Navy aims for the next generation of integrated warfighting tech

ONR is looking to let sensors, weapons and other systems talk to each other clearly.

Navy has put a lot of effort into building what it calls a mission-driven network, and now researchers are looking for the technologies that could help take it to the next level.

The Office of Naval Research has issued a solicitation calling for technologies that could be integrated into the Future Naval Capability project called Communications and Interoperability for Integrated Fires, or CIIF. The goal is to develop next-generation sensor networking, electromagnetic maneuver warfare, and integrated fires across the force, ONR said in its broad agency announcement.

The FNC will be broken up into two products:

Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS), which looks to integrate fires through an on-demand network  that will accommodate any combination of tactical data links. The idea is to not have to translate data into different formats but to use CaaS devices on various platforms to encapsulate the data before moving it. ONR said the difficulty will be in doing this quickly while meeting the quality-of-service and other requirements for critical data.

Mission-based Networking for Data Distribution Systems, or MiND, which seeks to boost the throughput and scalability of the Navy’s current Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Data Distribution System for air and missile defense. ONR wants to make the system flexible enough to also support non-CEC missions, while not interfering CEC’s core mission. Any submissions would have to fir with CEC’s architecture and function, but ONR is considering technologies such as new waveforms, network management tools and an interface with CaaS devices.

ONR said the Naval Research Laboratory will service as the technical lead and systems integrator along with other Navy labs and facilities, to combine vendor products and government technologies into the CIIF capability. Vendors will have to allow integrators to access their technologies in order to develop successful demonstrations, the solicitation said. NRL also will likely hire subcontractors for tasks such as review, integration and testing.

The Navy is handling Caas and MiND as separate projects, with separate industry days scheduled for March 8 (MiND) and March 9 (CaaS). Even companies planning to submit to both projects should do so separately. Initial full proposals are due by March 29, with final revised proposals due May 3.

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