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A -- Free Space Optical (FSO) Communication System

Notice Date
Notice Type
541990 — All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Contracting Office
Department of the Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, ESC - Electronic Systems Center, 9 Eglin Street, Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, 01731, United States
ZIP Code
Solicitation Number
Archive Date
Point of Contact
Jason Brenner, Capt, USAF, Phone: 757-764-4701, Ted T. Kim, Capt, USAF, Phone: 781-225-3441
E-Mail Address
jason.brenner@langley.af.mil, ted.kim@hanscom.af.mil
(jason.brenner@langley.af.mil, ted.kim@hanscom.af.mil)
Small Business Set-Aside
Request for Information (RFI) for a Free Space Optical (FSO) Communication System at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA PURPOSE This Request for Information (RFI) seeks information from industry on current, existing technologies (or with possible minor modifications) that meet the network communication capabilities described in paragraph 1 - Capability Information Sought. Cost is a major consideration; therefore, the Government is interested in cost information for individual requirements defined in paragraph 1 - Capability Information Sought. Initial estimates will not be binding nor will they constitute a bid. THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ONLY. This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes. It does not constitute a solicitation (Request for Proposal or Request for Quotations) or a promise to issue a solicitation in the future. This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service whatsoever. Furthermore, we are not at this time seeking proposals. Responders are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this RFI. All costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the responding party's expense. All information received in response to this RFI that is marked PROPRIETARY will be handled accordingly. The Government shall not be liable or suffer any consequential damages for any proprietary information not properly identified. Proprietary information will be safeguarded in accordance with the applicable Government regulations. Proprietary information or trade secrets should be clearly identified. Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the U.S. Government to form a binding contract or agreement. The Air Force will not be obligated to pursue any particular acquisition alternative as a result of this RFI. Responses to the RFI will not be returned. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future solicitation, if one is issued. BACKGROUND The United States Air Force (USAF) Air Combat Command (ACC) is seeking information from interested parties on a free space optical (FSO) communication system with a backup system capable of operation when optical communication is unavailable (e.g., due to weather). Initially, ACC requests information on technologically mature systems which integrate with existing fiber-based systems for point-to-point or point-to-multipoint ground-based communication across an active military runway at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Simultaneously, the Government in conjunction with the nation's military and national laboratories would like to leverage current research and knowledge in free space optical communications. The complement of government resources and industry experts will provide an overall communications program that optimizes the investment. We are not seeking competition between government labs and industry. 1. Capability Information Sought For this effort, the Department of Defense (DoD) Unified Capabilities Requirements (UCR) 2008, Change 3, published in September 2011, specifies the functional requirements, performance objectives, and technical specifications for DoD networks that support Unified Capabilities (UC). The requirements specified in the UCR for applicable network communications using a free space optical system are considered Key Performance Parameters (KPP) and must be satisfied. The Air Force is considering alternatives for our current fiber-based network communications in support of the Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) and Key System Attributes (KSAs). The system may include hardware, software, processes, and/or support personnel. Any system technology with a DoD Technology Readiness Level (TRL) less than 7 (each component must have been prototyped in an operational environment) for phase 1 of this project shall not be included. Follow-on concepts may have a lower current TRL. In addition, we are seeking additional innovative information and approaches to solve the additional requirements listed below: 1.1. Offers full-duplex communications compatible with Ethernet protocol and with a backup system (e.g., radio frequency (RF) based and/or a high-gain avalanche photodiodes receiver, etc.) that allows system operation when laser-based communication is unavailable and/or degraded (e.g., due to atmospheric or network related anomalies). 1.2. FSO communication system will be in compliance with DoD security requirements to include appropriate encryption capabilities for sensitive information such mission data, e-mails, or secure websites. 1.3. Minimal USAF or DoD-specific maintenance support (e.g., software/hardware patches, maintenance support, network management, automated failover, etc.) 1.4. Seamlessly integrate with and augment existing fiber-based Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router (NIPR) and Secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) network communications architectures. 1.5. Offers FSO availability of at least 99% when visibility is 2 kilometers or more and backup network availability of at least 99.99% availability, respectively, in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. 1.6. Provides point-to-point or point-to-multipoint ground communications over at least 2 nautical miles (NM). 1.7. System must allow for upgrades to provide ground-to-air or ground-to-space communications. 1.8. Laser must operate at an eye-safe frequency and power levels. 1.9. Free space optical system (to include backup) must operate at a frequency and wavelength which can be approved for use in, across, and around an active military runway and populated area (e.g., approved by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Air Force Spectrum Management, USAF Base Safety, Laser Clearinghouse, etc.). 1.10. Provide continuous data streaming and buffering for channel fades and outages. 1.11. System must automatically switch between laser and back-up system operation. The system must also automatically switch from the back-up system to the laser system once favorable conditions return. REQUESTED INFORMATION All responses are expected to address the above items and provide estimates for: 1. Data speeds measured in Gigabits per second (Gbps). 2. Reliability of the entire system, measured in mean time between failures (MTBF). 3. Availability of the FSO and backup systems, measured in percent availability. 4. Manpower required for day-to-day operations and on-call for outages (include Government and contactor expectations). 5. Training for system operation and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) reach-back support with a clearly assigned point of contact (POC) and alternate including contact information. 6. Size, weight, power, and enclosure requirements. 7. Expected Government actions prior to installation. 8. (Optional) Expected Government policy implications of the recommended solution. We expect respondents to be challenged by developing and/or selecting systems to satisfy the KPPs while looking for ways to satisfy the additional requirements and having the right data resulting in a high quality product. We expect a variety of options with pros, cons, risks, and discussion of trade space for the government to consider. ASSUMPTIONS The following assumptions should be used for cost and schedule estimation: 1. Cost/Schedule estimates should be at the 80% confidence level and respondents may also include figures from various confidence levels, if desired. 2. If implemented, this will be a multi-phased project. Phase 1 consists of establishing a reliable, stable, ground-based, point-to-point free space optical communication system with back-up. Phase 2 consists of enabling a ground-based point-to-multipoint free space optical communication system with back-up. Phase 3 consists of establishing a ground-to-air and/or ground-to-space free space optical communication system with back-up. Initial cost and schedule estimates should focus on Phase 1; however, respondents may also discuss elements of Phases 2 and 3. 3. Phase 1 (ground-to-ground) solutions will be low risk using TRL 7 or greater hardware and software. 4. Phase 1 solutions should interoperate with current AF network management capabilities in order to provide visibility and network monitoring capability of the system. 5. Phase 1 system does not need to provide additional encryption capabilities (i.e., assume SIPR capabilities are encrypted prior to inject to the FSO). 6. Initially, this project will be a partnership between industry, national and military research laboratories, and the U.S. Air Force. Costs should include procurement, development, maintenance, and sustainment estimates for 18 months 7. Costs should be broken out to the lowest level practical. 8. Include program level costs - systems engineering, program management, integration, assembly and test, full-time support, etc. 9. Include discussion of any cost drivers, cost tradeoffs, and schedule considerations. Again, these assumptions are given for cost estimation and planning purposes only and the government is only seeking information for market research purposes. 2. Capability Desired Technical Goals The baseline requirement set is the DoD Unified Capabilities Requirements (UCR) 2008, Change 3, published in September 2011. The system must augment the existing fiber-based NIPR and SIPR network bandwidth using a free space optical system with a backup system. Additional requirements are listed in paragraph 16d. 3. Capability Sample Response Outline Following is a suggested outline and suggested page counts for a response to this RFI. This outline is intended to minimize the effort of the respondent and structure the responses for ease of analysis by the government. Nevertheless, respondents are free to develop their responses as they see fit. Section 1 - Technology Alternatives Briefly describe one or more technological alternatives including the reliability, availability, and technology readiness of the alternatives (3-5 pages per alternative) Section 2 - Feasibility Assessment Briefly describe the feasibility of each alternative, the system's technical specifications, and the design tradeoffs involved as matched against the functional requirements and risks. Ensure any known incompatibilities with USAF or DoD networks or policy are clearly stated. Also, any known security vulnerabilities or other risks must be included. (3 pages per alternative) Section 3 - Cost and Schedule Estimates Provide cost and schedule estimates for each alternative. The desired business information is an 80% confidence estimate of cost and schedule risk to produce a cost effective system. The assumptions in paragraph 16d may be used for cost and schedule estimation. These assumptions are given for cost estimation purposes only and the government is only seeking information for market research purposes. (2-3 pages) Section 4 - Corporate Expertise Briefly describe your company, your products and services, history, ownership, financial information, and other information you deem relevant. In particular, please describe any projects that are similar in concept to include including management and operations approach, and any relevant lessons learned. (No suggested page count) Section 5 - Additional Materials Please provide any other materials, suggestions, and discussions deemed appropriate. Include any recommended structure of the requirements in the event the government plans to issue a request for proposal. (No suggested page count) References Library Reference documents are available only upon request and will be provided only to individuals with the proper security clearances. The following reference documents are available and may be requested: 1. DoD Unified Capabilities Requirements (UCR) 2008, Change 3, published in September 2011 Definitions: ACC - Air Combat Command COTS - Commercial Off-The-Shelf DoD - Department of Defense FAA - Federal Aviation Administration FCC - Federal Communications Commission FSO - Free Space Optical Gbps - Gigabits Per Second KPP - Key Performance Parameters KSA - Key System Attributes MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure NIPR - Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router NM - Nautical Miles OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer POC - Point of Contact RF - Radio Frequency RFI - Request for Information SIPR - Secure Internet Protocol Router TRL - Technology Readiness Level UC - Unified Capabilities UCR - Unified Capabilities Requirements USAF - United States Air Force RESPONSES All Responses Shall Be Submitted Via E-mail Responses to this RFI should be submitted using Microsoft Word (12 point font) no later than 30 calendar days after the posting of this announcement to Captain Jason Brenner at jason.brenner@langley.af.mil. Please limit responses to 20 pages written and/or 20 Microsoft PowerPoint slides. Responses to all or part of the above RFI will be accepted. Proprietary information shall be clearly marked. The Government will NOT be responsible for any proprietary information not clearly marked. Responses to the RFI SHALL include the following: Submitter's Name Street Address, City, State, NINE-Digit Zip Code Point of Contact (POC) POC Telephone and Facsimile Numbers CAGE Code and DUNS Number You may also submit supplemental hardcopy materials such as brochures, etc. (5 copies each) to HQ ACC/A8ID, Attn: Capt Jason Brenner, 204 Dodd Boulevard Suite 226, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA 23665. Classified responses, if required, must be coordinated before delivery with Capt Jason Brenner at jason.brenner@langley.af.mil. Based on the National American Industrial Classification Standards (NAICS) code of 334220 and the size standard of 750, please indicate if you are one of the following: a Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Section 8a Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran -Owned Small Business, Veteran-Owned Small Business, Woman-Owned Small Business and/or Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZONE). Also indicate if you are one of the following: historically black colleges or universities, or minority institutions. Responses received after 30 calendar days after the posting of this announcement may not be considered in the government's analyses. You may submit corporate expertise information if you would like to be considered a possible interested source. We may contact RFI respondents to get clarification on the information submitted. The Government plans to conduct an Industry Day where the Government can elaborate on the requirements and cost constraints. If you are interested in attending Industry Day, you will need to provide your name, company representing, company address, telephone number, and e-mail address to Capt Jason Brenner at jason.brenner@langley.af.mil, no later than 7 calendar days after the posting of this announcement. Information for Industry Day will be sent to those interested sources that have sent in a request. For planning purposes, we plan to conduct Industry Day during May or June 2012. The Government may elect to conduct one-on-one discussions with industry to obtain clarification of the RFI responses. One-on-one discussion will be conducted only with those that provided an RFI response, and only 5 members of each respondent group will be permitted during discussions. Please note that the Government is under no obligation to conduct these sessions. Points of Contact Primary: Jason Brenner, Capt, USAF Directed Energy Project Manager (757) 764-4701 jason.brenner@langley.af.mil Secondary: Ted T. Kim, Capt, USAF Joint Expeditionary Forces Experimentation (JEFX) Program Management Lead C2 Constellation Lead Engineer ESC/HNB COMM: (781) 225-3441 E-mail: ted.kim@hanscom.af.mil SA: John Taylor Electrical Engineer (781) 225-3170 john.taylor@hanscom.af.mil
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