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Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) Broad Agency Announcement
This BAA is open only to colleges and universities. On behalf of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Centers, NSWC IHEODTD is soliciting research of interest in support of the NEEC.
Full Proposal Due: 30 October 2023
Areas of Interest
CD-01: College & University Student Capstone and Senior Research Projects: NSWCCD seeks proposals for Capstone projects involving significant undergraduate research. These Capstone projects should be team-based and be able to demonstrate progress on preparing the students for future employment opportunities in Naval-technology related STEM fields. The expectation is that the awardees would work closely with the appropriate technical experts at NSWCCD. Areas of specific interest include, but are not limited to, machine learning and artificial intelligence as it relates to Naval platforms and related technologies, early-stage ship design and optimization, unmanned systems and autonomy, ship motion control and dynamics, naval architecture and hydrodynamics, ship signature management technology, advanced manufacturing, advanced metallic and composite materials for naval platforms, research to improve sustainment of naval platforms (e.g. corrosion control and structural health monitoring), modeling & simulation tools, and real-time ocean environmental modeling, Other technology areas will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis Doing Business with Carderock website: https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWCCarderock/Business/ under the Partnering with Carderock tab. The primary goal of these projects is to develop student interests in naval engineering with an eye toward future employment.
CO-01: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) – GPR is a geophysical technique that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface; current military GPR capabilities do not give accurate enough information. The Navy is interested in conducting research, development and testing of advanced electromagnetic and signal processing technologies for a ground penetrating sensor systems that can be used for military applications, including underground site surveys, and detection of buried unexploded ordnance, oil spills, and minerals.
CO-02: Active Reflect Array - The Navy is interested in conducting research, development and testing of a novel Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) system that is designed to be affordable, energy efficient, potentially portable, and foldable. This system aims to provide a versatile and convenient detection tool in various tactical situations without compromising on performance or reliability. Capability for instrumentation to detect or track small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could also be considered.
CO-03: Application of Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) Standards - Post-Quantum Cryptography is an emergent field in the cybersecurity era and is a priority for national security, including the protection of sensitive naval data assets. The National Institute of Standards (NIST) has recently provided recommendations for standardization of PQC algorithms. Subsequently, the National Security Agency (NSA) has endorsed only KRYSTALS-Kyber for key exchange and KRYSTALS-DiIithium for digital signatures under CNSA 2.0 Suite. These two algorithms are based on structured lattices and will eventually be included in the mainstream embedded devices used in defense and military applications.
CR-01: Processes for objective assessment of Security Operations Center (SOC) tools: Research and develop innovative techniques to objectively vet/assess SOC software products, which may include but are not limited to: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Intrusion Detection/Prevention System (IDS/IPS), and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). Scope of assessment techniques may cover anywhere from the broader ecosystem of tools commonly deployed in a mature SOC, down to a focus on the efficiency and accuracy of emerging cyber technologies, such as automation (e.g. Security Orchestration, Automation and Response [SOAR] technology) and AI/ML (e.g. User Entity Behavior Analytics [UEBA] technology), which may be integrated into the aforementioned tools. The product of this research should provide meaningful assistance in the design, sustainability, and review of capabilities of naval SOC deployments, with a focus on maximizing analyst performance and automation effectiveness.
CR-02: Seeking proposals directed toward faculty-run research projects involving undergraduate students where the focus is on hypersonics capability development. Focus is especially, but not solely, on research projects dealing with ground and flight test and evaluation, instrumentation, data analytics, modeling and simulation, and manufacturing. Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate undergraduate student involvement and skill development. Travel allowance should be included to provide for student travel to share and present their work.
DD-01 – Quantum Computing & Sensing: Research topics of interest include analysis and development of quantum and quantum-inspired algorithms for applications in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computing. These may include elements related to data classification, clustering, network security, optimization, and community detection. We are also interested in near-term quantum sensing applications such as hybrid quantum devices that enable a tactical or strategic advantage for the warfighter ahead of purely quantum systems. This can include augmenting existing sensors with quantum or quantum-inspired techniques such a squeezed light, slow light, entanglement, photon bunching, ghost imaging, weak value amplification, etc.
DD-02 - Hypersonic Weapons Advancement: We seek research proposals that explore advanced multi-purpose high-temperature materials and thermal protection systems; robust and adaptive flight control systems; navigation systems suitable for GPS-denied environments; sensor systems capable of operating in extreme environments; and modeling and simulation. Research areas also include active and passive thermal management solutions, new multifunctional and structural dielectric materials, and novel approaches to aerothermal, computational fluid dynamics and fluid/structure interaction. Advances in prediction of boundary layer transition on carbonaceous and/or ceramic ablators, the role of material processes and architecture in the development of surface roughness under hypersonic flow conditions, as well as mechanisms that lead to material aging due to long term storage. Instrumentation technologies able to measure aerodynamic heating, boundary layer transition, flow field properties, and ablation on volume-constrained, projectiles launched at hypersonic speeds using electromagnetic launch systems.
DD-03 - Intelligent Automation: Research on intelligent architectures that combine and exploit some or all of the following techniques: AI-ML, reinforcement learning, deep learning, probabilistic, generative adversarial networks, or expert systems capabilities. Research that expands the knowledge of the theoretical and mathematical underpinnings of AI/ML systems as well as AI/ML systems engineering are of interest. Advancement in the state of the art in understanding interpretability, verification, validation, accreditation, safety certification, and corrigibility of autonomous systems is sought. Exploration of components or functions of unmanned systems that can be fully automated while minimizing operator interaction is of interest. Consider all aspects of functionality that would allow for autonomous behavior and integration with Navy ship systems such as combat systems, weapons systems, sensors, and control stations. Consider functions such as navigation, situational awareness, targeting, sensors, environmental conditions, control, communications, etc. Identify and recommend prototype applications that will minimize operator-in-the loop functions and minimize response times for sharing critical information to support Naval operations.
DD-04 - Information Superiority: We are seeking innovative sensor fusion and data fusion concepts to characterize the electromagnetic (EM) environment, facilitate the control of that environment (i.e. EM Warfare, Real Time Spectrum Operations) and to generate a comprehensive picture of the Navy and Joint Services mission spaces. This includes the ability to collect multiple signal and data types (e.g. RF, Microwave, IR, Radar, LiDAR, static images, video, etc.), and through the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning processes, convert multi-source data into relevant and actionable information for the commander. Additionally, there is interest in expanding the signals collected in the HF to VHF (3 – 300 MHz) by researching compact and efficient antennas with a focus on technologies that would reduce the size, weight, and signature of those antennas. Research topics that include sensors and sensor coatings suitable for utilization within the harsh Arctic environment are also of interest.
DD-05 – Directed Energy: While a wide variety of antenna technologies exist for low power sensor or communications applications, the development of novel approaches, materials and manufacturing techniques for Directed Energy applications at high peak RF power into the antenna element has been limited. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps platform integration constraints are challenging for employment of antenna designs developed for fixed land infrastructure applications due to wind, green water, dust and shock and vibration. Additionally, the development of custom high power antenna and radome systems can quickly grow in cost and complexity. Research into novel materials and manufacturing techniques that would allow for low cost manufacturing of rugged, high peak power antenna designs would greatly benefit US Navy Directed Energy applications. Research into design options that allow stowing the antenna when not in use to minimize wind or other environmental loads is also required to enable platform integration.
IH-01: Energetic materials that offer disruptive advances in performance. Desired technologies include innovative formulations, synthesis methods, processing methods and/or novel compounds that enable longer range rocket motors or increased warhead performance. Also considered are synthetic methods and/or novel compounds that enable faster, cheaper, or more efficient scale up and production. Solutions should not be a detriment to the current state-of-theart sensitivity to enable their safe handling, processing, and storage. Preference will be given to energetic material concepts whose ingredients are domestically sourced, of practical cost, and readily scaled to support future demonstrations and prototyping. It is expected the NEEC university partner will collaborate with NSWC IHD scientists/engineers and that the proposal will describe how the grant deliverables will be transitioned to the Navy.
IH-02: Theoretical modelling and simulation of detonation zones within a rotating detonation engine (RDE) to predict performance parameters and detonation cell size. Predictive ability should focus on phenomena from inlet to exhaust using practical fuel and oxidizer combinations that can be utilized in tactical Navy systems. Models should be of high enough fidelity to provide meaningful guidance for key RDE design parameters. Preferences will be for unstructured grids with adaptive re-meshing for lower computational cost, reactive flow model adaptable to various fuels, 2D symmetric/full 3D simulation ability, and robust post-processing to be developed and fine-tuned in collaboration with NSWC IHD. It is expected that the NEEC university partner will collaborate with NSWC IHD scientists/engineers and that the proposal will describe how the grant deliverables will be transitioned to the Navy in stages as the work progresses.
IH-03: Experimental/theoretical/computational exploratory analysis of ocular biomarkers that can serve as indicators of exposure to biological and chemical warfare agents. Identify biomarkers using minimally- or non-invasive samples, such as tears, ocular fluid, and eye imaging, to gain valuable insights into the ocular effects of agent exposure. It is expected the NEEC university partner will collaborate with NSWC IHD scientists/engineers and that the proposal will describe how the grant deliverables will be transitioned to the Navy.
PC-01: Expand the knowledge of human performance in extreme environments with quantifiable metrics, mathematical models, and/or reproducible operational assessments. Consider research areas incorporating biostatistics or biomechanical engineering. Efforts should focus on the ability to rigorously measure and improve individual sailor performance (e.g. mobility, thermal stress, respiratory function, comfort, weight reduction, interoperability, efficiency in donning/doffing, etc.) in surface or underwater environments with relevant equipment for those domains.
PH-01: Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a critical capability to increase the efficiency of the Navy’s supply chain, battle repairs and mission readiness. Most research to date has focused on printing mechanical parts. The efforts of this research should focus on the use of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and/or Fused deposition modeling (FDM) machines that can produce parts used in rapid maintenance on damaged radar and communication systems. These printed parts must be able to transmit/receive radio frequency and must consider material formulation, testing as well as overall surface characterization.
PH-02: Antennas, and maintenance thereof, play a significant role in naval combat systems and warfighter readiness. In order to continuously optimize the fleet, there is a need to find alternative and novel methods of propagating radio waves. One such proposed method is by exploring the feasibility and overall development of a liquid antenna system. That is, a system must be developed whereby saltwater is utilized to shape and direct radio signals as opposed to conventional materials such as metals. Developed system should be able to transmit and receive radio signals in a wide range of frequencies in various sea states.
PH-03: Integrated research and development of innovative, personalized and immersive education pedagogy focused on modern maritime corrosion awareness, identification, maintenance, control and mitigation techniques. Research elements include development of Artificial Intelligence/Automated based corrosion inspection capabilities in order to detect defects such as coating failure, corrosion and structural damage on ships and offshore structures. Specific interest is in the effective utilization and deployment of digital learning techniques and medium (Augmented and Mixed Reality) with a student/user centered approach tailored to the unique environment, job type and position. Both synchronous and asynchronous learning methods should be considered.
NPT-01: Investigate R&D efforts that will influence the cyber resilience at all phases of undersea systems life cycle engineering including design, construction, deployment and execution. Provide a reliable and dedicated friendly network cyber operational picture that maps friendly cyber terrain and improves visibility of the current cyber security status. Develop robust cyber indications and warning capabilities to provide early warning of adversary cyber actions in order to detect and proactively counter attempts to disrupt friendly command and control. Investigate the development of cybersecurity tools that are not reliant on signatures of prior attacks or known malicious code, but instead characterize normal network, system, and user behavior and respond to abnormal conditions autonomously.
This BAA is open only to colleges and universities.
The funded amount and period of performance of each proposal selected for award may vary depending on the research area and the technical approach to be pursued by the offeror selected. The amount of resources made available to this BAA will depend on the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funds.