Air force 16. 1 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir) Proposal Submission Instructions



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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:

1. D. Dayton, J. Gonglewski, “Laser speckle and atmospheric scintillation dependence on laser spectral bandwidth,” Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XII, SPIE Vol. 7476 (September, 2009).

2. D. Dayton, S. Browne, J. Gonglewski, et. al., “Long-range laser illuminated imaging: analysis and experimental demonstrations,” Opt. Eng., vol. 40, no. 6, pp. 1001-1009 (2001).

3. D. Dayton, J. Gonglewski, “Least squares blind deconvolution of air to ground imaging,” SPIE Vol. 5981, Optics in Atmospheric Propagation VIII (Oct. 2005).

4. Martin Laurenzis, Yves Lutz, Frank Christnacher, Alexis Matwyschuk, Jean-Michel Poyet, “Homogeneous and speckle-free laser illumination for range-gated imaging and active polarimetry,” Optical Engineering, vol. 51, no. 6, 061302, June, 2012.

5. Goodman, Joseph W. "Speckle Phenomena," Roberts and Co., 2010.

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:

1. Merritt, P. (2011). Beam Control for Laser Systems. Directed Energy Professional Society, Albuquerque, NM.

2. Gilmore, J.P., Luniewicz, M.F., Sargent, D.G., “Enhanced Precision Pointing Jitter Suppression System,” Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 4632, Laser and Beam Control Technologies, San Diego, CA, January, 2002. http://www.deps.org/store/merchandise/TOCs/BeamControlLaserSystemsTOC.html

3. Sebesta, H.R., Rost, M., Burkhard, K., Gabbrielli, M., “Test Experiences in Verification of Precision Inertial Reference Units,” 9th Annual AIAA/BMDO Technology Conference, July 2000.

4. Eckelkamp-Baker, D. and Merritt, P., “Inertial Reference Unit for the Tactical High Energy Laser (HEL) Fighter,” 9th Annual AIAA / BMDO Technology Conference, July 2000.

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:

1. http://www.industrial-lasers.com/articles/2014/04/ultrashort-pulse-laser-micromachining-history-and-future-opportunities.html.

2. http://www.rp-photonics.com/ultrafast_lasers.html.

3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0375960108000856.

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:

1. Bradley, D. R., and Abelson, S. B. (1995). Desktop flight simulators: Simulation fidelity and pilot performance. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 27(2), 152-159.

2. Burgeson, J.C., et al., (1996). Natural effects in military models and simulations: Part III – Analysis of requirements versus capabilities. Report No., STC-TR-2970, PL-TR-96-2039, (AD-A317 289), 48 p., Aug.

3. Distributed interactive simulation systems for simulation and training in the aerospace environment. Proceedings of the Conference, Orlando, Fl, Apr 19-20, 1995. Clarke, T. L., ED. Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (Critical Reviews of Optical Science and Technology, vol. CR 58) 338p.

4. Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics, (2011) FY11 Training Situation Analysis (TSA) Training Transformation for the UH-1N and HH-60G Training Systems

5. DoDD 3002.01 Personnel Recovery in the Department of Defense,16 April 2009, Incorporating Change 1, April 4, 2013.

6. AFDD 3-50, Personnel Recovery Operations, 1 June 2005, interim Change 2, 1 November 2011.

7. Air Force Policy Directive 10-30, Personnel Recovery, 9 February 2012.

8. MIL-HDBK-29612-3.

9. Capability Development Document for United States Air Force Personnel Recovery HH-60 Recapitalization Aircraft, 6 July 2010.

10. Combat Rescue Helicopter Aircrew Training System Requirements Analysis, 6 May 2015.

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.

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