Responses Due By

2022-05-23 23:59:59 US/Eastern Time

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Unmanned Systems For Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)

Project Description

In the context of international competition between states, the U.S. Navy maintains freedom of navigation and access to waterways around the world. This is critical to the free flow of goods and commerce, but there are insufficient assets to maintain a constant physical presence in the many critical maritime areas globally. However, with a network of unmanned and autonomous platforms, the Navy can maintain broad awareness, and react quickly as required.

To solve this, the Department of Defense (DoD) seeks state-of-the-art commercial solutions for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Only solutions that are technically mature and immediately demonstrable will be considered. Solutions selected for this project will be required to participate in a 35 day DoD exercise in November/December 2022 at a location outside the continental United States. Transportation of equipment to and from the exercise from the mid-atlantic U.S. will occur via military aircraft. Alternate transportation will be by exception only and at the government’s discretion.

The DoD seeks the following hardware and software solutions:

  1. Specific unmanned and autonomous vehicle (UxV) capabilities, by class:
    1. Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs)
      1. USVs must be capable of transit from a launch point to a patrol area up to 200 nautical miles (nm) away. 
      2. USVs must be capable of loitering/station-keeping in the patrol area. 
    2. Buoys and/or Fixed Sensors
      1. The government will consider platforms without propulsion/station keeping ability independent of USVs.
    3. Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) must have a minimum endurance of 96 hours in an operational setting.
    4. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed for operation over a power/data tether and from a moving vessel will be considered.
      1. UAVs should be prepared to document compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements related to manufacturing.
  2. General Capabilities Applicable to all classes of UxV:
    1. The government will consider the implications of speed and endurance capabilities of all proposed solutions.
    2. Must have sensors native or available for integration into the platform with no additional development/non-recurring engineering (NRE). The government will consider the implications of the type and characteristics of available sensors on the proposed solution. 
    3. Must be capable of transmitting mission data (defined below in 2.4.) beyond line of sight (BLOS), either natively or with a government furnished radio. The government will consider the type and characteristics of available communications modules - line of sight or BLOS - on the proposed solution.
    4. The government desires the platform mission data to be exportable in a common data format or via an application programming interface (API), and will consider the ease of ingesting and integrating mission data into other commercial and government systems. Examples of relevant types of mission event data includes (but is not limited to):
      1. Platform engineering operations and hull, mechanical, electrical (HME) data;
      2. Situational awareness data to include sensor feeds;
      3. Autonomy mission logs; and
      4. Edge processed data (e.g. autonomous target recognition (ATR)).
    5. The government desires a native capability to detect and identify surface vessels not equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder. Ideally, the capability is capable of characterizing the vessel behavior as regular or anomalous. The government also desires a generic object detection and avoidance capability native to the platform.
      1. This data should be available via the exportable dataset described in 2.4 (above).
    6. The government desires platforms to have native or available capability to receive abstract operator input (e.g. a mission objective) then decompose and prioritize that input into discrete tasks. This is sometimes referred to as “Mission Level Autonomy.” Commonality between platforms will be via this high-level command and control (C2) and the government will consider how much additional operator monitoring the platform requires to function
  3. Data Integration Platform
    1. The government desires the capability to receive disparate streams of mission event data over a BLOS data link and parse those non-homogenous streams for common data elements into a common schema. Examples of relevant types of mission event data includes (but is not limited to):
      1. Platform engineering operations and hull, Mechanical, Electrical (HME) data;
      2. Situational awareness data to include sensor feeds;
      3. Autonomy mission logs; and
      4. Edge processed data (e.g. ATR).
    2. The government desires the ability to integrate and visualize - geospatially - mission data information from multiple data sources (platforms) in a common operating picture (COP).
      1. The government will consider the ease at which this can be done
    3. Ideally, the government desires the ability to transfer data from a lower security domain to a higher security domain in near real time, without the use of physical media to facilitate transfer, while ensuring data integrity.
    4. Ideally, given sensor data from a platform, the government desires a capability to detect and identify surface vessels not equipped with an AIS transponder. Ideally, the capability is capable of characterizing the vessel behavior as regular or anomalous. The government also desires a generic object detection.

Coordinating Instructions

Vendors should address the following considerations in their submission:

  1. UxV platform solutions should address their method of launch and recovery, and any associated support equipment required.
  2. UxV platform solutions should address the existing communication modules in use or available, including make/model, and spectrum requirements. If awarded, the vendor will work with DoD Combatant Commander for spectrum approval.
  3. UxV platforms solutions should address the embedded onboard sensors, their capabilities and limitations.

Awarding Process



Awarding Process:


Question: Do vendors need to have security clearances to submit solutions to this AoI, and participate in prototyping?

Answer: No.

Question: Are you looking for a complete solution to all the areas mentioned, or are you open to capabilities that address a smaller subset that could be integrated into larger platforms to address the overall solution?

Answer: The government is considering technically mature and demonstrable-now solutions for (1) UxS *and/or* (2) data integration platforms.

  • Vendors with a mature UxS solution that meets the criteria listed in sections 1 and 2 above may submit. 
  • Vendors with a mature data integration system that meets the criteria listed in section 3 may also submit.
  • Vendors with both UxS solutions and data integration solutions may submit both solutions.
  • Vendors may submit more than one solution for any combination of the above.

Question: Can vendors propose a teaming or teamed solution?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Does the DIU intend to purchase the hardware proposed for this exercise?

Answer: Although DIU may purchase hardware when it issues Prototype Other Transaction Agreements, the purchase of hardware for prototyping is not the intent of this project.

Question: Is DIU planning to award multiple OTA contracts to different suppliers for each of the four classes listed in the call?

Answer: DIU may award more than one Prototype Other Transaction Agreement for this project.

Question: The CSO instructions (Section 3.2) state that the Executive Summary should be 1 page. Can offerors propose an exec sum that is less than 1 page and still be compliant with the submission requirements?

Answer: The executive summary may be less than one page.

Before You Submit

Companies are advised that any Prototype Other Transaction (OT) agreement awarded in response to this solicitation may result in the direct award of a follow-on production contract or agreement without the use of further competitive procedures. Follow-on production activities will result from successful prototype completion.

The follow-on production contract or agreement will be available for use by one or more organizations within the Department of Defense. As a result, the magnitude of the follow-on production contract or agreement could be significantly larger than that of the Prototype OT agreement. All Prototype OT agreements 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 successfully been completed, this competitively awarded Prototype OT agreement may result in the award of a follow-on production contract or transaction without the use of competitive procedures.”

2018 Other Transaction Guide

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Solution Brief

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I certify that this submission contains no data designated higher than "Controlled Unclassified Information" (CUI). Submissions with CUI and "FOUO" material may be accepted.

Any agreement awarded off of this solicitation will include language requiring your company to confirm compliance with Section 889 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Pub. L. 115-232). If you are not able to comply with the law, the Government may not be able to award the agreement.

We Work With You

If we think there’s a good match between your solution and our DoD partners, we’ll invite you to provide us with a full proposal — this is the beginning of negotiating all the terms and conditions of a proposed prototype contract.

After a successful prototype, the relationship can continue and even grow, as your company and any interested DoD entity can easily enter into follow-on contracts.

Our Process

  1. We solicit commercial solutions that address current needs of our DoD partners.

  2. You send us a short brief about your solution.

  3. We’ll get back to you within 30 days if we’re interested in learning more through a pitch. If we're not interested, we'll strive to let you know ASAP.