Automated High Frequency Communications Planner

Navy SBIR 21.3 - Topic N213-142
NAVWAR - Naval Information Warfare Systems Command
Opens: September 21, 2021 - Closes: October 21, 2021 (12:00pm edt)

N213-142 TITLE: Automated High Frequency Communications Planner


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems; Information Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop a fully automated communications planning tool that will cover the military High Frequency (HF) operational frequencies (2 MHz to 30 MHz) and will support, at a minimum, HF sounding information (e.g., ionospheric analysis and modeling, real-time and forecast ionospheric and propagation conditions) to create frequency plans; monitor and control local and distant radio assets; and utilize open standards for management and control planes.

DESCRIPTION: As various threats to the communications world continue to grow, the Navy must remain vigilant and properly equipped to respond to changes to the threat environment. While Satellite Communications (SATCOM) is the preferred method of communications, if degraded or denied, High Frequency (HF) communications provide a means for the continuity of communications. HF communications via ionospheric reflection is a commonly used technique; unfortunately, HF communications are complex due to the constantly changing ionosphere.

Ionospheric sounding is a technique used to provide real-time ionospheric data that is vital for HF communications. With the addition of forecasted data, it can effectively predict the optimal channels for communications.

The solution, expected to be fully automated, will ingest ionospheric and propagation information to actively and dynamically provide frequency plans; and will provide resilient and reliable communications in the tactical environment, which is key to the successful completion of missions of the U.S. Navy, Joint, and Coalition forces.

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 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 NAVWAR 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: Define the automated HF communications planning tool architecture that will optimize HF channel selection based on real-time ionospheric and propagation information, as well as prediction data; and enable monitoring and control of local and distant radios. Determine the feasibility of the tool architecture.

Develop the SBIR Phase II Project Plan to include a detailed schedule (in Gantt format), spend plan, performance objectives, and transition plan for Battle Force Tactical Network (BFTN) Resilient Command and Control (RC2) System Enhancement (BRSE).

PHASE II: Develop a set of performance specifications for the system and conduct a System Requirements Review (SRR).

Engage with the Program Office in its introduction and collaboration with Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific and Office of Naval Research (ONR) Engineers. Establish a working relationship with PMW/A 170 and NIWC Pacific engineers to perform initial integration activities and identification/development of any necessary engineering changes to BRSE.

Develop the prototype system for demonstration and validation in BRSE or an equivalent development environment. Conduct a Preliminary Design Review (PDR). Conduct a Critical Design Review (CDR) prior to building the EDM. Commence development of an Engineering Development Model (EDM) system.

Develop the life-cycle support strategies and concepts for the system.

Develop a SBIR Phase III Project Plan to include a detailed schedule (in Gantt format) and spend plan, performance requirements, and revised transition plan for BRSE.

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: Refine and fully develop the Phase II EMD to produce a Production Representative Article (PRA) of the system.

Perform Formal Qualification Tests (FQT) (e.g., field testing, operational assessments) of the PRA with BRSE.

Provide life-cycle support strategies and concepts for the system by developing a Life-Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP).

Investigate the dual use of the developed technologies for commercial applications such as Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) communications or other users that employ maritime sea-to-shore and ship-to-ship services.


1. "High Frequency." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

2. "Ionosphere." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

3. Hervás, Marcos, et al. "Ionospheric Narrowband and Wideband HF Soundings for Communications Purposes: A Review." PubMed Central (PMC), 28 Apr. 2020.

KEYWORDS: Battle Force Tactical Network; BFTN; Resilient Command and Control; RC2, BFTN RC2 System Enhancements; BRSE,; High Frequency: HF; Ionosphere; Propagation; Automation


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.3 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its 21.3 SBIR BAA pre-release on August 25, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on September 21, 2021, and closes October 21, 2021 (12:00pm edt).

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