Radar Seeker Model for Hypersonic Weapon Full Life Cycle Support

Navy SBIR 21.1 - Topic N211-097
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs
Opens: January 14, 2021 - Closes: February 24, 2021 March 4, 2021 (12:00pm est)

N211-097 TITLE: Radar Seeker Model for Hypersonic Weapon Full Life Cycle Support

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Hypersonics

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics; 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 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a high-fidelity design-level modeling environment for radar seeker subsystems that captures the relevant operational and environmental constraints of hypersonic flight. The model will be configurable to perform low level design tradeoffs in a standalone environment or operate as a subsystem in closed-loop 6DOF architectures for end-to-end integrated performance evaluation.

DESCRIPTION: In order to develop and simulate advanced radar seeker concepts at the extreme conditions associated with hypersonic flight, there is a need to develop a modeling capability that considers the mission-specific challenges for the potential seeker concepts. Government laboratories need a robust seeker modeling capability to perform research involving fundamental design tradeoffs for future concepts, as well as to efficiently predict operational performance. Seeker models are used at all stages of the weapon simulation process. In flight simulations of an integrated munition, the seeker may provide an alternative means of navigation and directly feed guidance, acquiring the target and selecting an aimpoint in the presence of target location error. For modeling and simulation to be relevant, DoD acquisition guidance stresses the need to continually refine the model based on results from experimental data collection. The acquisition trend toward validated "digital twins" further emphasizes the need for a high-fidelity seeker model operating with Radio Frequency (RF) that follows a concept from inception through operational deployment. The desire for conforming to Weapon System Open Architecture interface standards also benefits from high-fidelity models that allow the assessment of standard conformity and data validity.

Hypersonic weapons in particular provide challenges that stress the functional performance of the seeker subsystem. Current modeling tools do not integrate the effects of the aero-thermal and thermo-elastic impacts of the hypersonic environment on measurement accuracy. It is essential to model the impact of aerodynamic heating for specific radome/antenna placement and deformation of exotic airframes built of materials such as Inconel and titanium alloys. It is also important to model the in-depth heating, static deformation, and modal dynamics of the structure when they impact measurement accuracy. The ability to interface with Government-developed Fluid-Thermal-Structural-Interaction (FTSI) models, even during real-time hardware-in-the-loop simulation, is desired to capture the impact of the environment on guidance performance. The required tool should not only allow for front end design signal processing simulation, but also backend processes such as image formation and target identification. The ability to impart and assess the impacts of kinematic constraints on data acquisition and signal processing functions is essential. An RF sensor on a weapon that plans to use Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) or Doppler Beam Sharpening (DBS) will need to pick a different waveform than a sensor flying at more conventional speeds. RF seekers on weapons do not have the favorable squint angle of a side-looking radar and will be expected to operate in steep, extended, terminal dives. Conventional "stop and hop" radar models may have errors when they assume the beginning of the transmit pulse and end of the receive pulse are close in space and the speed of the weapon is far from the speed of light.

The developed technology will be transitioned to Navy and other DoD facilities. For proof of concept and evaluation, the processing architecture must be baselined to communicate/interface with the existing 6DOF engagement systems, FTSI modeling capabilities, and radar scene modeling capabilities. Detailed knowledge of RF seeker design, seeker functional requirements in a munition environment, and hypersonic environmental constraints is critical. Understanding and modeling of the impact of emerging technologies will be required. A requirements assessment during Phase I will determine Use Cases and required interface compatibility with other government systems. Designs with software modularity that allow for incremental increase in fidelity are possibly of benefit to accommodate budgetary and programmatic constraints.

The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If needed, unclassified data of the same level of complexity as classified data will be provided to support Phase I work. The Phase II effort will likely require access to classified information, and SSP will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and SSP in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Establish Use Cases and develop a simulation architecture that can meet the RF seeker modeling goals identified. Physical models and dependencies will be determined along with fidelity requirements associated with each Use Case. Document the design and trades made to reach the conclusions. Design risks will be determined and to the extent possible proof of concept for the approach taken will be accomplished. The software design should use best practices to provide for readability, modification, scalability, maintenance, and verification. In Phase I, model limitations will be identified that need to be addressed during Phase II. Phase II objectives and demonstration plans will be identified. The Phase I Option if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype model for a subsystem of a hypersonic seeker based on a hardware design. The prototype shall be based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW). The prototype shall be in a language such as C++ or other highly efficient, stable, executable form. The Government shall have access and full Government purpose rights to all source code. Work with Navy subject matter experts, which may include Government personnel and contractors, to develop and demonstrate the prototype and integrate this prototype into a standalone design environment and 6DOF simulation forms. Fully document the prototype design and interfaces. Work together with the Government to analyze the results of all models that are integrated into the hypersonic seeker model as it performs relevant hypersonic engagement scenarios and vignettes.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy and Air Force in transitioning the technology to DoD use. In addition to NSWC Crane and AFRL/RW, other DoD and DoD contractor facilities will be identified as potential users of this technology. The final product supports multiple applications from early conceptual design through mature validated digital representation of an operational seeker. The end product will allow evaluation of software changes and will allow for planning of mission compatibility of the seeker technology. The system needs to be fully supportable and maintainable by the government so that models can be moved between Use Cases for a given weapon system application. The system needs to be adaptable and expandable as technology improves. This technology can also be used to model other problems where high speed maneuvering with radar sensor data collection is needed. Example applications are collision avoidance and terrain mapping for both commercial airplanes and future autonomous cars.


  1. Clive, Peter. "Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integrating, and Modeling (AFSIM)." International Conference on Scientific Computing (CSCí15). www.worldcomp-proceedings.com/proc/p2015/CSC7058.pdf
  2. Director, Systems and Software Engineering Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). "Systems Engineering Guide for Systems of Systems", August 2008 (recently revised). acqnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/DoD-Systems-Engineering-Guide-for-Systems-of-Systems-Aug-2008.pdf
  3. Balz, T. "Real-time SAR simulation of complex scenes using programmable graphics processing units." Proceedings of the ISPRS TCVII Mid-term Symposium. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/200148298_Real-time_SAR_simulation_of_complex_scenes_using_programmable_Graphics_Processing_Units

KEYWORDS: Guidance, Navigation, and Control GNC; Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration, and Modeling AFSIM; Synthetic Aperture Radar SAR; hypersonics; airframe modeling; RF seeker; RF image processing

[ Return ]