Behind Enemy Lines

Autonomous sensor system provides deep battlespace intelligence

9 Ratings

Imagine tensions with a rival nation escalate, leading to the mobilization of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The enemy is ready to launch their weapons, and has blocked GPS signals, making it impossible to locate the WMDs using GPS technology. How will we navigate intercepting bombers and missiles to locate and deactivate the WMDs?

THE CHALLENGE

The AiR Dropped Remotely Operated Sensor System (ARDROSS), as its name implies, is a beacon system and unattended ground sensor (UGS) capable of being deployed via air drop in remote areas. The system will feature a design that allows users to deploy sensors capable of being configured to detect different targets for different missions. Gateway devices will be capable of fusing information from multiple sensor nodes into a single packet of information for transmission over a long haul communication (LHC) link to a user or backend server. Gateway devices will also act as the beacon for a particular sensor field. ARDROSS nodes will be precision-deployed from an unmanned aerial system (UAS) or miniature UAS platform. Each air dropped sensor (sensor node) will contain a local communication network radio and a transducer capable of detecting signals relevant to the mission. Sensor nodes then transmit information to the back end.

WHY IT MATTERS

The Air Force needs a safe way to monitor and track high-value targets behind enemy lines and navigate intercepting airborne assets when GPS is denied. Without ARDROSS, the military must use covert ground troops to monitor these assets, placing our soldiers' lives in danger. The armed forces previously would have sent human assets on foot behind enemy lines to keep eyes on high value targets. ARDROSS eliminates the need to place a soldier within the vicinity of a target convoy or radio intelligence information, helping to keep them safe and away from enemy reach.

THE SOLUTION

McQ has experience with air dropping sensors, having produced a remotely operated weather station for the Air Force in the late 1990s. As a leader in remote, low-power, covert sensing, McQ integrated the intelligent sensor platform with a hardened air-droppable enclosure, and added multi-sensor fusion to provide a clear picture of target movement and trends.

"ARDROSS is a wonderful solution in that it keeps our soldiers out of harms way, yet it provides real time data on targets, their locations, and even acts as a beaconing bread crumb trail to find them." — Matthew Rohrer

HOW IT WORKS

The AiR Dropped Remotely Operated Sensor System (ARDROSS), as its name implies, is a beacon system and unattended ground sensor (UGS) capable of being deployed via air drop in remote areas. The system will feature a design that allows users to deploy sensors capable of being configured to detect different targets for different missions. Gateway devices will be capable of fusing information from multiple sensor nodes into a single packet of information for transmission over a long haul communication (LHC) link to a user or backend server. Gateway devices will also act as the beacon for a particular sensor field. ARDROSS nodes will be precision deployed from an unmanned aerial system (UAS) or miniature UAS platform. Each air dropped sensor (sensor node) will contain a local communications network radio and a transducer capable of detecting signals relevant to the mission. Sensor nodes then transmit information to the back end via gateway nodes. Gateway nodes are capable of long haul communications through the use of a satellite communications system (such as Iridium) to relay information from the sensor field to a user or back-end server. Satellite communication will also allow users to send commands to deployed sensors. Deployed gateway nodes will also be capable beaconing in order to act as navigational beacons for airborne platforms.

IMPACT FOR THE FUTURE

ARDROSS replaces boots on the ground with microcontroller technology, helping to keep our service members safe and out of enemy reach.

ARDROSS development has helped McQ design the next generation of low-power sensors based on cutting-edge microcontroller technology.

This sensor platform will be used in upcoming IR&D efforts with other government customers who require sensor systems that must be airdropped, low power, or provide metrics for data fusion.

The powerful potential of ARDROSS has pushed the customer to tailor other SBIR contract requirements so that these technologies can be integrated into a more powerful system. It has impacted McQ in that we have utilized new technology to provide a very small, long-lasting sensor capable of airdrop. What McQ has learned during this design process will aid McQ with subsequent designs.

There is no need to risk soldiers’ lives when smart-sensing technology can be air deployed, survive impact, and automatically set itself up for operation. — Matthew Rohrer, Program Manager at McQ Inc.

McQ, Inc.

www.mcqinc.com

Fredericksburg, VA

McQ is the industry leader in pushing state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies for military and law enforcement applications. McQ's products detect battlefield and border activity including aircraft, vehicles, and personnel.

Matthew Rohrer Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer

Product Development Lead, Program Manager

Matthew Reese Matthew Reese

Matthew Reese

Lead Hardware and Software Engineer

Steve  Brady Steve  Brady

Steve Brady

Senior Software Engineer

TOPIC TITLE:

AiR Dropped Remotely Operated Sensor System (ARDROSS)

TOPIC NUMBER:

AF121-103

CONTRACT NUMBER:

FA8651-13-C-0157

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