IARPA posts sources sought notice for UnderWatch program
On June 7, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) posted a sources sought notice for the UnderWatch program.
This is a Research and Development (R&D) Sources Sought notice. This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The purpose of this notice is to obtain information regarding the availability and capability of all qualified sources to perform a potential R&D requirement. This information may be used to form a Qualified Bidders List (QBL).
The world’s oceans carry 90% of global trade and key waterways such as the Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Malacca carry up to 35% and 25% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments, respectively. Disruption of critical U.S. ports can rapidly impose a cost of billions of dollars per day. And while these Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) are a vital economic avenue, they are also exploited for malign interests including international terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, worldwide trafficking of women and children, illicit transfer of materials for weapons of mass destruction, and arms trafficking. Several high-profile and/or recent maritime concerns include al-Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole, Somali pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden, mass migration across the Mediterranean, the seizure of semi-submersible “drug subs”, the interdiction of an illicit arms shipment aboard the North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang, and the Tanker War in the Persian Gulf. Maritime security is a multi-faceted topic that intersects many diverse components of the U.S. Intelligence Community including those embedded within the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security (e.g. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Coast Guard), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Commerce.
IARPA’s UnderWatch program seeks to develop an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)-based maritime reconnaissance capability that will allow unobtrusive surveillance of vessel traffic in critical harbors, waterways, and chokepoints. Analogous to the DoD’s concept of “overwatch,” the UnderWatch system will leverage a unique vantage point (the undersea environment) to monitor ships and maneuver to inspect contacts of interest. UnderWatch must necessarily have an organic sensing capability to observe traffic at long range, with applicability to a broad set of vessel types such as container ships, cruise ships, commercial fishing traffic, recreational vessels, go-fast boats, and Self-Propelled Semi-Submersibles (SPSSs). The UnderWatch system will enable remote surveillance of critical waterways in support of broad interests in the maritime domain.
Full information is available here.