Strategic Command, Control, Communications, Computer Intelligence, Surveillance (C4ISR) to Operationalize the Stratosphere (SCOS) Prototype Project

S²MARTS Project No. 20-09

29 March 2021

RFS Amendment IV

This RFS Amendment contains a new solution deadline extension: April 23, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

S2MARTS – C4ISR SCOS – RFS – Amendment IV

25 March 2021

Questions & Answers

S2MARTS – C4ISR SCOS – Q&A Responses

24 March 2021

Attachment B Revision

Block 11, Box F is now marked.

C4ISR SCOS – Attach B – DD Form 254 – rev1

15 March 2021

RFS Amendment III

S2MARTS – C4ISR SCOS – RFS – Amendment III

11 March 2021

RFS Amendment II

Airworthiness and Cybersecurity Safety Policies IAW NAVAIRINST 13034.1F – Or Equivalent.

S2MARTS – C4ISR SCOS – RFS – Amendment II

9 March 2021

RFS Amendment I

This RFS Amendment contains a new solution deadline extension: April 9, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

S2MARTS – C4ISR SCOS – RFS – Amendment I

25 February 2021

RFS & Supporting Documents

C4ISR SCOS-RFS

A. C4ISR SCOS-Attach A-NAVAIRINST 13034.1F

B. C4ISR SCOS-Attach B-DD Form 254 (see 24 March 2021 update above for the revised version)

C. C4ISR SCOS-Attach C-Section 889-Prohibition and Reporting

D. C4ISR SCOS-Attachment D-Section 889-Verification Representation


The Department of Defense (DoD) desires to enhance strategic mission capabilities by exploring Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance autonomous stratospheric technology. Since 2006, the DoD has invested in stratospheric platforms, sensor technologies, and payloads. Developmental testing in the last five years has been focused on operationalizing the stratosphere by demonstrating a higher Operational Tempo (OPTEMPO) with persistent, long-duration stratospheric balloons and solar UAS. These platforms offer the opportunity to enhance the mission for persistent operations in non-permissive environments.

As part of the DoD stratospheric platform operations, platforms have the potential to complement traditional data collection in the areas of:

  • Earlier Intelligence and Warning
  •  Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)
  • Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) pseudolite, airborne communication
  • Node, and information crosslink
  • Maritime and land domain awareness, moving target indicator
  • Mitigation of degraded space-based capabilities

Past DoD investment and experimentation have determined that Stratospheric Balloons and Solar UAS are complementary platforms that serve different purposes in an intelligence framework. Balloons are mature platforms that can carry heavier payloads than UAS. They maneuver by changing altitudes to various wind layers to stay in an operating area. Solar UASs are optimized for electric powered propeller propulsion in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere. Solar UAS have low payload capacity, but the ability to maneuver and station keep. Operationalizing high altitude, persistent ISR may be best optimized with combined balloon and UAS operations.

Candidate sensor payloads have been derived from manned aircraft, satellite, and tactical UAS systems. In the past decade, DoD technology efforts have focused on evaluating traditional ISR sensors and Comms payloads in size, weight, and power (SWaP) required for stratospheric operations. Candidate sensor/Comms payloads are: Communications Relay, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Synthetic-Aperture Radio (SAR), Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR), and Moving Target Indication (MTI). Advancing these technologies and integrating them onto stratospheric platforms is a key tenant of SCOS. Autonomous stratospheric technologies must be advanced in order to compete with peer/near-peer adversaries. Currently, stratospheric platforms and payloads are a mix of mature and developmental technologies. The DoD has determined that additional experimentation is necessary to rapidly advance and integrate stratospheric technologies to improve OPTEMPO.