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Expeditionary Hydrogen On Ship & Shore (EHOSS)


Responses Due By

2024-07-25 23:59:59 US/Eastern Time

Problem Statement


The U.S. Military’s ability to operate effectively in austere environments is directly tied to its logistical capabilities. Several military platforms such as vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems currently rely upon carbon-based fuels, such as JP5, JP8, and diesel, which are sourced far from the point-of-use and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. While fossil fuels are energy-dense, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) reliance represents a vulnerability, especially for operations in remote or contested environments. The use of hydrogen (H2) as an alternate fuel source could partly mitigate these challenges. 


H2 is not a 1:1 replacement for carbon-based fuels; however, it can be generated at the point-of-need with greatly reduced thermal and acoustic signatures. H2 also has capability advantages over some current full electric power supplies in terms of energy density, duration of discharge, operation in extreme cold, and rapid recharging. Recent advances in H2 fuel cells and H2 production have resulted in successful demonstrations of hybrid H2/electric power packs of unmanned vehicles. 


Proposed Solution 


The DoD seeks to prototype an integrated electrolysis-based H2 production, storage and distribution system capable of producing and dispensing a minimum of 20kg H2 in a 24 hour period at an efficiency using 100kW or less power.


The solution should:


  • Be entirely contained within a 20 foot container, to include the electrolyzer, one day’s worth of H2 storage, and any other equipment required for system operation (i.e., cooling capability). 
  • Be capable of operating on a ship or on shore, assuming sufficient and consistent availability of power. The solution should also assume sufficient access to potable water. 
  • Have onboard monitoring/control systems to provide instrument status and alarm to end users. 
  • Have H2 storage capable of delivery to systems or equipment at 350 bar (threshold) / 700 bar (objective), with an option of low-pressure delivery at 1 bar. The fill rates should be 60kg threshold and 100kg objective. 
  • Have the ability to produce H2 at a purity greater than or equal to 99.97%, in compliance with ISO 14687:2019 (H2 fuel quality – Product specification). 
  • Have an ISO 15869:2009 compliant carbon-fiber certified (U.S. Department of Transportation) pressure vessel or other certified H2 storage method shall be used as the H2 storage component. System should leverage standard and compatible connection interfaces for effective storage and distribution.


The government may accept teaming arrangements among submissions offering complimentary capabilities to achieve the desired effect. If appropriate, the government may request vendors to create integrated teams to combine solutions.

 

This is a prototyping effort utilizing or combining commercially available solutions to create a system for further testing and evaluation of this type of mobile H2 generation technology. 

Eligibility Requirements

Awarding Instrument


This Area of Interest solicitation will be awarded in accordance with the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process detailed within W15QKN-21-X-0KXD (DIU CSO), posted to SAM.gov on 02 Oct 2023. This document can be found at: https://sam.gov/opp/ff9c96498527401d9e568cd2f95b0e82/view.

  

Follow-on Production


Companies are advised that any prototype Other Transaction (OT) agreement awarded in response to this Area of Interest may result in the award of a follow-on production contract or transaction without the use of further competitive procedures. The follow-on production contract or transaction will be available for use by one or more organizations in the Department of Defense and, as a result, the magnitude of the follow-on production contract or agreement could be significantly larger than that of the prototype OT. As such, any prototype OT will include the following statement relative to the potential for follow-on production: "In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 4022(f), and 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.”

Opportunistic, Resilient & Innovative Expeditionary Network Topology


Responses Due By

2024-07-19 23:59:59 US/Eastern Time

Opportunistic, Resilient & Innovative Expeditionary Network Topology (ORIENT) 


Problem Statement

The Department of Defense (DoD) in accordance with National Security Strategy and the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) Navigation Plan highlights the need to maintain freedom of navigation and access to waterways.


This is critical to the free flow of goods and commerce, but there are insufficient assets to maintain a constant physical presence in many critical maritime areas. The DoD can maintain such a presence more effectively with a network of unmanned and autonomous platforms in collaboration with current crewed assets.


To make progress towards this goal, the DoD has identified several types of unmanned vehicles (UxVs) that support its effort to deliver Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to commanders. However, the ability of these UxVs to deliver MDA is hampered in disconnected, denied, intermittent, and/or low bandwidth (DDIL) communications operating environments. In particular, there is risk that currently available UxVs require substantial bandwidth to operate effectively, and may be unable to coordinate amongst both themselves and crewed platforms in such environments. This inability to move data to, from, and between UxVs limits DoD’s ability to operationalize a data-driven battlefield advantage.


The Navy’s Pacific Fleet units need an effective means to ensure connectivity for a large number of unmanned vehicles to extend the Fleet’s capability to project effects into a contested environment and reduce the risk to Sailors and Marines in response to adversary escalations. 


Desired Solution Attributes

The DoD needs to ensure that connectivity across a heterogeneous swarm of attritable multi-domain autonomous platforms remains intact. Communications equipment shall be capable of reliable operations in a contested spectrum along with ability to operate at lower classification levels in conjunction with attrition resilience concurrent with the vehicles that they are on. Anti-jam (AJ) and Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) Line of site (LOS) and Beyond Line of Site (BLOS) resilient connectivity, including automated and seamless join and exit to the network, are preferred. Networking solutions shall maintain network awareness and routing across multiple radio frequency communications paths. DoD needs the ability to push one-way updated commands via a broadcast through the LOS and BLOS radio frequency and data networks. Communications across the network must be secure, applying best industry practices of commercial grade transmission and communications security. DoD requires a network control channel and management tool to direct and/or redirect the UxV team in both real-time and non-real-time disconnected operations.


Preferred solution characteristics:

  • Security measures: Advanced encryption, authentication, and intrusion detection to safeguard data and prevent cyber threats.
  • Mesh redundancy and failover: Systems designed with backup mechanisms and the ability to reroute data in case of network failure or outage
  • Low latency: Minimal data delays in transmission
  • Short-haul comms: Systems shall be capable of mobile ad-hoc networking for short-haul comms amongst heterogeneous groups of vehicles
  • Long-Haul Comms: UxV teams shall be capable of BLOS comms to support long-haul data exfil. While not every vehicle will need to communicate via long-haul, more universal comms capabilities increase redundancy as swarm members attrit
  • External interfaces: Solutions must be able to integrate with IP based vehicle-borne autonomy agents with control to restrict radio transmissions/reception, enter into receive only modes or direct movement to alternative frequencies
  • Size, weight, and power (SWAP): Solutions will be hosted on multiple types of platforms. As such, it is acceptable to present solutions with different capabilities and SWAP considerations based on the target platform (sUAS, maritime surface vessels, etc.)
  • Considerations to deconflict, coexist with, and possibly leverage existing radio or sensing system frequencies including but not limited to 5G (military, private, or commercial).
  • Jam resistance: Against radio frequencies (5G and others) emitted by adversaries.


Solution must not include:

  • Proprietary interfaces : Software and hardware must be able to utilize open commercial standards for all communications external to the proposed solution. Another option would be for the vendor to provide the government with their API, while the vendor submits the API as an open standard.


Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate product maturity and deployment validation (i.e., products that readily fit or can be adapted for the solicited purpose with the least amount of non-recurrent-engineering effort).  


Considering there are multiple protocols appropriate for drone communications and failover, we do not expect a single submission to cover all possible alternatives. As such, partial solutions that uniquely address specific requirements (e.g., interference mitigation) are welcome and will be considered for this solicitation. Proposals offering modular approaches are encouraged to submit their proposals.


Solution providers should expect to participate in a shared development space with other vendors, operators and government developers to rapidly iterate on solutions. Solutions providers may be asked to collaborate and/or participate in cross functional efforts that may exist under previously established contractual vehicles.  

Eligibility Requirements

This Area of Interest (AOI) solicitation will be awarded in accordance with the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process detailed within HQ0845-20-S-C001 (DIU CSO), posted to FBO in March 2020. Additionally this document can be found within the DIU Library at www.diu.mil/library.


Vendors are reminded that in order to utilize an Other Transaction (OT) agreement the requirements of 10 USC 4022 must be satisfied. Specifically reference 10 USC 4022(d), which requires significant contribution from a nontraditional defense contractor, all participants to be small business concerns, or at least one third of the total cost of the prototype project is to be paid out of funds provided by sources other than the Federal Government.

Autonomous Collaborative Teaming (ACT)


Responses Due By

2024-07-19 23:59:59 US/Eastern Time

Problem Statement

The Department of Defense (DoD) lacks the ability to coordinate hundreds or thousands of unmanned assets in a shared environment, particularly when navigation and communications are disrupted or denied. The need for autonomous vehicles to execute complex tasks at machine speed requires collaborative autonomy at the edge that is designed to function in the degraded conditions of peer conflict. 


Command and control (C2) systems in the DoD are not built to handle this magnitude of vehicles and collaborative autonomy. The C2 software solutions that currently exist are not prepared to handle and display the large volume of information streams that are provided by or needed for collaborative autonomy at the scale of hundreds of autonomous systems. Furthermore, cognitive load is a key obstacle of the current approach to command and control of multiple unmanned systems, even when shared across teams of operators. While collaborative autonomy can offer some relief to the cognitive burden of controlling multiple assets, the user interface is a key part of that relief. 


Desired Solution Attributes

DoD intends to rapidly iterate on existing autonomy architectures to incorporate new vehicles of multiple modalities, with multiple users providing hierarchical command and control across a distributed, intermittent network. In order to accomplish this goal, the Department is seeking solutions to the following: 


Collaborative Autonomy Systems Integration Solutions

The DoD seeks the ability to coordinate hundreds or thousands of unmanned assets in a shared environment, particularly when navigation and communications are disrupted or denied. The government desires an experienced integrator with mature collaborative autonomy solutions to adapt and re-design government furnished collaborative autonomy architectures for integration across a wide array of vehicles in every domain. Vendors will be evaluated on their ability to lead an agile development activity, including the creation, design, development, demonstration and deployment of large scale distributed autonomy solutions that provide the below core features. Submissions must detail the maturity of prior vendor lead autonomy efforts and their effectiveness in both live and virtual environments using real world examples.


Solutions must address their technical approach to all of the following core features of collaborative autonomy: 

  • Generalizable behaviors across many modalities: Search, target interception, signal relay, decoy, target tracking, simultaneous arrival, etc.
  • Mission management and prioritization: Allocation of assets against prioritized mission goals, adjusting for attrition, and the execution of complex planning based on phases, timelines, triggers and user signals.
  • Global and Local path planning: Traffic avoidance, obstacle avoidance, coordinated group movements, global frame constraints.
  • Track Fusion: The synthesis of targets detected by many vehicles/sensors into a single target track.
  • Communications Management: The when, why and how of communications that are driven by mission outcomes. When it is appropriate to communicate, what to communicate about and how to do so during each phase of mission execution in order to maximize mission success. 


Common Command User Interface Solutions:

The DoD seeks command and control user interfaces built to handle hundreds of vehicles and collaborative autonomy. Solutions must enable extensive mission planning, while also supporting real-time interaction with overlapping layers of information from separate vehicles and track sources. Command and control software solutions must be prepared to task and control at the scale of hundreds of vehicles at a time. Solutions may include adequate software and hardware for use in operations centers, by launch and recovery elements, for field operators or other various locations. 


Solutions shall address the following core features at a minimum:


  • Asset Command and Control: The ability to task heterogeneous multi-domain vehicles via a common command interface, ranging from individual manual control to reorganizing and redistributing multiple assets while accounting for unique vehicle capabilities. 
  • Integration with Collaborative Autonomy: The ability to interface with vehicles through Collaborative Autonomy software, deployed either on vehicles or at the C2 node, over the air, to any number of vehicles
  • Complex Mission Behavior Planning: The ability to plan the series of behaviors, triggers and sub-behaviors, built by a user, to support a large-scale mission while accounting for potential loss of connectivity and operator control. 
  • Modularity for Plugins: The adaptability to accept modular plugins to allow for vehicle specific behaviors or new communication protocols as necessary.
  • User Roles and Authorities: Distribute access controls to various users so that asset command and control can transfer without having to be managed by a single user.
  • External Information Streams: User interfaces should be able to incorporate and contribute to additional information streams relevant to the command,  and control and mission planning of unmanned assets.
  • Track and Target Management: Aggregate detected targets and information about them, digestible by type, importance, recency, etc.
  • Asset Management: Report the status, health, fuel state, capabilities and other information of an asset.


Solutions briefs should address either collaborative autonomy or common command user interface, partial solutions to either line of effort will not be considered having technical merit to address the AOI. The government intends to team collaborative autonomy providers with a number of user interfaces, existing autonomous vehicles and other prototype solutions in a rapid iteration and test environment. Solution providers should expect to participate in a shared development space with other vendors, operators and government developers to rapidly iterate on solutions. Solutions providers may be asked to collaborate and/or participate in cross functional efforts that may exist under previously established contractual vehicles.  


Of emphasis, collaborative autonomy systems integration submissions will be asked to modify and improve existing government owned architectures provided as GFE/GFI based on their prior knowledge and experience, while operating as a lead systems integrator for future autonomous vehicles and autonomy services.


FAQs

Q: If a vendor wants to submit a solution for both Collaborative Autonomy and C2, should they submit two solution briefings?

A: Yes.

Eligibility Requirements

This Area of Interest (AOI) solicitation will be awarded in accordance with the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process detailed within HQ0845-20-S-C001 (DIU CSO), posted to FBO in March 2020. Additionally this document can be found within the DIU Library at www.diu.mil/library.


Vendors are reminded that in order to utilize an Other Transaction (OT) agreement the requirements of 10 USC 4022 must be satisfied. Specifically reference 10 USC 4022(d), which requires significant contribution from a nontraditional defense contractor, all participants to be small business concerns, or at least one third of the total cost of the prototype project is to be paid out of funds provided by sources other than the Federal Government.


Follow-on Production

Companies are advised that any prototype Other Transaction (OT) agreement awarded in response to this Area of Interest may result in the award of a follow-on production OT agreement or contract without the use of further competitive procedures. The follow-on production OT agreement or contract will be available for use by one or more organizations in the Department of Defense and, as a result, the magnitude of the follow-on production OT agreement or contract could be significantly larger than that of the prototype OT. As such, any prototype OT agreement will include the following statement relative to the potential for follow-on production:

"In accordance with 10 U.S.C. § 4022(f), and upon a determination that the prototype project, or portions thereof, for this transaction has been successfully completed, this competitively awarded prototype OT agreement may result in the award of a follow-on production OT agreement or contract without the use of competitive procedures.”