Overview

This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals for innovative technologies to deliver information exchange capabilities that are resilient in a highly dynamic operating environment where there are significant challenges from congestion and contention (e.g. jamming). The following areas are of interest:

  • novel communication techniques
  • novel coding and modulation
  • novel networking techniques

Scope

DASA are seeking proposals for novel capability in the fields of wireless communications, networking and information theory. Proposals can be based on novel ideas within existing communications standards and defence networks, or for completely new approaches to transmitting information.

Proposals can target any of the domains of defence (including Air, Land and Maritime) communications capability; however proposals should be focussed on deployed scenarios, rather than fixed communications infrastructure, such as data centres.

DASA welcome approaches looking to leverage civilian communications technology components that could be modified to support defence requirements, for example modifying waveforms from 5G. However, they discourage proposals that require the whole use of civilian communications networks, or ‘full stack’ implementations of civilian communications systems (such as Fourth Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)).

This competition has 3 key challenge areas. Proposals must be focused on one or more of these:

Challenge 1: Novel Communications Techniques

Proposals under this challenge area should address development of novel ways of delivering information wirelessly.

In this challenge area solutions may include:

  • exploitation of new parts of the EM Spectrum not traditionally used for defence communications. Those currently used tend to be focused in high frequency to super high frequency bands of the EM spectrum
  • non-traditional techniques – such as acoustic, magneto-inductive, quantum
  • multi-function systems – such as combined electronic sensing and communications

Challenge 2: Novel Coding and Modulation

Proposals under this challenge area should seek to address improvement in the way that information is transformed, mapped and encapsulated onto a medium for transmission through noisy channels, such as those created by a congested and contested EM environment.

In this challenge area solutions may include:

  • techniques for improving communications performance
  • reducing probability of detection or interception
  • enhanced synchronisation schemes
  • source coding (compression) techniques
  • adaptive link layer techniques
  • ultra low-rate coding techniques
  • short block length efficient coding design
  • error detection and correction
  • quantum information theory
  • physical layer security

Challenge 3: Novel Networking Techniques

Proposals in this challenge area should be based around techniques for establishing and managing dynamic networks. This may incorporate a diverse range of communication link technologies, in order to improve information transfer across organisations in congested and contested environments.

In this challenge area solutions may include:

  • network management for very dynamic networks
  • network control plane
  • novel routing / forwarding approaches to handle mobility
  • interfaces between network control planes
  • high density, low trust networks
  • interoperability with civilian forces, and allied nations

Funding Costs

The total funding available for Phase 1 of this competition is £500k (ex VAT).

There is no upper-limit per proposal for this competition, but we are expecting to fund 5 to 10 proposals.

Suppliers may submit proposals that answer 1 or more of the challenge areas as appropriate, and may also submit multiple proposals for multiple challenges.

If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of 8 months.

Additional funding for subsequent phases to increase TRL further may be available. Any further phases will be open to applications from all suppliers and not just those that submitted Phase 1 successful proposals.

Exclusions

For this competition DASA are not interested in proposals that:

  • constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation
  • are an identical resubmission of a previous proposal to DASA or MOD without modification
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions
  • offer virtual communications services which assume an underlying communications infrastructure
  • offer systems which depend on bespoke protocols and require a gateway to interact externally
  • constitute research into the specific areas of:
    • quantum key distribution
    • satellite communications
    • communications links focused on a single application (e.g. video sharing)

 

Interested in applying for this competition?

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