Indirect Fire Navigation without GPS or Civilian Infrastructure

Navy SBIR 23.2 - Topic N232-111
ONR - Office of Naval Research
Pre-release 4/19/23   Opens to accept proposals 5/17/23   Closes 6/14/23 12:00pm ET

N232-111 TITLE: Indirect Fire Navigation without GPS or Civilian Infrastructure


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 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 low-cost, Indirect Fire Navigation (IFN) architecture that will provide the Navy and Marine Corps with a common, ubiquitous method of all-weather communication and guidance for a Diverse "Community" of Interceptors and Launchers. With respect to existing weapons, the proposed IFN system must have the potential to reduce the size, weight, power, and cost of engagements by an Order of Magnitude with a commensurate increase in the number of simultaneous engagements and stored kills. Moreover, IFN systems must also be capable of network-centric cooperative engagements between platforms with IFN capabilities with the ultimate goal of making "every ship a shooter" and achieving distributed defense among all ship classes.

DESCRIPTION: Existing systems are characterized by large, powerful, and expensive radars, illuminators, missiles, and launching systems. Low bandwidth communications links, single channel illuminators, and volumetrically inefficient magazines limit the ability of these systems to effectively address large, multi-axis raids and project power to ranges beyond line-of-sight. IFN architectures will radically alter these metrics by building on existing technology and applying it to both existing and new weapon systems which have been designed to maximize the benefits of the IFN concept. IFN constructs will support surface to surface and surface to air engagements at long range (over-the-horizon) and must have low size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements. Concepts shall be applicable to both existing missile and projectile systems and new, compact, low-cost interceptors. The IFN architecture may contain off-board targeting systems and must be capable of accepting a targeting "Cue" from any higher-level Search and Track sensor without consuming additional sensor resources.

Work produced in Phase II will 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 and Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and ONR 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: Conduct a study that develops at least one system concept for IFN meeting the features listed above in the Description. The basic physics of critical elements within the proposed IFN system must be characterized and modeled. Parametric studies are acceptable where performance characteristics vary widely or are unknown. If more than one concept is studied, compare, contrast, and rank the attributes of each and recommend the best path toward further investment, study, development, and experimentation. Prepare a report to ONR detailing the IFN design(s) complete with a Phase II testing plan.

PHASE II: Fabricate and demonstrate brass board versions of key elements in the IFN system developed during Phase I. The system model may require additional fidelity to adequately define the test objectives of Phase II testing, which will measure key metrics affecting system performance. The effort will be classified due to the design and testing of IFN subsystems and critical components demonstrating system performance and matrices. Prepare a report to ONR detailing the results of the Phase II design, fabrication, and testing. Develop a Phase III plan for prototype evaluation.

Work in Phase II will become classified. Please see note in the Description.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Design, fabricate, and demonstration test a complete IFN prototype system. Document the design features of the IFN system and the results of demonstration testing in relevant environments associated with Navy and USMC missions. The evolved IFN prototype and Phase III Report will be deliverables to ONR/NSWCDD at the conclusion of each Phase III task.

IFN nodes can and should be networked together. As such, they will not only form a support structure for robust communications and engagement systems for self-defense and power projection but also provide a relative navigation system between each node and of the entire network of nodes. As a consequence, dual use opportunities exist for military and civilian applications where there is a need for, as examples, network health monitoring with self-healing, auto-drive, autonomous landing and docking, and collision avoidance.


  1. Holder, E.Jeff. "Angle-of-Arrival Estimation Using Radar Interferometry." Sci-Tech Publishing, Raleigh NC, 2014.
  2. Johnson, Cale et al. "Organic over-the-horizon targeting for the 2025 surface fleet." Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA, June 2015.

KEYWORDS: Low-Cost, Low-Power, Over-the-Horizon (OTH), Network Centric Cooperative Engagements, Guidance and Navigation, self-defense, power projection


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 19, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on May 17, 2023, and closes June 14, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

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