Next Generation Electronic Warfare Human Machine Interface (HMI) for Submarines
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-036
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-036 TITLE: Next Generation Electronic Warfare Human Machine Interface (HMI) for Submarines

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS-435, Submarine Imaging and EW 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. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: To develop an intuitive, responsive, and open Human Machine Interface (HMI) system for Submarine Electronic Warfare (EW) AN/BLQ-10B (V) for increased operator efficiency and decision-making for submarine operators.

DESCRIPTION: The Navy seeks an innovative approach to improve machine-to-operator interfaces in both traditional and innovative displays for operator interaction with data and system functions to provide the most comprehensive and intuitive controls and displays for operator use. This system should provide easy integration with new applications and features to increase operator functionality without increasing the operator/system interaction. The system must be modular and easily extensible to allow for future growth as the AN/BLQ-10 adds or improves functionality and data sources.

The purpose of HMIs are to allow the EW operator to intuitively interact with the Radio frequency (RF) environment and reduce the operators’ manual interaction with the system while significantly improving emission classification and correlation (ref 2). While the current submarine operational environment becomes increasingly complex and dense, the AN/BLQ-10 (submarine EW system) operator would be capable of providing accurate and timely information to the control room decision-makers for improved situational awareness. With the current submarine EW system becoming increasingly complex (coupled with a denser more complex electromagnetic operational environment), operators will need to have faster interaction with the system in ways that are more intuitive, and accurately show the electromagnetic environment allowing quicker data processing for decision-making and increased operator mission performance (ref 3).

The challenge for the EW operator is to provide the control room decision-makers with timely, relevant, and accurate reports to improve situational awareness. The solution should also focus on improved operational performance, effectiveness and operator workload reduction. These HMI modules must be able to consume and display organic (data collected from on board sensors) and inorganic (data that originates from off board sensors) data sets of varying types. Data sets can range from processed answers (sonar solutions, ESM emitter reports) to raw digital sets (Pulse Descriptor Words (PDW’s), continuous digital intermediate frequency (IF) (CDIF), burst digital IF (BDIF), or In-phase / Quadrature (I/Q) data). These displays can range from processed near real time (NRT) data to real time (RT) data displays (ref 1,4).

During Phase I unclassified data sets of similar complexity and content to actual data will be utilized. During Phase II it is anticipated that work will require access to actual classified data sets and if necessary and available actual system access to for Submarine Electronic Warfare (EW) AN/BLQ-10B (V) may be provided.

PHASE I: The company will develop concepts for a Next Generation EW HMI for Submarines that meet the requirements as stated in the description section. At the completion of Phase I, determine technical feasibility, identify hardware and software architecture concepts with tradeoffs as well as system technical characteristics, and provide a cost analysis of the design. Develop and demonstrate design of key technology components. Establish Phase II performance goals (gradable metrics) and key developmental milestones.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II contract statement of work, the company will develop a scaled prototype for evaluation. In the early part of Phase II, the performer will work with the government representatives to develop a test plan for prototype demonstrations in Phase II. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting Navy requirements for a Next Generation EW HMI for Submarines. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters, including various data sets and numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan that will provide a detailed plan and method of implementation to a full scale system and what is required to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop a Next Generation EW HMI for submarines to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Government commercialization should be applicable across all EW platforms in the Navy. There is potential for other service / agency signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems to utilize these improved HMIs (Combat Sent, Rivet Joint, Global Hawk Ground Station, etc.). Commercial applicability could be used in the telecommunications (TELCOM) and Information Technology industries, and specifically with any RF mapping technologies, emitter detection and classification displays, etc.

1. Fundamentals of Statistical Signal Processing, Vol. 1; PrenticeHall, Steven M. Kay, 1993.

2. R. Wiley, "The Analysis of Radar Signals", 2nd ed. London, U.K.: Artech House Press, 1993.

3. The Beginnings of Solid State Radar, Hyltin, T.M.; IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Volume 36, Issue 3, Part 1, July 2000.

4. EW 102: "A Second Course in Electronic Warfare"; Artech House Press, David L. Adamy, 2004.

KEYWORDS: Electronic Warfare Systems Human Machine Interface; Situation Awareness; Game Theory and modeling; Statistical Analysis, Intuitive Operator Interaction, Signal Analysis

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