 1) that M-Code enables several efficiency enhancements compared to direct P(Y) acquisition.

The last major work on direct M-Code acquisition was completed in 2004, yielding a full acquisition engine implemented in an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). This effort, documented in Ref. 1, used a bank of Code Matched Filters (CMFs) and an FFT to implement a high-performance acquisition engine. By optimizing sampling rates and quantization levels and using single sideband processing with noncoherent combining, the DIRAC chip was a suitable proof of concept for demonstrating what was achievable with modest technology.

This topic addresses specific performance goals based on the needs of future military users and advances in signal processing technology. The goal is to achieve 120 seconds TTFF when the J/S is less than or equal to 51 dB and the ITU is 10 ms or less. The type of jamming to be considered is a composite of multiple jammers yielding a Gaussian amplitude distribution and a power spectral density shape equivalent to M-Code. The 51 dB J/S should be referenced to signal power levels ranging from -158 dBW to -133 dBW.

During Phase I and Phase II, the developer may use the version of M-Code known as M-Prime, and documented in IS-GPS-700. Information assurance and anti-tamper considerations should be incorporated in Phase II to enable full capability development in Phase III.

PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the GPS M-Code acquisition engine utilizing the M-Prime M-Code.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the GPS M-Prime acquisition engine using a brassboard prototype with field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and/or software defined radio.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop M-Code acquisition engine ASIC using the Modernized Navstar Security Algorithm (MNSA) to implement full M-Code capability. Commercial: Potential application to space receivers or other high-sensitivity applications.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: GPS, M-Code, direct acquisition, GPS jamming


AF161-148
TITLE: Q-Band Uplink Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop efficient Q-band solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) for low-cost ground terminal applications.

DESCRIPTION: Efficient, high-power performance is required to support low-cost terminals for future military satellite communications (SATCOM) ground terminals. Power amplifier efficiency translates to the terminal’s dc power consumption requirements, as well as additional hardware/structures to address corresponding cooling requirements. Reductions in the size, weight, and power (SWaP) are critical to lowering ground terminal power consumption, footprint, and cost.

Innovative high-efficiency circuit techniques, in combination with high-performance power technologies, have the potential of producing efficient SSPAs to meet this low-cost terminal need. Improved power amplifier efficiency may be achieved with solid-state power technologies such as gallium nitride (GaN), while efficiency may be addressed with techniques such as envelope tracking. Selected approaches should also address low-loss power combining towards the demonstration of a fully integrated SSPA.

The overall approach should meet or surpass current state-of-the-art performance, while providing cost, size, weight, and power (CSWaP) improvements. Therefore, required performance for the Q-band SATCOM SSPA includes power-combined saturated output greater than 45 watts over 43.5 to 45.5 GHz, with power-added efficiency greater than 35 percent. The selected power amplifier approach should support reliable operation over the -40 degree to +80 degree Celsius operating temperature range.

REFERENCES:


AF161-149
TITLE: Synergistic/Combine Radio Frequency/Electro-Optical (RF/EO) Processing for Synthetic Aperture Imaging (SAR)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop synergistic signal processing hardware and algorithms for joint processing of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and synthetic aperture ladar (SAL) data that demonstrates both shared processing hardware as well as enhanced imaging performance.

DESCRIPTION: The current state of the art of fusing radio frequency (RF) and laser based systems are being developed independently for a wide range of military application. Many of the ladar systems including synthetic aperture ladar (SAL) and range profile imaging have followed earlier development in RF systems but implemented at optical wavelengths. As a result, there are significant overlaps in the data and the associated signal processing requirements. There are also significant differences based on collection requirements, processing time lines and effects such as atmospheric turbulence. In addition, a combined implementation of RF and electro-optical (EO) systems on small platforms such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be critically size, weight and power (SWaP) constrained. Finally, there is potential for both shared and synergistic algorithms to reduce overall hardware requirements, but more importantly potentially increase the performance of the sensor combination.

This research should begin by identifying current SAR/SAL processing requirements for a system including but not limited to RF and ladar synthetic aperture and range profile imaging as well as high resolution forward looking infrared (FLIR) imager. The commonalities and differences in the operating requirements, data and processing should be identified, as well as potential areas where either shared and/or synergistic processing could reduce the system SWaP by at least at factor of 2 or increase overall performance (increase in probability of target detection and identification).

Based on these requirements, develop a common, near-real-time processing concept and demonstrate feasibility of an innovative, algorithmic approach for providing significant improvements in common processing (reduction in number of algorithms and lines of code) for target search, detection, identification and characterization of targets.

This topic solicits development of innovative, combined RF/EO algorithms and processor concepts that can be shown to be amenable for implementation on small SWaP constrained platforms.

PHASE I: Develop shared and potentially synergistic processing algorithms including salient requirements for SAR and SAL imaging. Identify synergistic algorithms that provide enhanced RF/EO imaging. Develop a common, real-time processing concept and demonstrate the feasibility of the approach for providing significant improvements in common processing for high resolution imaging.

PHASE II: Develop shared/synergistic algorithms, a real-time processor, and demonstrate prototype shared RF-EO algorithms/processors for synthetic aperture and high range resolution imaging that meet desired goals as stated in the topic description. Validate with simulated and measured data that demonstrates the potential for joint processing to reduce hardware requirements, increased performance, and enable enhanced RF/EO sensing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military: Shared and synergistic RF/EO processing for multiple weapons systems. Commercial: Reduced cost and improved weather radar/lidar processing

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: synthetic aperture radar, synthetic aperture ladar, image formation algorithms, fusion


AF161-150
TITLE: Cloud Services for Trustworthy Microelectronics Assurance


TITLE: Cloud Services for Trustworthy Microelectronics Assurance

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a process for hardware assurance in the design and integrity of microelectronics across the life cycle that can be accessed by end-node users.

DESCRIPTION: The life cycle of microelectronics consist of several stages, from design through disposal, that provide access point(s) to insert malicious circuits and/or counterfeits into commercial and DoD supply chain. Current processes employed to mitigate this risk, use chain of custody, pedigree of suppliers, and/or paper certifications. The proliferation of counterfeits and/or modified microelectronics making their way into the supply chain, validates these processes are not working. Traditional methods of visual inspection augmented with electrical tests continue to lack in effectiveness when applied to advanced counterfeit parts. These advanced parts may perform and function extremely well when compared to known good parts, but may introduce reliability or failure concerns. There exists a need for the instantiation of quantitative technologies which can be applied to ensure the integrity of microelectronics components throughout the entire lifecycle.

The identification and development of techniques are sought that can be implemented and managed throughout the integrated circuit (IC) lifecycle. The aggregate confidence of techniques should be >90 percent based on statistically developed comparison metrics. With the emerging cloud computing market having demonstrated technical viability for web-based electronic design automation (EDA) Software as a Service (SaaS) for design of ICs, techniques are sought to significantly leverage current and previous investments in trustworthy microelectronics technology. Methods should focus on identifying, enhancing, and performing a feasibility demonstration of selected assurance techniques that have been tailored for a cloud implemented use case. Consideration should be given to integration of a metric framework such that trade-offs can be made based on performance, cost, and risk in microelectronics use and development.

Techniques are sought that can be implemented and accessed from a cloud web-based service, in a prototype configuration where DoD personnel, and DoD contractors, may gain access to develop and assess ICs using enhanced trusted technologies. These include evaluation of security protocols/metrics and defining the deployment methodology for transition to end node users as supply chain risk management (SCRM) technologies.

PHASE I: Conduct a trade study to identify techniques/tools/technology for trustworthy microelectronics that when further developed can be implemented in a multi-tenancy, inter-organizational, collaborative, trusted microelectronics SCRM cloud computing infrastructure.

PHASE II: Develop and implement techniques in a candidate cloud environment. Validate a process to ensure microelectronic trustworthiness through a secure SCRM ecosystem.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The commercial IC design community is as affected as the military with counterfeit components in the supply chain. The hardware assurance techniques and metrics developed under the topic will be captured in such a way that the commercial community will be able to easily leverage the capabilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: authentication, integrated circuits, cloud services


AF161-151
TITLE: Automated 3D Reconstruction of a Scene From Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance Video at High Zoom


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Develop aerial sensor processing algorithms to create measurable 3D reconstructions of a scene assuming persistent aerial reconnaissance under high zoom level.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force will often perform persistent aerial reconnaissance of an area of interest for long periods of time before sending in Special Forces to take action. The aerial reconnaissance is often completed with passive full motion video with the platform flying an orbit. High-fidelity 3D models automatically reconstructed using modern computer vision algorithms would greatly benefit analyst understanding of the scene. An operator-controllable zoom level creates problems and opportunities for such automated approaches. While the highest possible zoom level is desirable for reconstructing high-resolution detail, many frames of zoomed video will lack sufficient 3D diversity to reliably estimate camera positions (i.e, planar surfaces).

Understanding the tradeoff between high zoom and model output fidelity expressed in a performance model is a critical part of this effort. Input data will be provided by the government, each higher phase award will coincide with higher classification level or distribution level other than public domain issuance. The output of this algorithm should be a 3D model file in a standard format such as “ply,” readable by popular modeling tools such as Trimble's Sketchup. Standard computer 3D modeling tools should then be able to read the model file and allow analysts to make accurate measurements on walls, doors, and windows to provide valuable intelligence.

PHASE I: The expected product of Phase I is an experimental algorithm suite for 3D reconstruction which will be documented in a final report and the algorithms implemented in a proof-of-concept software deliverable.

PHASE II: The expected product of Phase II is an implementation of the Phase I 3D Reconstruction system, extended to a full prototype capable of ingesting and analyzing extensive imagery datasets.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance. Commercial Application: emergency response, damage assessment.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: 3D reconstruction, computer model, ISR


AF161-152
TITLE: Broadband Beam Steering Devices for Midwave Infrared (MWIR)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics

OBJECTIVE: Develop novel broadband laser beam steering technologies and concepts that will reduce cost, size, weight, and power consumption (C-SWAP) while improving effectiveness of future infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems.

DESCRIPTION: Infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems require technologies for fast steering the laser beams in the broadband region from 2 to 5 micron, but are not limited to this region depending on emerging threats. The typical beam steering solution today is mechanical gimbals, which significantly contribute to the overall weight of the system, have limited speed and random access capabilities, and require periodic maintenance. In order to improve the effectiveness and reduce the cost, size, weight, and power consumption (C-SWAP) of the IRCM systems, new beam steering technologies are needed.

Several potential solutions may replace gimbals, such as optical micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) based micromirror arrays, optical phased arrays, plasmonic devices, polarization gratings or other innovative solutions.

For example, there are several different types of optical MEMS. The difference is in the actuation technique. Each actuation method has its advantages and limitations depending on the required switching speed, beam steering angles, etc. Therefore, the chosen beam steering approach will require additional feasibility study.The conceptual design of IRCM system based on the selected technical approach must be also well articulated.

Liquid crystal optical phased arrays may be considered, but this approach has several limitations for IRCM applications.

The potential solutions are not limited to those technologies listed above, so other types of electro-optical devices may be considered, as long as they satisfy the requirements to be used in IRCM systems. The suggested requirements are:
1) Broadband operation in MWIR
2) Aperture size is 1 inch as a threshold value and the objective value is up to 6 inches
3) Optical power capabilities in MWIR (3-5 micron) is 10 Watts (threshold) and up to 100 Watts (objective)
4) Field of view is at least 180 degrees (plus/minus 90 degrees)
5) Random access with response time on the order of few milliseconds
6) Size of the proposed beam steering system should not exceed approximately one cubic foot (objective)
7) Desired operational and laboratory test environment must satisfy to the airborne platform requirements

The primary focus of this technology is IRCM applications. The conceptual design must consider bi-directional capabilities. It means that the proposed system must be capable of transmitting optical signals and also receiving and detecting optical return signals. This would be necessary for the next generation IRCM systems, and to support various other active sensing missions. There will be no need for government materials, equipment, data, or facilities in the Phase I of this research.

PHASE I: Develop innovative beam steering concepts that may be utilized for IRCM applications and conduct feasibility study of the proposed technology. Present a conceptual design of IRCM system based on the selected technology, and define its technical specifications.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, develop and demonstrate a prototype beam steering system.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Design, build, and test a beam steering module for an IRCM system. Propose commercial products based on this technology.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: laser, beamsteering, MEMS, infrared, countermeasures


AF161-153
TITLE: Fusion of Kinematic and Identification (ID) Information


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop tools to enable integration of multi-INT sources for contested and permissive environments. Emphasis on integration of kinematic, feature, and classification information to improve detection, tracking, and assessment of targets and networks.

DESCRIPTION: Military intelligence analysts have access to large quantities of multi-intelligence (multi-INT) data from which they can extract relevant information. For example, an analyst performing threat network analysis may have access to kinematic track information, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) reports, and imagery from areas of interest. While there are now effective means to process each data stream individually, there are currently no effective means to fuse large quantities of disparate data sources, resulting in a highly manual process to correlate data streams. As a specific use case, an analyst may identify a high value target in an image, and then observe that same high value target at another location in imagery a day later. Currently, there are no effective means to connect these observations to kinematic tracks to determine one or more likely trajectories that occurred between observations.

The current state-of-the-art for combining identity and track information relies on feature-aided tracking (FAT)[1]. Typical algorithms reason over the large quantity of kinematic data using technologies such as multiple-hypothesis tracking (MHT)[2] in which the identity information is incorporated in the calculation of the likelihood of different association hypotheses. This approach fails when the identity information is temporally sparse because the algorithms need to make hard data association decisions in order to avoid a combinatorial explosion in the number of hypotheses. Another recent paradigm for reasoning over very large quantities of track information is based on the minimum-cost-flow algorithm[3]. However, due to certain conditional-independence assumptions, that methodology cannot exploit non-dynamic identity information in data-association processing[4]. One promising avenue for research is to use a sampling-based algorithm to identify likely hypotheses[5]; however, this approach is relatively new, and its effectiveness for large-scale multi-sensor problems is unclear.

The Air Force is looking for new methods for fusion of disparate data, in particular in situations in which there are large quantities of kinematic data coupled with temporally sparse but highly informative target ID or fingerprinting information, such as provided by SIGINT, or analyst input. Relevant scenarios include (i) ones in which a high-value target is out of view for large periods of time, (ii) using multi-sensor data to track targets to sites of interest or to discover such sites, and (iii) using multi-sensor data to learn and to exploit "patterns of life."

PHASE I: Simulate representative data including kinematic and identity sensors. Develop & demonstrate algorithms for fusing such data in relevant scenarios. Evaluate the performance using metrics based on guidance obtained from the COMPASE Tracker Evaluation Software Suite (CTESS) which will be provided as government-furnished data (GFD). Evaluate the scalability of the algorithms to very large scenarios.

PHASE II: Extend the algorithms from Phase I to address more challenging scenarios, including scenarios in which the system modifies the flow estimates to be consistent with analyst input. Evaluate performance on relevant data sets. Demonstrate advanced applications such as threat network analysis. Deliver software (source code) and technical reports.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine and harden the tracking software based on application to operational needs. Commercial applications include search and rescue.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: multi-INT fusion, multi-target tracking


AF161-224
Hypersonic Weapon Airframe Simulator for Thermal Loading and Structural Vibration


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: This topic is intended to develop a hardware-in-the-loop motion simulator that provides guidance and control sensor measurements representative of a hypersonic flight environment, including effects of high thermal loading and structural vibration.

DESCRIPTION: High-speed weapons with strap-down sensors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of airframe vibration and thermal response. Hypersonic flight environments can result in non-uniform thermal response that in turn results in structural deformation. Aerodynamic and propulsive environments, along with control system actuation, can affect quasi-static and dynamic structural response, directly impacting guidance and control sensor accuracy. Off-nominal alignment of sensors can result in navigation errors and errors in measurement of target location. Response of the structure can result in measurement errors through noise and through acceleration sensitivity.

Past attempts to capture these effects in HWIL simulations have only met with partial success. Current capability is represented by the KHILS facility’s Image STAbilization Test-bed (ISTAT), which has the capability to deterministically drive a test article in six degrees of freedom with a bandwidth near 500Hz. The original intent of this test-bed was to achieve controlled motion replication out to 1000Hz in order to capture the most significant vibration modes of the structure. The ISTAT did not meet the original bandwidth requirements and it has been affected by metal fatigue in critical joints connecting the actuators to the payload mounting plate.

The intent of this topic is to investigate innovative new solutions to address deficiencies in current High-Frequency Motion Simulator (HFMS) technology, providing a new capability with accurate hypersonic airframe motion replication and low susceptibility to mechanical failure. It is not intended to produce a thermal environment. In practice, an HFMS will be driven by a deterministic structural effects model that will provide 6DOF position and angular motion at the mounting location of the test article. The center of rotation of the test article must be software programmable. While the amplitude of motion replication is important throughout the 0-1000 Hz simulation range, phase of the response is primarily important below 500Hz. Payloads of less than 10 lbs and a mounting plate on the order 1 ft diameter can be used for sizing purposes. Displacements of up to +/- 0.5 inch and +/- 3 degrees are required at the low end of the response spectrum, while peak amplitudes of 10’s of microns and 10’s of microradians are expected at the high end. The HFMS will be driven by models of the effects resulting from closed-loop thermal and structural deformation in the form of 6 degree of freedom motion commands. More detailed information can be provided after contract award.

PHASE I: The HFMS concept proposed will be demonstrated using modeling and simulation to establish feasibility for guidance component testing. At the end of Phase I, a design will be documented, including electro-mechanical design, control approach, and feedback sensor requirements. High risk items will be identified.

PHASE II: During Phase 2, risks will be mitigated through experimental demonstration at the component level. A detailed design will be developed. A prototype HFMS will be demonstrated in simulation and hardware. The technology will be provided to the government and interface demonstrated with government weapon flight dynamic simulators.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The technology will be transitioned to a commercial product based on lessons learned during the Phase II program. Manufacturability issues will be addressed and production systems will be provided to Air Force and Missile Defense facilities.

REFERENCES:

KEYWORDS: hardware-in-the-loop, HWIL, hypersonic, weapon, structure, vibration, testing, guidance, navigation, control, flight motion simulator