Defense Innovation Unit seeks stealthy satellite antennas, handheld navigation devices

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DIU wants to 'make the process easy for companies that don't have time to answer traditional government solicitations.'

WASHINGTON — The Defense Innovation Unit has posted two new solicitations. One is for satellite communications antennas to be installed on Navy warships, and the other is for handheld jam-resistant navigation devices for Army soldiers.

Pitches from vendors are due Oct. 27 for the navigation devices and Oct. 28 for the satcom antennas. Unlike traditional Pentagon procurements, DIU solicitations are meant to be accessible to any commercial vendor.

“We want to make the process easy for companies that don’t have time to answer traditional government solicitations,” a DIU spokesperson said. “We only require a paper of five pages or less or a pitch deck of 15 slides or less to tell us more about your company and product.”

DIU intends to award contracts within 60 days after the solicitation closes.

The U.S. Navy is looking for low-observable satcom antennas that can operate over multiple frequencies bands and can be quickly installed on naval warships, according to the DIU solicitation. “The antenna system can consist of a single antenna or multiple antennas, but must meet existing signature requirements and must integrate into the existing space allocated on DDG 1000 class ships.” The DDG 1000 is the U.S. Navy’s newest guided missile destroyer, designed to be hard to detect by radar.

DIU says the antennas also might be considered for use on other ships or ground stations. Products will be evaluated on their ability to “thrive in a maritime environment, and will be subject to testing on weight, shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference susceptibility, and power and cooling impacts.”

Navigation devices

DIU is looking for vendors that can quickly prototype handheld positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) devices that are resistant to electronic attacks. “The U.S. military’s employment of Global Positioning System reliant navigation devices creates vulnerabilities due to terrain limitations, adversary jamming, spoofing, and other denial efforts,” says the solicitation.

The devices have to be small and light for use by troops in the field. “Dismounted ground units require the ability to effectively operate and navigate through a wide variety of challenging environments, to include dense vegetation, urban, mountainous, subterranean, underwater, and in the presence of electromagnetic interference or enemy jamming and spoofing efforts.”

Vendors are asked to build up to 25 prototype devices for the U.S. Army that can operate in environments where GPS signals are degraded or disrupted. The devices must have a long battery life for operations away from power sources, and have to be able to maintain accurate time throughout a three-day mission regardless of GPS availability. The prototypes should be delivered within 12 months of award and be ready for integration and testing in operational environments with ground forces.