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Aerial Layer Communications

Solicitation Number: BAA-RIK-14-06
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Office: Air Force Material Command
Location: AFRL/RIK - Rome
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Added: Mar 17, 2014 10:18 am
NAICS CODE: 541712

FEDERAL AGENCY NAME: Department of the Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, AFRL - Rome Research Site, AFRL/Information Directorate, 26 Electronic Parkway, Rome, NY, 13441-4514

TITLE: Aerial Layer Communications

ANNOUNCEMENT TYPE: Initial announcement


CFDA Number: 12.800


The Air Force Research Laboratory - Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) is soliciting white papers under this BAA for research, design, development, concept testing, evaluation and experimentation of technologies/techniques for airborne networking and the development and demonstration of mid-altitude aerial layer communication technologies and concepts.

The characteristics of today's aerial layer networks are limiting our combat effectiveness, especially in contested, degraded, operationally limited (CDO), and anti-access area denial (A2/AD) environments where studies have shown that we may be unable to maintain communication availability, and will be outnumbered/outgunned if the status-quo is maintained.

Major challenges include the transformation of the attributes of today's networks to the attributes of the desired network as shown below, while maintaining interoperability.

Today's Network Attributes                     Desired Network Attributes
Platform- and link-centric                           Network-of-networks centric

Self-contained                                              Open

Preplanned                                                   Flexible and Ad Hoc

Contains components designed for        Contains components designed for
 wired and/or static applications               wireless and dynamic applications

Demos done on specific platforms
requiring modification                                  Demos performed on PODs

In addition, adequate capabilities for airborne network management are lacking today and there is a need in the community for solutions to manage and plan both today's multi-information link based airborne network environment and tomorrow's heterogeneous based architectures. Furthermore, a lack of dexterous network management and recovery mechanisms makes it hard to provide the necessary level of network reliability and survivability at the battlefield. This is nowhere more factual than in A2/AD environments where the ability to make rapid adaptations based on the situation is crucial.

This BAA seeks white papers that have a goal to improve the network, and cause the network to become a force multiplier. A force multiplier is a capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment. Example areas of interest are:

1. Secure, Dynamic, ad-Hoc, Adaptable, and Programmable Aerial Mesh Networks
       a. Routers and Security Devices
       b. Software Defined Networking
       c. Reconfigurable Protocols for Self-healing
       d. Network Coding
2. Network Resource Management
       a. Joint Network Situational Awareness
       b. Integrated Network Operations
       c. Deliberate, Pre-mission, and Crisis Planning
       d. Machine-to-machine C2 Interfaces
3. Modularized/Open Architecture Information Links/Networks/System
       a. AntTx/Rx Module
       b. Waveform Module
       c. Network Module
       d. Security Module
       e. Information Management Module
4. IP Communication Networking
5. Distribution and Range Extension
6. High Capacity Backbone
7. Network Enabled Weapons Information Links/Network
       a. Airborne Connectivity
       b. Modularized/Open Architecture
       c. Cooperative Control
       d. CONOPS
8. Command and Control of Directional Networking

PLEASE NOTE: Additional Information to be included in your white papers submission:

AFRL is seeking solutions that allow design elements to be copied, modified and expanded by third parties. Data rights must be clearly articulated. Open architectures are preferred. Offerors should clearly describe any restrictions on the use of the proposed technology; any such restrictions must be supported by a compelling need.


Total funding for this BAA is approximately $9.9M. The anticipated funding to be obligated under this BAA is broken out by fiscal year as follows: FY15 - $2.3M; FY16 - $2.9M; FY17 - $4.7M. Individual awards will not normally exceed 24 months with dollar amounts normally ranging from $100K to $800K per year. There is also the potential to make awards up to any dollar value. Awards of efforts as a result of this announcement will be in the form of contracts, grants, cooperative agreements or other transactions depending upon the nature of the work proposed. The Government reserves the right to select all, part, or none of the proposals received, subject to the availability of funds. All potential Offerors should be aware that due to unanticipated budget fluctuations, funding in any or all areas may change with little or no notice.


1. ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: All qualified offerors who meet the requirements of this BAA may apply.

Foreign or foreign-owned offerors are advised that their participation is subject to foreign disclosure review procedures. Foreign or foreign-owned offerors should immediately contact the contracting office focal point, Gail E. Marsh, Contracting Officer, telephone (315) 330-7518 or e-mail for information if they contemplate responding. The e-mail must reference the title and BAA RIK-14-06.

2. COST SHARING OR MATCHING: Cost sharing is not a requirement.

3. SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT (SAM). Offerors must be registered in the SAM database to receive a contract award, and remain registered during performance and through final payment of any contract or agreement. Processing time for registration in SAM, which normally takes forty-eight hours, should be taken into consideration when registering. Offerors who are not already registered should consider applying for registration before submitting a proposal.

4. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND FIRST-TIER SUB-CONTRACT/SUB-RECIPIENT AWARDS: Any contract award resulting from this announcement may contain the clause at FAR 52.204-10 - Reporting Executive Compensation and First-Tier Subcontract Awards. Any grant or agreement award resulting from this announcement may contain the award term set forth in 2 CFR, Appendix A to Part 25


1. APPLICATION PACKAGE: THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONSTITUTES THE ONLY SOLICITATION. WE ARE SOLICITING WHITE PAPERS ONLY. DO NOT SUBMIT A FORMAL PROPOSAL AT THIS TIME. Those white papers found to be consistent with the intent of this BAA may be invited to submit a technical and cost proposal, see Section VI of this announcement for further details.

For additional information, a copy of the AFRL "Broad Agency Announcement (BAA): Guide for Industry," May 2012, may be accessed at:

2. CONTENT AND FORM OF SUBMISSION: Offerors are required to submit 3 copies of a 3 to 5 page white paper summarizing their proposed approach/solution. The purpose of the white paper is to preclude unwarranted effort on the part of an offeror whose proposed work is not of interest to the Government. The white paper will be formatted as follows:

       Section A: Title, Period of Performance, Estimated Cost, Name/Address of Company, Technical and Contracting Points of Contact (phone, fax and email)(this section is NOT included in the page count);
       Section B: Task Objective; and
       Section C: Technical Summary and Proposed Deliverables including the rights to be provided to the Government for each deliverable

Multiple white papers within the purview of this announcement may be submitted by each offeror. If the offeror wishes to restrict its white papers/proposals, they must be marked with the restrictive language stated in FAR 15.609(a) and (b).

All white papers/proposals shall be double spaced with a font no smaller than 12 pitch. In addition, respondents are requested to provide their Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) number, their Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a fax number, an e-mail address, and reference BAA-RIK-14-06 with their submission.

All responses to this announcement must be addressed to the technical POC, as discussed in Paragraph 6 of this section.

3. SUBMISSION DATES AND TIMES: It is recommended that white papers be received by the following dates to maximize the possibility of award: FY 14 should be submitted by 30 Apr 14; FY 15 by 1 Mar 15; FY 16 by 1 Mar 16; FY 17 by 1 Mar 17.White papers will be accepted until 2pm Eastern time on 30 September 2017 but it is less likely that funding will be available in each respective fiscal year after the dates cited. FORMAL PROPOSALS ARE NOT BEING REQUESTED AT THIS TIME.

4. FUNDING RESTRICTIONS: The cost of preparing white papers/proposals in response to this announcement is not considered an allowable direct charge to any resulting contract or any other contract, but may be an allowable expense to the normal bid and proposal indirect cost specified in FAR 31.205-18. Incurring pre-award costs for ASSISTANCE INSTRUMENTS ONLY are regulated by the DoD Grant and Agreements Regulations (DODGARS).

5. All Proposers should review the NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL SECURITY PROGRAM OPERATING MANUAL, (NISPOM), dated February 28, 2006 as it provides baseline standards for the protection of classified information and prescribes the requirements concerning Contractor Developed Information under paragraph 4-105. Defense Security Service (DSS) Site for the NISPOM is:

6. OTHER SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: DO NOT send white papers to the Contracting Officer.

All responses to this announcement must be addressed to ATTN:

Elaine Kordyban
525 Brooks Rd
Rome NY 13441

Electronic submission to will also be accepted.

In the event of a possible or actual compromise of classified information in the submission of your white paper or proposal, immediately but no later than 24 hours, bring this to the attention of your cognizant security authority and AFRL Rome Research Site Information Protection Office (IPO):

Bob Kane
315-330-2324 0730-1630 Monday-Friday
315-330-2961 Evenings and Weekends


1. CRITERIA: The following criteria, which are listed in descending order of importance, will be used to determine whether white papers and proposals submitted are consistent with the intent of this BAA and of interest to the Government:

       (1) Overall Scientific and Technical Merit - Including the approach for the development and/or enhancement of the proposed technology;

       (2) Related Experience - The extent to which the offeror demonstrates relevant technology and domain knowledge;

       (3) Openness/Maturity of Solution - The extent to which existing capabilities and standards are leveraged and the relative maturity of the proposed technology in terms of reliability and robustness;

       (4) Reasonableness and realism of proposed costs and fees (if any).

No further evaluation criteria will be used in selecting white papers/proposals. Individual white paper/proposal evaluations will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria without regard to other white papers and proposals submitted under this BAA. White papers and proposals submitted will be evaluated as they are received.

2. REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS: Only Government employees will evaluate the white papers/proposals for selection. The Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate has contracted for various business and staff support services, some of which require contractors to obtain administrative access to proprietary information submitted by other contractors. Administrative access is defined as "handling or having physical control over information for the sole purpose of accomplishing the administrative functions specified in the administrative support contract, which do not require the review, reading, and comprehension of the content of the information on the part of non-technical professionals assigned to accomplish the specified administrative tasks." These contractors have signed general non-disclosure agreements and organizational conflict of interest statements. The required administrative access will be granted to non-technical professionals. Examples of the administrative tasks performed include: a. Assembling and organizing information for R&D case files; b. Accessing library files for use by government personnel; and c. Handling and administration of proposals, contracts, contract funding and queries. Any objection to administrative access must be in writing to the Contracting Officer and shall include a detailed statement of the basis for the objection.

3. The Government may simultaneously evaluate proposals received under this BAA from multiple offerors. In this case, the Government may make award based on adequate price competition, and offerors must be aware that there is a possibility of non-selection due to a proposal of similar but higher-priced technical approach as compared to another offeror.


1. AWARD NOTICES: Those white papers found to be consistent with the intent of this BAA may be invited to submit a technical and cost proposal. Notification by email or letter will be sent by the technical POC. Such invitation does not assure that the submitting organization will be awarded a contract. Those white papers not selected to submit a proposal will be notified in the same manner. Prospective offerors are advised that only Contracting Officers are legally authorized to commit the Government.

All offerors submitting white papers will be contacted by the technical POC, referenced in Section IV, Paragraph 6 of this announcement. Offerors can email the technical POC for status of their white paper/proposal no earlier than 45 days after submission.


Depending on the work to be performed, the offeror may require a Top Secret facility clearance and safeguarding capability; therefore, personnel identified for assignment to a classified effort must be cleared for access to Top Secret information at the time of award. In addition, the offeror may be required to have, or have access to, a certified and Government-approved facility to support work under this BAA. This acquisition may involve data that is subject to export control laws and regulations. Only contractors who are registered and certified with the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) at and have a legitimate business purpose may participate in this solicitation. For questions, contact DLIS on-line at or at the DLA Logistics Information Service, 74 Washington Avenue North, Battle Creek, Michigan 49037-3084, and telephone number 1-800-352-3572. You must submit a copy of your approved DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, with your Proposal.

3. Data Rights: The potential for inclusion of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or data rights other than unlimited on awards is recognized. In accordance with (IAW) the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive, Section 8(b), SBIR data rights clauses are non-negotiable and must not be the subject of negotiations pertaining to an award, or diminished or removed during award administration. Issuance of an award will not be made conditional based on forfeit of data rights. If the SBIR awardee wishes to transfer its SBIR data rights to the Air Force or to a third party, it must do so in writing under a separate agreement. A decision by the awardee to relinquish, transfer, or modify in any way its SBIR data rights must be made without pressure or coercion by the agency or any other party. Non-SBIR data rights less than unlimited will be evaluated and negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Government Purpose Rights are anticipated for data developed with DoD-reimbursed Independent Research and Development (IR&D) funding.

4. REPORTING: Once a proposal has been selected for award, offerors will be given complete instructions on the submission process for the reports.


Questions of a technical nature shall be directed to the cognizant technical point of contact, as specified below:

Michael Hartnett
Telephone: (315) 330-4514

Questions of a contractual/business nature shall be directed to the cognizant contracting officer, as specified below:

Gail Marsh
Telephone (315) 330-7518

The email must reference the solicitation (BAA) number and title of the acquisition.

In accordance with AFFARS 5301.91, an Ombudsman has been appointed to hear and facilitate the resolution of concerns from offerors, potential offerors, and others for this acquisition announcement. Before consulting with an ombudsman, interested parties must first address their concerns, issues, disagreements, and/or recommendations to the contracting officer for resolution. AFFARS Clause 5352.201-9101 Ombudsman (Apr 2010) will be incorporated into all contracts awarded under this BAA. The AFRL Ombudsman is as follows:

Ms. Barbara Gehrs
1864 4th Street
Building 15, Room 225
Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433-7130
FAX: (937) 656-7321; Comm: (937) 904-4407

All responsible organizations may submit a white paper which shall be considered.

26 Electronic Parkway
Rome, New York 13441-4514
United States
Gail E. Marsh,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 315-330-7518