Research Summaries

Back Bento Box - Modular/Recoverable Stratospheric Balloon Capabilities to Support Distributed Maritime Operations

Fiscal Year 2022
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department Naval Research Program
Investigator(s) Phelps, Ronald L.
Lan, Wenschel D.
Savattone, James A.
Sponsor NPS Naval Research Program (Navy)
Summary Guaranteed access to communication, navigation, & data transfer networks is required for successful mission execution. In light of great power competition, unique/novel methods are needed to maintain continuous airborne surveillance, uninterrupted comms, and accurate navigation inputs to facilitate tactical maneuver in contested battlespaces. High-altitude balloons (HABs) offer a potential low-cost/low-observable method to increase force projection across domains and provide the infrastructure required to support Naval Special Warfare (NSW) tactical maneuvers. Using HABs as an ad-hoc, organic asset has the potential to bring data across multiple platforms to the ground user and maximize resources in DMO.

This research will build on lessons learned from current efforts in HAB bus development of the Bento Box, a modular bus that can accommodate a wide range of payloads. Faculty will advise students in achieving the following objectives: 1) investigate the use of a modular near-space system as a future system that can be used by NSW to maximize the breadth of its resources in Distributed Maritime Operations; 2) study the reliability and robustness of a system that can provide cross-platform data in simulated contested environments; and 3) implement a machine learning algorithm to improve geolocation processing and multi-source data fusion that is relevant to NSW.

Standard aerospace modeling and simulation techniques will be used to formulate a representative environment. The current iteration of the Bento Box prototype, which has been used to investigate the capability to support multiple payloads to provide beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), real-time video relays from multiple sources to a simulated joint operations control (JOC) location, will serve as the baseline of a near-space system that NSW could employ under DMO. Aerospace industry testing and agile design best practices will be employed to assess the Bento Box┬┐s resiliency.
Keywords DMO Mosaic Warfare contested environment high-altitude balloons near-space platforms tactical maneuvers
Publications Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal
Data Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal