Standardized High Level Data Fusion System Architecture for Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (HLDF CUAS)

S²MARTS Project No. 21-08

This Opportunity was awarded to Hide Side Technology

The Department of the Navy (DoN) is seeking support to document and provide open systems architecture that defines the requirements and interfaces of a reference High Level Data Fusion (HLDF) prototype capability in support of a Command and Control (C2) system that can fuse data from multiple sources to provide object assessment, situational assessment, and threat assessment.

Current DoD C2 and sensor systems are vertically integrated and use different software architectures which are often proprietary to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), preventing capabilities from being used across multiple C2 systems. The sensors currently used for CUAS are generally either Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) or Government Off The Shelf (GOTS) and sense the environment in various parts of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum (from radio frequency (RF) through visible light and beyond). Sensors may be active, passive, or a combination. While the sensors themselves are an important component of any CUAS system, new sensors or types of sensors, and interfaces to those sensors are not the goal of this RFS.  Furthermore, there are plenty of existing interfaces that are used to connect sensors to C2 systems and to share situational data between systems.  The goal is not the replacement or replication of those efforts.  The goal of this RFS is to ingest sensor data (using existing interfaces), perform HLDF on that sensor data, and present actionable information to the C2 system.

The architecture should be capable of allowing various software modules to be used in C2 systems that adopt the HLDF reference architecture to enable efforts to be focused on improving specific data fusion capabilities within the system. The HLDF reference architecture developed in this Request For Solutions (RFS) will include requirements and interfaces for software modules, as well as an assessment of existing capabilities with the goal of reducing the cognitive workload on the operator so the only decision is whether or not countermeasures should be employed.

The proliferation of small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) technology presents a unique challenge for the Department of Defense (DoD) – not only can unmodified commercial drones provide cheap and non-attributable surveillance of facilities and platforms, but slight modifications can provide other attack vectors that contribute to asymmetrical warfare.  While the DoD has a long history of detecting and defending against aerial threats, the new generation of sUAS present unique challenges due to their small size and high maneuverability. Additionally, sUAS technology is ever-changing and rapidly developing new capabilities that must be countered.

The results of this prototype project will be a well-documented HLDF architecture with Computer Software Configuration Item (CSCI) requirements and associated Interface Description Documents (IDDs) that can be used for competitive design and development of complete HLDF components of C2 systems or individual data fusion software modules and can be used to allow software modules from multiple organizations or systems to be interoperable.  While individual software modules may still contain proprietary aspects, the overarching HLDF architecture should be non-proprietary.