Industry responses are due July 13, 2020 05:00 pm EDT

The RFP is here – AGENT DEPLOYABLE AEROSTAT PLATFORM TECHNOLOGY (ADAPT) SYSTEM

The United States Border Patrol (USBP), as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is conducting market research through a Request For Information (RFI) on the current availability and technological capabilities of an ADAPT System.
THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THIS RFI OR TO OTHERWISE PAY FOR INFORMATION RECEIVED. This RFI is issued solely for information, planning purposes, and market research only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP. This research does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service. CBP is not seeking proposals at this time. CBP will not pay for any costs associated with responding to this research. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP. If a solicitation is released, it will be posted to the Federal Business Opportunities (http://www.fbo.gov) website. All submissions become the property of the Government, and will not be returned. The information obtained from industries responses to this RFI may be used in the development of an acquisition strategy and future RFP.

INTRODUCTION: The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is a sub-component of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) whose mission is to prevent the illegal flow of people and contraband into the U. S. via air, land, and sea. The USBP’s primary mission is to conduct law enforcement activities along the U. S. border and between the official U. S. ports of entry. As the nation’s single, unified border agency, USBP’s mission is vitally important for the protection of the American people and the national economy. USBP represents the first line of defense of America’s borders. One of USBP’s strategic objectives is to establish and maintain effective control of air, land, and maritime borders with the appropriate mix of infrastructure, technology, and personnel. USBP is interested in learning about the availability of mobile aerostat surveillance systems that would be able to provide information on the location and movement of potential Items of Interest (IoIs) as they are traversing the international border between the designated ports of entry.

PURPOSE: This RFI seeks to obtain information from industry about the availability of mobile aerostat surveillance systems with the characteristics described in Attachment B – ADAPT Characteristics along with a summarization using Attachment C – ADAPT System Summary Response Form. Vendors who respond to this market research are also requested to provide the information sought in Attachment A – Vendor Company Data.

CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS: ADAPT systems, operating 24 hours a day, will be responsible for monitoring an Area of Coverage (AoC) that is comprised of the instantaneous Field of View (FoV) and the total Field of Regard (FoR). The ADAPT system will elevate imaging devices to maximize the AoC and overcome natural (e.g. terrain features, vegetation, and tree lines) obstacles within and along USBP’s varied operating areas. The number of ADAPT systems deployed within each USBP sector will vary based on geography, availability of equipment and trained operators, and operational need. When deployed, the system will provide ADAPT operators with photo and video data that enables the detection, identification, classification, and tracking of IoIs in rugged, remote, rural, urban, riverine, and coastal environments. The ADAPT system will also support vectoring of USBP Agents to the immediate vicinity of IoIs for interdiction and event resolution, and if the ADAPT system has illumination capabilities (laser illuminator), will provide covert IoI illumination to assist agents in prepositioning themselves for intercepting IoIs.OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENT: The ADAPT system will be a mobile surveillance system which can be operated from fixed locations but that can be quickly repositioned as needed. The ADAPT system must be ruggedized so it can be transported over terrain in the USBP operational environment, sometimes for long distances. The ADAPT system packaged for transport, must not obstruct or disrupt the driver while in transport. The ADAPT system packaged for transport, must be able to be safely transported by a USBP standard 4X4 vehicle – either existing or new vehicles specific to each ADAPT unit if trailer-based or new vehicles if skid-based. The system shall allow agents to easily and quickly prepare the ADAPT system for deployment. Agents require an electronic winch operating system for the initial deployment of, making mid-deployment adjustments to, and recovering the aerostat. Once the system is deployed, agents will be able to operate the system for up to seven (7) days in a single location. The operator interface Ground Control System (GCS) housed in the vehicle shall easily and ergonomically allow agents to both control the ADAPT surveillance capabilities and to view aerostat telemetry for extended periods of time. Operator interface controls must be intuitive and placed so that they are easy to reach while not hindering the agent’s ability to quickly flee in an emergency situation. The recovery of the system to include the deflation of the aerostat and stowage of all equipment shall be completely housed on or in the ADAPT system (including vehicle storage).

The ADAPT system will be deployed in myriad environmental and climatic conditions including day/night, extreme temperature ranges (-20° F to 120° F), high salt air conditions, dirt and fine dust conditions, humidity (> 90%), rain, fog, snow, icing, sand storms, and electrical storms. Deployment of the system (to include powering on, inflating the aerostat, attaching the payload, and lofting the aerostat) shall be attainable in winds up to 15 knots. Once lofted and operational, the system shall sustain winds up to 20 knots.

As one part of a multi-layered approach to border surveillance, the desire is for the ADAPT system to provide an effective surveillance capability. USBP Agents require scalable, adaptable, and flexible sensor configurations to optimize surveillance within the many operating areas/ranges and environmental/climatic conditions encountered in 20 diverse USBP Sectors (Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, Del Rio, Big Bend, El Paso, El Centro, San Diego, Tucson, Yuma, Swanton, Spokane, Detroit, Buffalo, Blaine, Grand Forks, Havre, Miami, Houlton, New Orleans, and Ramey). To accommodate these operational conditions and constraints, the ADAPT system operations concept calls for a mobile aerostat detection, identification, classification, and tracking (DICT) system for day and night operations. The system is expected to be composed of an aerostat with telemetry and surveillance capabilities, trailer with winch system, helium tanks and aerostat storage space, and cab mounted GCS. The ADAPT system will enable configuration of self-contained fully functional sensor subsystems that will be suitable 24 hours a day to specific deployment locations, environmental conditions, and ranges.

The ADAPT system must be capable of inflating the aerostat, raising it using the winch system to the desired operational elevation, and conducting continuous surveillance in support of USBP operations, which are on-going 24 hours a day/365 days per year. This requires a highly reliable and low maintenance system. During system power up and when the operator selects, the ADAPT system must have the capability to run an automatic system pass/fail built in test (BIT) diagnostic. In addition, during operation the system must be able to report mission critical failures to the operator and, if possible, be able to isolate failures to a Line Repairable/Replaceable Unit (LRU) to minimize downtime.

Mission critical failures include any failure condition that prevents the system from performing/enabling detection, identification, classification, and tracking, functions. Upon notification of a mission critical failure, the ADAPT system operator may assess the available health and status information and, if possible, apply corrective action such as a visual inspection or reboot. For some repairs, a field repair kit (FRK), consisting of small and lightweight items, will be used to perform field repair of the ADAPT system by the operator in a harsh environment.

PRODUCT DEMONSTRATION: As a part of this RFI, the Government intends to review RFI responses, and may identify Vendors with existing systems to participate in a future product demonstration of their systems, in order to provide the Government with an opportunity to gain additional information about the capabilities of available relevant products as demonstrated in an operational environment.

Vendor demonstrations of products or services shall be rendered at no cost to the Government, and the vendor(s) shall waive any claims against the Government for compensation for this demonstration. For any ADAPT system vendor product demonstration, the Vendor shall plan to provide all necessary equipment for the product demonstration.
The Government is not bound or obligated in any way to any special consideration to the vendor(s) on future contracts as a result of participation in a demonstration. The vendor(s) shall not refer to the demonstration as implying government acceptance or approval for advertising purposes. The Vendor(s) also acknowledges that the Government makes no commitment to buy the products or services involved, or to give the vendor(s) special consideration in any future acquisition in which the vendor(s) may submit a proposal.

Not all Vendors that respond to this RFI may have an opportunity to participate in a product demonstration. A Government request to participate in a product demonstration will be based on the Government’s need for additional information regarding a Vendor’s system in an operational environment, and the availability of Government resources. Participation in the product demonstration, however, will have no bearing on a Vendor’s ability to respond to any future RFP.

If identified to participate in a product demonstration, CBP will coordinate the demonstration event, including a Vendor Demonstration Agreement, via separate correspondence following review of the RFI responses.

RESPONSE: Your firm is requested to submit its response electronically no later than JULY 13, 2020 to ADAPTRFI@cbp.dhs.gov. Responses should be prepared using Microsoft Office Word, Excel or Power Point in Times New Roman, 12 point.

The RFI is here.

Attachment A: ADAPT System Vendor Company Data
Attachment B: ADAPT System Characteristics
Attachment C: ADAPT System Summary Response Form