Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System (JTAARS), Autonomous Aerial Resupply Concept, Industry Day Data Exchange
Solicitation Number: W15QKN19X05JJ
Agency: Department of the Army
Office: Army Contracting Command

https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=89f1c4d01c08ca7486a630ead78225ab&tab=core&_cview=0

Original Synopsis: February 26, 2019
Solicitation Number: W15QKN19X05JJ

The U.S. Army, Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) in support of the Requirements Development & Integration (RD&I) branch, US Army Futures Command (AFC), Sustainment Capabilities Development Integration Directorate (CDID) Fort Lee, Virginia, is issuing this special notice for a Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System (JTAARS), Autonomous Aerial Resupply Concept, Industry Day Data Exchange. To accomplish this data exchange, a three day industry data exchange event will take place at Army Logistics University, Fort Lee, VA, on 26-28 Mar 2019.

Objective: To begin dialogue and exchange data between Government proponent Capability Developers/Materiel Developer Action Officers; the Joint Staff, Service Staffs, Army S&T and RDT&E agencies, academia and industry. This is pertaining to the Government’s initial Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System (JTAARS) robotic/automated capabilities. The Government shall provide Industry with the concept of operations (CONOPS) which each service intents to utilize when employing Medium payload (500-800 lbs.) automated Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) capabilities for future Multi Domain Operations (MDO) Brigade Combat Team (BCT) organic sustainment.

Operational Performance characteristics are described below:

•· The two services are specifically focusing on sub-category 3 medium Autonomous Unmanned Aerial System (AUAS) with beyond line-of-sight command and control 100 mile radius capability with a common handheld Ground Monitoring/Control Station (GMCS) capable of transporting 300-800 lb all classes of supply payload. The control system must be able to be integrated into current and future tactical C2 systems at Regiment (USMC) and Brigade Combat Team (BCT) (Army).

•· The system must be packaged for travel and employment and be transported inside a 20′ ISO container or Palletized Load System (PLS) flatrack.

•· The system must be ready for flight (from container to flight ready mode) in 10 min.

•· The system must be able to be lifted out of travel container by 2-4 soldiers.

•· The system should be rugged, lightweight, easily transported, and ready to use as delivered.

•· The system will require minimal logistics, training, support requirements, and turn-around time between missions.

•· The unmanned VTOL air vehicle must be capable of automated functionality including launch, flight, navigation (including GPS-denied), cargo drop, landing, and return to original launch location. It requires autonomous ability to detect and avoid obstacles, evaluate and negotiate landing sites, and optimize its route to achieve resupply and retrograde objectives.

•· The air vehicle should be capable of negotiating a shared airspace, utilizing operational environment information provided by advanced weather radars and other typical technologies found on present-day unmanned aerial systems.

•· A man-portable Ground/Monitoring Control System (GMCS) is required to monitor UAV position and status for continuous supervisory control, and to provide for dynamic retasking of the UAV. The control system must be able to be integrated into current and future tactical C2 systems at Regiment (USMC) and Brigade Combat Team (Army). The hardware and software should have an open architecture framework that allows it to be have a variety of payloads and mission planning software and navigation systems.

•· The system must have anti-hacking capabilities.

Assumptions:

The following assumptions should be considered when providing a response to this RFI. Delivery Drone concepts should describe any significant deviations from these assumptions.

•· Delivery Drones would be available for USA/USMC First Unit Equipped (FUE) operational use by FY 2024.

•· At a minimum all Delivery Drones will abide by commercial unmanned air vehicle and integration requirements.

AFC Sustainment CDID RD&I Branch is specifically interested in systems with the following characteristics:

•· Lightweight vehicle (notionally under 1,320 pounds max gross take-off weight), all components easily man-portable (small size vehicle), with minimal support equipment and maintenance (logistical footprint) required.

•· Carry approximately 300-800 pounds of cargo.

•· Able to autonomously land and takeoff from unprepared and potentially unmapped sites in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), in high hot environments, as well as in dust and sand conditions with minimum visibility.

•· Able to avoid obstacles (both static and dynamic) in flight as well as in the descent-to-during all flight phases.

•· Capable of mission re-planning (including path and goal modifications) from a GMCS while in flight, both within data link range and beyond line-of-sight (BLOS).

•· Communicate with ground personnel for expeditious and safe loading and unloading. There should be a primary and alternate form of communication in the case of primary system failures.

•· Capable of autonomously generating complete paths from takeoff to landing, modifiable in real time by a human-on-the-loop or an Operations Center Supervisor (OCS) in real-time. It should autonomously navigate this route and notify the supervisor and requesting task requestor of any substantial significant deviations.

During flight, the Drone shall:

• Execute preset lost-link procedures to attempt to reacquire the link in the event of data link loss within data link range;

• Execute contingency plans in the case of failure of data link reacquisition, a last-minute change in the safety of the landing site, or upon wave-off command by a human in the loop.

• Execute an abort if the UAS detects an unsafe condition.

•· Daytime and nighttime operation.

•· Operate in varied environmental conditions.

•· Single flight leg minimum range of 50 miles.

•· Time to set-up and launch from field packed state (field packed system is defined as having all the required equipment to accomplish a mission and be in a state safe for transportation): 10 min.

•· Currently technologically mature (TRL 6) enough to demonstrate operational capability.

During Industry Day Data Exchange event be prepared to provide detailed information in response to the questions listed below:

  1. Has your company worked with alternative power options? If so, please describe the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
  2. Has your company worked with Artificial Intelligence in relation to UAVs? If so, please detail the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
  3. Do you have additional autonomy innovations in development for your UAV? If so, please detail the technology (including technology readiness level), fielding, and logistics involved.
  4. What are the different types of flight modes and mission control characteristics used by the system (manual, autonomous, waypoints, loiters, hover and stare, etc.)?
  5. What safety features (i.e. lost link, lost GPS) are built into the system?
  6. What level of encryption does the system use? What other security features does the system have, and how customizable are they?
  7. Is the system capable of simultaneous air-vehicle operations from a single Ground Control Station?
  8. Is the system capable of navigation in GPS denied environments? If so, how?
  9. Is there any recovery equipment required? If so, please provide a description.
  10. How many people are required to operate the system and what roles are required? How many people are required to maintain the system and what roles are required?
  11. How many cubic feet of space is required to store the system when not being operated?
  12. What is the size and weight of the ground control station?
  13. From which countries are hardware and software sourced?
  14. Can your system operate Beyond – Line – Of – Sight (BLOS)

Response Guidelines:

INTERESTED PARTIES ARE REQUESTED TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT BY PROVIDING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

Entity information:

                a.        Name


                b.        If applicable: CAGE code, NAICS business size(s), Business status: 8(a), Small Disadvantaged Business, HUB Zone, etc.


                c.        Status as a U.S. entity, or foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, or foreign-influenced company


                d.        Receipt of funds from governmental agencies for development of your system


                e.        Partners, funding sources, investors


                f.        Contact information

IN ADDITION, POWERPOINT SLIDES ARE TO BE PROVIDED. SLIDES SHALL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Summary of previous relevant experience.
  2. Delivery Drone concept: a. Picture or image, description (e.g. mass, volume, operations concept, expected lifetime, method of propulsion, etc.) b. Hardware and software architecture description c. When Delivery Drone would be available for service d. System must be packaged in the US Military approved containers compatible for ground, sea, and air transportation e. Landing site and flight constraints f. Maximum cargo capacity dimensions in feet and weight in pounds g. Tradeoff between payload weight and range h. Endurance between refuel or recharge, and if battery powered, how the batteries are recharged, how much time is required to return to full charge following a maximum endurance flight, and equipment required to recharge i. If applicable, data link used for communications between the GCS and each UAV, to include waveform, operational frequency band, analog or digital, and encryption capabilities. j. Assembly required to ready the air vehicle for operation from its field packed state</code></pre></li>

Responses:

All interested, capable, and responsible sources that wish to participate in this event, please provide the requested information via electronic mail no later than 21 March 2019. Please limit responses to no more than 20 slides, not including preprinted product data sheets or marketing materials. Interested sources may provide multiple responses, one per potential solution, to this RFI. ALL RESPONSES MUST BE UNCLASSIFIED. All responses should be sent to Mr. Henry Obrien, henry.c.obrien.ctr@mail.mil, 804-734-2142, and MAJ Harry Terzic, muharem.terzic.mil@mail.mil, 804-734-2040. All submissions should also be sent to Antonius Gill, Contract Specialist, email: antonius.gill.civ@mail.mil; and David S. Gordon, Contracting Officer, email: david.s.gordon26.civ@mail.mil.

Interested respondents are hereby notified that Covered Government Support Contractors as defined in DFARS 252.227-7013 Rights in Technical Data – Noncommercial Items (Feb 2014) will have access to the respondent’s RFI response submittals. The Covered Government Support Contractors are employees of John H. Northrup and Associates (JHNA) under Government contract that includes DFARS 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use of Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive

Legends (May 2013). Any responses marked in a manner that will not permit such review may be returned without being assessed or considered. All submissions must include an affirmative statement permitting the Government to disclose your company’s RFI submittal to Covered Government Support

Contractors.

This does not constitute a solicitation or a commitment to issue a solicitation, and it shall not be construed as a commitment by the Government. Responses in any form are not offers and the Government is under no obligation to award a contract as a result of this announcement. Responders are advised that the Government is not responsible and will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in responding to this notice. Any submissions by respondents to this RFI are strictly voluntary. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities website (fbo.gov).

Contracting Office Address:
BUILDING 10 PHIPPS RD
PICATINNY ARSENAL , New Jersey 07806-5000
United States
Place of Performance:
Fort Lee, Virginia
United States
Primary Point of Contact.:
Antonius Gill,
Contract Specialist
antonius.gill.civ@mail.mil
Phone: 9737242683
Secondary Point of Contact:
David S. Gordon,
Contracting Officer
david.s.gordon26.civ@mail.mil
Phone: 973-724-6093