This FOA is soliciting proposals to initiate and sustain an APNT consortium to develop dual-use PNT components, technologies, manufacturing techniques,and system architectures that support the Department of Defense, the U. S. Army, and are beneficial to commercial industry.This consortium is expected
to bring together industry and higher-education institutions (four- and two-year universities, community colleges, technical institutes, etc.) to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant technologies with broad applications.
The APNT consortium will help bridge the gap between basic/early research and product development by developing and scaling critical technologies in the technology readiness level 2 to 5 ranges.
This consortium is encouraged to provide shared assets to help members access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment.The Government intends for this FOA to support a consortium to advance dual-use technologies, addressing both Army and industry needs for low size, weight, and power (low-SWaP) next-generation assured positioning, navigation, and timing (APNT) technologies that enable navigation in critically important situations where global positioning system (GPS) signals may be unavailable.
The motivation for the consortium is to strengthen U. S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing by encouraging insertion of disruptive PNT technologies into multiple sectors, streamlining integrated testing technologies and ultimately reducing the barrier to entry for new inventors.
This consortium will enable a unique public-private partnership to address common challenges, innovate, and accelerate technology transition.The intent of the consortium is to identify new areas and approaches to PNT technologies for GPS-denied environments, develop key component technologies, and facilitate manufacturing transition.
To be successful, the consortium will need to engage with industry, academia, and government to identify key technical gaps through roadmaps, provide for a mechanism to establish and release consortium-led requests for proposals(RFPs) and execution of projects that benefit the APNT ecosystem.
R&D topics for the proposed efforts may include software, hardware, and advanced packaging requirements of optical and MEMS-based PNT systems that demonstrate improved bias stability and reduced sensor noise.
Technical areas of interest will need to show viability towards the total GPS-free PNT challenge, meeting system-level performance necessary to advance the state of the art.
This consortium is not seeking system-level solutions (e.g.
inertial navigation system prototypes), but rather intends to develop a community that can worktogether to advance the state of the art in component-level enabling technologies and manufacturing capabilities for future PNT applications.Numerous systems rely on GPS to provide real-time PNT information.
If GPS signals are lost or obstructed, current low-SWaP inertial measurement units (IMUs) can only maintain positioning accuracy for short durations before sensor noise causes unacceptable positioning error.
Similarly, current low-SWaP oscillators provide limited timing holdover without frequent GPS updates.Significant breakthroughs in MEMS, integrated photonics, optics, metamaterials, atomic physics, and materials science in recent decades have laid the foundation for this APNT consortium.
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, which was initially adapted from standard semiconductor fabrication techniques, has expanded to accommodate novel materials and mechanical structures.
As processing capabilities matured and improved, the research community and industry developed various practical MEMS devices such as gyroscopes and accelerometers for tracking, stabilization, and high-gsensing.
MEMS and sensors currently play an integral role in billions of electronic devices and have more recently been developed towards enabling next-generation PNT capabilities in small form factors.
Additionally, advances in micro- and nano-fabrication in integrated photonics have enabled unprecedented levels of control and manipulation of electromagnetic radiation from the UV across the IR spectrum.
Uniting these communities through a collaborative consortium model offers the potential for unprecedented gains for PNT applications.PNT in GPS-contested or –denied environments will require building upon and linking together these fundamental technologies.
Thus, the APNT consortium will need to bring together a diverse array of technologies to ensure consistent positioning, navigation, timing, and communication information is shared locally and within a network for multiple applications.
Technologies ripe for significant revolution include, but are not limited to, improved MEMS and integrated photonics fabrication techniques, novel material developments for higher transduction and lower loss MEMS actuation and sensing, novel material developments, higher efficiency nonlinear materials, and lower loss waveguide materials for integrated photonics, UV/VIS lasers, metamaterials, advanced algorithms for sensor fusion, optomechanical systems, and quantum materials (quantum defects in diamond, SiC, etc.) for PNT sensing.To be successful, this consortium must bring together engineering, computer science, materials science, integrated photonics, quantum physics, and PNT-related research and manufacturing expertise from universities, research organizations, and established industrial businesses.
The goal is to establish a collaboration that will mature PNT technology across a range of technology readiness levels (TRL) 2- 5. The Government seeks proposals to this FOA that clearly articulate a history of past performance, access to necessary infrastructure, technical applications, and a sustainable business plan (V.A.).
Additionally, proposals should articulate the cooperative environment and mechanisms for collaborations both within the consortium and with the government stake holders.
Further, the proposal should address how the results from early research could mature within the consortium toward the development of initial prototypes of component or systems technologies.This particular FOA, as well as the anticipated award and subsequent management of the APNT consortium is a cross-agency effort, with the U. S. ACC-APG (RTP Division) having lead responsibilities to execute the FOA and business award functions and the US DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory having the programmatic lead to manage work performance.The proposal must include membership constructs that includes shared knowledge mechanisms and intellectual property rights, both protected and shared.
The Government expects the APNT consortium to comprise team members capable of addressing the thrust areas mentioned in the following section I.A.
It is anticipated that annual funding would obligated to the consortium on an annual basis.
Initially, the selected proposer would perform a gap analysis to develop projects addressing the thrust areas.
These projects, with team composed of consortium members, would be proposed to the Government for technical and financial approval.
This activity would be repeated on an annual basis as new needs arise.