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16--REQUEST FOR INFORMATION - Advanced High Altitude Parachutist Oxygen Breathing System(AHAPOBS)

Solicitation Number: WARPAD-RFI-AD003
Agency: Department of the Army
Office: Army Contracting Command
Location: ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS)
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Sources Sought
Added: Nov 19, 2012 9:57 am
The US Army Research Development Engineering Command, Natick Soldier Center, is conducting a market survey for technical information on concepts for High Altitude Parachutist Oxygen Breathing Systems. High Altitude parachutists and aircrews need supplemental oxygen during the execution of the Ram Air parachute operations as well as during unpressurized flights.
The following briefly describe the Oxygen requirements:
All personnel will pre-breathe 100 percent aviation grade oxygen at or below 10,000 feet MSL pressure or cabin altitude below 10,000 feet MSL pressure altitude on any mission scheduled for a drop at or above 20,000 feet MSL.
The required pre-breathing time will be completed before the 20-minute warning and before the cabin altitude ascends through 10,000 feet MSL.
Any break in pre-breathing requires restarting the pre-breathing period or removing the individual(s) whose pre-breathing was interrupted from the mission.
Pre-breathing requires the presence of an Air Force physiological technician onboard the aircraft.
All personnel onboard during unpressurized operations above 10,000 feet MSL and higher will use oxygen. (Exception: Parachutists may operate without supplemental oxygen during unpressurized flights up to 13,000 feet MSL provided the time above 10,000 feet MSL does not exceed 30 minutes each sortie.)
The bailout systems require a duration of oxygen lasting from the time when the parachutist disconnects from the Pre-breathe console, thru parachute landing. Improved Ram Air Canopy systems, in particular when used in High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) parachute insertion operations, have extended and continue to extend the parachutist's time aloft. Future insertion operations could exceed 60 minutes from aircraft exit to ground. New Ram Air parachute systems currently in testing are expected to have descent rates averaging approximately 9 ft/sec, and can be deployed directly upon exit from the aircraft with an objective altitude of 35,000 ft Mean Sea Level (MSL). Additional aircraft race tracks and physical activities within the aircraft can cause jumpers to consume the oxygen volume needed for the descent prior to exit.
For jumps from 30,000 ft, the breathing system shall provide physiological protection against hypoxia from the time the parachutist disconnects from the prebreathing console to his/her landing at sea level altitude. The system shall provide adequate breathing gas for the following profile (all flows and volumes are expressed in terms of ambient liters):
40 liters per minute for 2 minutes prior to departing the aircraft.
Consumption approximating the curve as shown below represents estimated usages of oxygen in liters / min utilizing current open circuit oxygen breathing systems. Parachute opening at 28,000 ft approximately 15 seconds after aircraft departure.
Under parachute descent rate of 10 ft/sec from 28,000 ft to ground level (sea level).
See attached document for Parachutist's Breathing Flow Rate During Freefall and Descent.
Current pre-breathe consoles are connected to the parachutist's bailout system and are designed to supply the parachutist with 100% aviation grade oxygen without depleting the bailout system's volume of oxygen. These consoles are designed to support the pre-breathe requirements of up to 6 parachutists, but in many cases the internal supply volume of the oxygen is inadequate to fully support this number of paratroopers, and in some cases additional consoles and or large quote mark K quote mark bottles are loaded on the aircraft to support pre-breathing needs and additional racetracks. This equipment is organic to the inserting unit, is left on board the aircraft and needs to be recovered after operations. Operationally, this is not possible as the aircraft needs to egress in a manner as not to compromise the inserting unit's mission. Equipment recovery in this case becomes difficult.
The Military Free Fall community has interest in oxygen breathing systems that will support upgraded mission capabilities of extended duration. Equipment for both pre-breathing and canopy descent phases are to be considered for upgrade to meet improved mission requirements. However, the bailout phase is of the highest priority, where size and pressure increases of current 122 cu-in, 3000 psi cylinders will not be considered. Ideal system would support both phases in one system, with a total duration of approximately four hours with a parachutist breathing rate of 20 liters/min on an open circuit breathing system.
Successful development could lead to additional uses for aircrews desiring the freedom to move about the back of the aircraft without an oxygen hose tethering them and restricting their movements. Other applications may be an emergency egress breathing system (non-fire related), and possibly a smaller more efficient subsurface re-breather for military or commercial use.
Considerations for design:
* Must be able to integrate with all existing MFF parachute systems to include tandem systems (tandem master and passenger) and tethered bundle systems, and not interfere with equipment mountings. Must be compatible with current and future helmet systems to include but not limited to: Gentex, ACH, OpsCorp FAST, and Protec helmets, must not interfere with combat loads, paratrooper worn navigation systems' mounting or readability, Night Vision devices, or Heads Up Displays
* System
o Duration should be not less than 70 minutes for bailout phase, or combined pre-breath and bailout systems 3 hours Threshold and an objective of 4 hours.
o Bailout system size should be as small as possible.
o Pressure gauge should be oriented and large enough to be easily read with or without Night vision devices by the user and inspecting personnel. An additional wireless temperature compensated pressure transducer to be displayed on a navigation device a plus.
o Shall operate at temperatures ranging from -65 degrees F to 160 degrees F and humidity ranging from zero to 100 %, non-condensing.
o Shall demonstrate a functional reliability of 95% (T) to 99% (O) at a 90% confidence level.
o Must provide a procedure to verify functionality during pre jump and Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection (JMPI) to include tank pressure, leaks, and gas valve flow direction and functionality.
o Frost or ice accumulation outside the bailout oxygen storage subsystem, manifold, hose and regulator, or inside or outside the mask shall not preclude proper operation of the system.
o The breathing mask shall incorporate a communication capability consistent with current communications systems.
o Shall incorporate self-sealing connections and non-crushable hoses where applicable.
o The breathing mask shall be a low-profile mask, attached to the parachutist's helmet by a secure mask suspension system that must be capable of withstanding opening shocks up to 15G's. During movement on board the aircraft, exit, high-speed free-fall, parachute opening, descent and landing, the mask is to remain securely on the parachutist's face.
o Pressurized oxygen storage systems, if applicable, shall be shatterproof, rated at maximum working pressure of not more than 4500 psig and shall meet all applicable Department of Transportation (DOT) certification requirements and Department of Defense (DOD) transport aircraft flight clearance requirements.

All interested firms, regardless of size are encouraged to submit a White Paper to NSRDEC in accordance with NSRDEC Broad Agency Announcement 11-13 which can be found at Proprietary information will not be disclosed outside the U.S. Government. Nothing shall be construed herein or through the RFI process to commit or obligate the Government to further action as a result of this RFI. Firms responding to this RFI shall bear all risk and expense of any resources used to provide the requested information, and all information submitted in response to this request shall become the property of the Government and will not be returned to the submitter. Responses shall be submitted by 19 December 2012 and may be sent via email to or by regular mail to US Army RDECOM, Natick Soldier Center, RDNS-WPA-T (ATTN: Dan Shedd), Kansas Street, Natick, MA, 01760, Telephone (508) 233-5079, Fax (508) 233-5000. An alternative point of contact (POC) is Andrew Margules,, (508) 233-4689.
ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS), ATTN: CCRD-NA, Building 1, Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760-5011
Warfighter & erial Delivery Directorate ATTN: RDNS-WPA-T, Kansas Street Natick MA
Allison Griffin, 508-233-4495

ACC-APG - Natick (PADDS)