Solid State Power Amplifier System for Very Low Frequency Communication

Navy SBIR 23.3 - Topic N233-119
NAVWAR - Naval Information Warfare Systems Command
Pre-release 8/23/23   Opens to accept proposals 9/20/23   Closes 10/18/23 12:00pm ET

N233-119 TITLE: Solid State Power Amplifier System for Very Low Frequency Communication


OBJECTIVE: Design and demonstrate the ability to provide a 1 megawatt (MW) solid state power amplifier system to integrate into existing very low frequency (VLF) communication equipment.

DESCRIPTION: PMW 770 is looking to develop and install an affordable solid state power amplifier system to replace obsolete vacuum tube amplifiers at VLF transmitter sites with minimal down time and operation impact.

The Navy is interested in verifying a 1 MW solid state power amplifier system that meets the following minimum specifications:

� should work in all weather conditions (e.g., rain, daylight, night, cold, hot, etc.);

� should maintain existing reliability rating;

� should have redundancy and overhead built into the system;

� should have built-in test (BIT) capabilities for fault indications;

� should have automatic and step-by-step (i.e., manual) operation;

� should be able to demonstrate 1 MW across the entire VLF frequency range;

� should be able to demonstrate that it works with arc and phase monitoring equipment;

� should be able to demonstrate that it works with a synchronous tuner and that it can be auto-tuned;

� should be able to integrate into the existing system with minimum downtime;

� should be able to demonstrate that it works with legacy NATO Interoperable Submarine Broadcast System (NISBS) and Low Band Universal Communications System (LBUCS) outputs at their different baud rates; and

� should maintain IEEE electronic standards.

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 and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). 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 Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (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: Conduct a study to determine the technical feasibility and initial design of an affordable 1 MW solid state power amplifier system that could replace the existing vacuum tube amplifier system with minimal downtime at a VLF Broadcast Transmitter Station (BTS). For the identified solution, develop the SBIR Phase II Project Plan to include a detailed schedule (in Gantt format), spend plan, performance objectives and specifications, and transition plan for the identified Program of Record (PoR).

PHASE II: Design, develop, demonstrate, and validate a 1 MW solid state power amplifier system prototype based on Phase I work that could be long term tested at a BTS VLF site. Develop life-cycle support strategies and concepts for the system. Develop a SBIR Phase III commercialization plan.

Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in Description section.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine the prototype and if required, perform additional development to produce a Production Representative Article (PRA). Perform test and validation to certify and qualify components for Navy use. Support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. Investigate the dual use of the developed technologies for other DoD applications as well as commercial applications to include ground penetrating radar and communication.


  1. Minimum Viable Product (MVP):
  2. Technology Readiness Levels:
  3. NAVY VLF site history:

KEYWORDS: Very Low Frequency (VLF); solid state power amplifier; Naval Submarine Communications; Fixed Submarine Broadcast System (FSBS); NRTF Lualualei; undersea communications; high power communications


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.3 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.3 SBIR Topics pre-release on August 23, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on September 20, 2023, and closes October 18, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

Direct Contact with Topic Authors: During the pre-release period (August 23, 2023 through September 19, 2023) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on September 20, 2023 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period.

SITIS Q&A System: After the pre-release period, until October 4, 2023, at 12:00 PM ET, proposers may submit written questions through SITIS (SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System) at by logging in and following instructions. In SITIS, the questioner and respondent remain anonymous but all questions and answers are posted for general viewing.

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