Members of the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium will get a chance to work on prototypes for everything from underwater drones to advanced weapons systems.
The Navy wants to ensure its underwater systems are as capable and deadly as any on Earth and is tapping a consortium of subsurface experts and vendors to advance 15 distinct technology areas.
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center “requires innovative technological solutions to address current and future security threats in the undersea and maritime environment,” according to a contract notice on beta.SAM.gov. The list includes topic areas ranging from passive sensing to advanced weapons delivery.
The opportunity is being funneled through the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium, a group of large and small businesses, non-profits and academia that will get exclusive access to the details and requirements for each area.
The consortium model is unique to contracts using other transaction authorities and is designed to help smaller firms and research institutions team up with larger contractors and deliver faster on the government’s immediate needs. However, once a consortium is chosen to work on a given program, only members of that group are able to see the full requirements.
The public notice offers a list of the 15 focus areas but no details on requirements or what the Navy hopes to gain from research into each topic. The solicitation notes this list is not final and is subject to change at any time.
- Prototype development for passive environmental sensing to support autonomous unmanned surface vessel operation.
- Compact Rapid Attack Weapon, or CRAW.
- Warhead electronics subsystem upgrade kit.
- Expeditionary mine countermeasures operations; very shallow water; underwater search; and expeditionary salvage diving operations prototype.
- Prototype unmanned surface vehicle technology for hydrographic surveying.
- Micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS, based prototype to the MK 19 Exploder and MK 2 Arming Device.
- Optical interrogator.
- Electro-optic system component simulator rack-mounted enclosure.
- Pacific Northwest Range Complex underwater sensor capability upgrade.
- Modern software factory supported by true agile software development, with an accessible, visible, shared DevSecOps environment.
- SEA SHRIKE payload kit.
- 3-D visualization and processing.
- Command decision-making support software backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.
- Sonobuoy in-situ calibration.
- Wide Area Persistent Surveillance.
The Navy will be accepting white papers outlining potential research avenues for each topic, with the goal of producing working prototypes through several rounds of progressive funding.
“Upon a determination that the prototype project for this transaction has been successfully completed, this competitively awarded prototype OTA may result in the award of a follow-on production contract or transaction without the use of competitive procedures,” the notice states.