This solicitation is now closed
Influence Sweeping of Pressure Mines
Navy STTR FY2007 - Topic N07-T030
Opens: February 20, 2007 - Closes: March 21, 20076:00am EST

N07-T030 TITLE: Influence Sweeping of Pressure Mines

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles, Battlespace

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Unmanned Surface Vehicle Minesweeping PMS 495

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to identify and develop a practical technology, system and employment technique for unmanned sweeping of pressure mines in ports, harbors, shipping lanes and coastal approaches.

Existing Capabilities: Naval mine countermeasures emphasize systems, technologies, tactics and procedures for minehunting; that is the detection, classification, identification and neutralization of naval mines. In tactical situations or littoral environments where minehunting is not feasible, or does not sufficiently reduce the risk of mine damage to naval forces, minesweeping systems and tactics are employed to further reduce that risk. Existing mechanical and influence minesweeping systems employed by the fleet represent technology developed more than half a century ago. New technology for magnetic and acoustic influence minesweeping is in S&T development, will transition to the mine warfare mission package of the Littoral Combat Ship during the FYDP, and generally satisfies established requirements for influence sweeping magnetic and/or acoustically actuated mines.

Gap in Capabilities: Sweeping Pressure Mines.
Naval mines acuated by a passing ship hullís pressure wave have existed for many years, but no practical means of sweeping these mines is readily available. Thus the sweeping of pressure mines remains an established Navy requirement, recently re-validated within the US Navy. Employment of pressure mines by an adversary is likely to be in the relatively shallower waters of ports, habors, shipping lanes or coastal approaches where wave action is minimized so as to not be a factor in actuation. The consequences of a commercial port closing due to a mine damaged vessel sinking in a ship channel have been the focus of many ongoing homeland defense activities involving technologists, system developers and operators.

Previous Solutions:
Efforts to develop technologies or systems to sweep pressure mines have not resulted in a practical, readily available and deployable unmanned system. Such efforts included sacrificial surface vessels, or large submerged tow-bodies. Sacrifical surface vessels would need to be large in order to develop pressure wave characteristics of the targeted vessels. Submerged tow-bodies develop significant drag and required very high powered towing vessels. These approaches to a solution were considered impractical, expensive to develop, maintain and deploy given the perceived level of threat at the time.

Fulfilling the Requirement:
A fresh look at solutions for pressure mine sweeping is warranted and responds to validated Navy requirements. Given the Navy's requirements for mine countermeasures solutions that decrease the tactical timeline for clearing mines, a solution that is readily deployable, possibly as part of the Mine Warfare Mission Package of the Littoral Combat Ship, or practical to maintain in major port areas is desired. Additionally, the desired solution should be employable without the requirement for onboard operators. A successful solution will operate in most environments where pressure mines are employed.

PHASE I: Provide an initial development effort that demonstrates an understanding of the problem, scientific merit and potential capabilities of a practical, deployable unmanned minesweeping system for pressure influenced naval mines.

PHASE II: Develop a practical, prototype system for demonstration, and demonstrate performance effectiveness on instrumented/exercise pressure influenced mines in typical environments. Phase II may require access to classified information.

PHASE III: Transition the technology to the ONR Mine Countermeasures Future Naval Capability program for further development and demonstration, or if maturity warrants, to the Naval Sea Systems Command program of record in minesweeping.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Under the US Maritime Operational Threat Response Plan, the US Navy is charged with clearing naval mines in US ports. Given this responsibility lies entirely within the operational military, the developed product is not expected to have a direct application or benefit to industry, other than the obvious impact to US commerce caused by naval mining of a US port, harbor or coastal shipping lane. It it expected that expeditious mine clearing would be enhanced by the availability of minesweeping gear within or in close proximity to all US ports where disruption of commerce would cause significant economic or strategic impact to the US.

1. Sea Mines & Countermeasures: A bibliography. US Naval Postgraduate School, July 2005.

2. FY06 US Naval Mine Countermeasures-Challenges and Vision. Chief of Naval Operations, August 2004

3. Operations Research in Wartime: Naval Mining. Journal of Operations Research, Vol 15, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1967

4. Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces. National Academy Press, 2001

5. New Techniques to Predict Ship Vulnerability to Pressure Mines Along Shipping Routes. Publication DSTO-RR-0126, Author: John C Barnes, Defense Science and Technology Office, Australia, February 1998.

KEYWORDS: Pressure Mines; Minesweeping; Naval Mines; Influence Minesweeping;Ship Vulnerability;Mine Countermeasures

TPOC: Mark Hyman
Phone: (850)234-4126
Fax: (850)234-4141
2nd TPOC: Robert Schnoor
Phone: (703)588-2430
Fax: (703)696-2007

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