GPS Independent Inertia Navigation Unit

Precision navigation matters. When commercial pilots fly trans-oceanic routes, or over sparsely developed areas, they do not have the luxury of active radars or ground based navigation aids. Ground based navigation aids such as non-directional beacons act as radio frequency “lighthouses” and Very High Frequency (VHF) omnidirectional range (VOR), which produce a signal from the radio navigation station to the receiver in the aircraft that calculates an angular radial to the station. These aids, previously the backbone of airborne navigational structures, are increasingly taking on a supplemental role for the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is the de-facto navigation and positioning system for current and future civil aviation navigation structures.

When commercial pilots fly, the aircraft’s inertial navigation system (INS) relies on GPS to provide position and velocity updates to ensure stability of a primary navigation solution. However, if this primary source of reference becomes compromised, due to a solar flare or other interference, there is high risk to the aircraft ability to use INS-based sources for navigation. Before GPS, celestial-based navigation was frequently used to navigate in airspace. Celestial navigation is position agnostic, meaning it is a good alternative to GPS navigation, however, there is currently no means of using technology to accomplish celestial navigation without bringing navigators on board the aircraft.

There is currently no process of moving down the chain of a degraded mode of operation if a GPS system would become compromised. For this reason, commercial pilots must have access to a fairly low-cost navigation system that can abide by existing spacing both vertically and laterally and in densely controlled airspace.

The civilian aerospace community needs a low-cost navigation solution to mitigate the risks from increasingly congested local and regional airspace when access to the Global Positioning System is degraded.


Operating in GPS and Internet-Denied Environments

For the past three decades, there has been a growing reliance on GPS and internet connectivity to coordinate every aspect of modern warfare. However, near peer adversaries, third parties and non-state actors, like the Islamic State, are advancing their capability to disrupt network connection. Furthermore, operations in mountainous, jungle canopy, and urban environments limit the reliability and accuracy of GPS signal, making it difficult to coordinate between units.

Units in the field use a mix of phones, tablets, computers and other internet-enabled devices to visualize the operational theater and communicate. While teams do have radio capabilities, and GPS/internet enabled capabilities are ubiquitous. In the long term, users are looking to operate in GPS denied environments with the same ease as non-denied environments, whether through intentional adversarial disruption or passive environmental disruption.

Operators within the Special Operations Forces need to coordinate efficiently intra-unit on the ground in GPS and internet-denied environments.


Signature Management in the future operating environment

For the past 15 years, the Marine Corps has become accustomed to fighting an insurgent force that has not been able to challenge them in electronic and information warfare. When fighting a near-peer adversary, the enemy would have the capability to track and target Marine Corps operations by detecting and locating electronic signatures. For example, if a unit was assisting in setting up an operational element on an island in the Pacific Ocean, an adversary would be able to observe and track all communications and data networks due to the admittance of signals from radios, battle tracking systems, navigation computers, and cell phones. The Marine Corps’ current ability to mask its electronic signature is limited to “physical” tactics including hiding their antennas, receivers, and only using their communicative devices when deemed absolutely necessary.

  1. Develop a way for a Marine Corps Ground Combat Element to mask the electronic signals from their radios, computers, and cell phones.  


Monitoring Physiological Vitals





Dense urbanization presents unique challenges for military forces, as the scale, density, connectedness, and complexity of these population centers are greater than anything ground forces have faced. Currently, ground units are not accustomed to operating in demanding physiological conditions posed by dense urbanization such as 40 floors of stairs, crowded sidewalks, or a series of tunnels. In these conditions, it is harder for leaders to monitor and keep track of the health of individuals within the ground unit. If squadron and platoon leaders could better understand the effects on ground troops operating in dense, urban, and subterranean environments, they could improve unit operational tempo as well as short and long-term health impacts.

Leaders of ground units operating in dense, urban, and subterranean environments need a way to monitor the physiological vitals of ground units in order to improve unit operational tempo and decrease adverse health effects.


Identifying Hazardous Materials In Dense Urban Terrain






The Dense Urban Terrain Detachment (DUTD) and its partnered units, including the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), recognize that dense urbanization presents unique operating environments that are exceptionally challenging for military forces, particularly ground forces.  The scale, density, connectedness, and complexity of population centers make military operations challenging. The presence of hazardous materials (HAZMAT), such as industrial, sewage, biological or military CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological, and/or Explosive), add another dangerous element to the environment as most military units are only trained on the effect of blood and nerve agents within HAZMAT material warfare.

Due to damaged industrial infrastructures, flooded substructures, and toxic industrial chemicals/materials (TIC/TIM), soldiers can face exposure to a variety of harmful HAZMAT. Army brigade and below units lack the capability to detect, identify, and track hazardous materials in dense urban environments. Operations will be improved and lives saved if ground units are able to detect and identify the type of HAZMAT, determine its location, and track its movement.

Ground units need the ability to detect, identify, and track hazardous materials in order to improve soldiers’ safety.


See below fo example projects from previous years


Banshee – Model Fragmentation of Violent Extremist Groups

Terrorist groups, insurgencies, and other actors in hybrid warfare tend to utilize social media for operations, recruitment, propaganda, and communication.  Additionally, social media allows for visualization of the social networks that define both the environment in which individuals operate and their conceptual identity.  By effectively modeling social networks, we can predict where the natural fragmentation points occur in an adversaries’ network. From that, we can analyze the motivations of key network nodes, and discern the precise messaging to cause the desired fragmentation within the network. 

This type of psychological operation would also enable us to determine whether specific messages or conversations are central or peripheral to the adversary’s narrative.


Quantifying Cyber Risk

Rapid advances in electronic inter-connectedness have exponentially increased theArmy’s reliance on cyber communications to maintain battlefield superiority. Potent cyber weapons that were only recently the sole purview of sophisticated nations are now readily available to non-state actors, yet the U.S. Army planners and leaders does not have a method of quantifying or depicting that threat.

This method would provide the planners with a three-dimensional tool to assess risk by including cyber factors such as availability of internet in given location, ability to leverage social media for information operations, ability for the enemy to communicate negative information against friendly forces, presence of friendly, neutral and unfriendly media outlets, etc. This knowledge would assist Commanders with decisions in scope of cyber and EW effects relative to military operations.


Alexa on the Battlefield

In battle, warfighters must remain focused on the essential functions of combat: shooting, moving, and communicating. During combat, warfighters become task saturated, such that it becomes impossible to accomplish these tasks simultaneously. It would be valuable to reduce the complexity of communication tasks so that warfighters can focus on shooting and moving—all while maintaining intuitive communication. Within communication, there are high-priority tasks that must be accomplished seamlessly, such as medevac requests.

A battlefield solution to reduce the task load associated with traditional communications (keyboard input, touchscreens, etc.) while driving essential information (such as a nine-line medevac request) would enable warfighters to maintain focus during the most critical battlefield situations. It would also be beneficial to achieve this with reduced data rates and bandwidth, so that communication channels are resilient during the most tactically-critical events. Any such solutions must be able to function in a closed network, without internet access.


Sustainable Cyber Detection, Defeat, and Pursuit

The U.S. Army has supported DARPA’s Plan X program for several years. Plan X aims to give the Army’s Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) forces a technological advantage by automating typical mission steps so that Army soldiers can operate faster and more effectively, while enabling the Army to build a larger, more capable cyber force. Plan X is set to transition to the Army in Fall 2017 as the foundation “Mission Planning” platform, so their goal is to integrate other initiatives and technology into Plan X.

From a capabilities standpoint, Plan X comprises a suite of threat detection, analysis, and defense tools currently under development by Army Cyber Command.  Its goals are to protect existing networks from attack while ensuring that evolving threats do not hinder operations on networks as varied as everyday email and command-and-control.  As the Army starts using Plan X more broadly, defenders will quickly notice that unauthorized binaries are being captured. We envision being able to quarantine, send alerts, and exploit flaws.


Extracting Meaning to Prevent Terrorist Attacks

The singular focus of the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (CJIATF), a multinational coalition located in Amman, Jordan, is the rapid distribution of information for the purposes of degrading terrorists’ ability to inspire, facilitate, and direct attacks throughout the world. To accomplish this task, CJIATF collects and analyzes large amounts of publicly available information (PAI) from multiple disparate data sources, including social media, academia, commercial sector, and news/blogs. Due to the multiplicity of sources, the data is in multiple unstructured formats, stored in different databases, and is analyzed manually in a very labor intensive process resulting in only limited understanding of the problem. CJIATF cannot scale this process at a pace that keeps up with the amount of unstructured and unorganized data flowing into the organization to be analyzed and disseminated to more than a dozen partner nations, domestic and international military and law enforcement agencies.

Provide a way to give Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force analysts focus and scale the synthesis of large amount of unstructured publicly available data to provide court-admissible options for the law enforcement of partner nations.