SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM in collaboration with USSOCOM Program Executive Office – SOF Warrior (PEO-SW), will facilitate a series of Feasibility Studies (FS) and Rapid Prototype Events (RPE) 11-13 December, 2023, to develop concepts and components of systems that utilize an open architecture to enable rapid, precise, operator-controlled Non-Line of Sight (Non-LOS) targeting in urban, surveilled environments. Additionally, system-level aspects, such as integration, testing, and training, are also considered to ensure fieldable solutions.
ecent battlefield advancements with fixed and mobile sensors are changing the relational dynamic between opposing sides in the close-in fight. Autonomous vehicles and remotely placed sensors have made it very difficult to ingress to and operate in static, fixed locations with Line-of-Sight (LOS) of opposing positions. Reliable networks of sensors can provide virtual LOS for targeting, while enabling SOF operators to remain in unexposed positions. In situations in which a human operator cannot maintain direct LOS, targeting data must be obtained, integrated, and validated to ensure the entire situation is fully understood before kinetic action is initiated. This sensor to integration to visualization process for the operator must occur almost instantaneously to take advantage of fleeting opportunities of the close-in fight. There are many commercially driven opportunities that should be investigated, and the myriad of issues must be better understood to develop a complete close-in, non-LOS targeting system. Further, the system should have an open architecture to permit easy technology insertion. This system will rely heavily on Artificial Intelligence and due to its complex nature will need advanced means to evaluate and train with it in many differing scenarios.
The operational focus of this effort is an urban environment. World-wide trends toward urbanization will force military operations in urban areas that have much more complex environments. Collateral impact to neutral parties must be minimized in rapidly changing scenarios. Urban structures and high-signal densities impact sensor, communications, and weapons operations.
Proposals in the following areas will be considered based on technical merit and diversity of focus area coverage among the submissions. Targeting is intended for kinetic follow-on effects, but parallels to Cyber, Electronic Warfare, and other effects can be included.
1) Sensors. What sensors can provide unique discriminating data to aid in obtaining a non-LOS targeting solution? What platforms can be used to standardize sensor control and data formatting? What sensor collaboration would be beneficial (radar, electro-optical, infrared, hyperspectral, etc.)? What are the parametric requirements for the use case? What is the impact of the urban environment? Fixed vs mobile sensors. Demonstrate your concept in an urban environment.
2) Data networking (transport/backhaul). What short-range data links can be used to form a network? How do the data requirements match the networking capabilities? What mechanisms are available to ensure availability, integrity, enhanced survivability, and other required protections? What network structure is suitable for urban environments? Demonstrate your concept in an urban environment.
3) Data processing. What is needed to effectively clean and normalize the data? How are missing elements of data handled? How can distributed processing be accomplished? How is data accuracy evaluated? Develop a data architecture concept. Demonstrate your concept using data representative of an urban environment.
4) Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. What algorithms can be used to group, correlate, and synchronize data to build a complete, accurate and actionable picture? Timeliness vs completeness vs resource trade-offs. What can be accomplished on the edge to produce dependable target recognition? Defined by characteristics that include:
• increased identification rates of intended targets
• increased discrimination of decoys
• ability to maintain target lock while maneuvering in 3-D space
Demonstrate your concept using data representative of an urban environment.
5) Data Visualization. How are the data and processing results displayed? How would Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) or similar devices be integrated into the non-LOS targeting system? How is data presented horizontally and vertically? Concepts for relating non-LOS targeting data with other display data. Demonstrate effective visualization in a complex urban environment.
6) System Integration, Testing, and Training Concepts. The system aspects of solutions are as important as specific components. What are the issues with integration when looking at the above focus areas collectively? What integration trade-offs are available? What are concepts to test the components separately and together in a real urban environment? What are training concepts for situations in which you may not be able to combine all aspects of the system in an actual environment?
For full details and access to submission templates, visit events.sofwerx.org/urban-non-los-targeting-systems.
Submit NLT 08 November 2023 11:59 PM ET.
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