Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3: Megacities and Subterranean Military Operations


Accessibility Information

Users of assistive technologies such as screen readers should use the following link to activate Accessibility Mode before continuing: Learn more and Activate accessibility mode.

Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3: Megacities and Subterranean Military Operations

Solicitation Number: RRTO-16-3-RFI-01
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Office of the Secretary of Defense
Location: Rapid Reaction Technology Office
  • Print
Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Feb 26, 2016 1:55 pm

Request for Information Pursuant to FAR Part 15.201(e)
RFI #: RRTO-16-3-RFI-01

TITLE: Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3: Megacities and Subterranean Military Operations

SYNOPSIS: Technology Demonstration Collaboration


The purpose of this request for information (RFI) is to solicit technology demonstration candidates from private industry, Government research and development (R&D) organizations, and academia for inclusion in future Capability Demonstration events conducted by the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) Technology Demonstration Program. The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the warfighter by demonstrating the capability and technology in an operationally relevant environment. The application deadline is no later than 5:00 PM EDT on 23 March 2016.

This RFI is NOT a solicitation for procurement or other acquisition proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited.

Thunderstorm is a series of technology demonstrations and other activities sponsored by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Emerging Capability and Prototyping, RRTO. This RFI focuses on an area of interest for dealing with challenges associated with military operations within megacity and subterranean environments.

As the world's population grows, the probability of the U.S. needing to conduct combat and humanitarian assistance / disaster relief (HA/DR) operations within a megacity (defined as a city with more than 10 million residents) also grows. The number of megacities, which can contain vast subterranean structures, is growing rapidly from 23 in 2014 to an expected 37 in 2025.(1) As developing countries struggle to keep up with infrastructure and resource requirements, population stressors, poverty, and instability within the cities become increasingly likely thus resulting in military operations to stabilize and restore peace.

Interested parties are welcome to submit their applications to participate in the focus areas described below. Technologies at all classification levels will be considered. This RFI is for Spiral 16-3, with demonstrations planned for 19-29 July, 2016 at TBD government facilities along the eastern United States.

Footnote 1: Colonel Marc Harris, Megacities Concept Team, et al. "MEGACITIES AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY." (2014).


Thunderstorm provides an opportunity for technology developers to demonstrate new and evolving technological capabilities in an operationally relevant environment, as well as to obtain insight into Federal technology gaps and emerging needs. The demonstration environment facilitates a collaborative working relationship between Government, academia, and industry. This promotes the identification and assessment of emerging needs and mature technologies with the primary goal of accelerating the delivery of technology discoveries to interagency partners. This event enables the identification of operational challenges and potential technology solutions to meet technical objectives in the subterranean and megacity complex environments. Thunderstorm provides a realistic demonstration environment for technology developers to interact with Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal and State operational personnel, who provide feedback on how their systems may support their needs. Materiel solutions brought to the event for demonstration are expected to be at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 4 or greater.

The Thunderstorm Technology Demonstration involves individual or multiple technologies and is conducted with interagency partners. The technology developer provides the capability for demonstration and personnel for installation and integration into the overall demonstration. The technology developer operates the system during the demonstration and uninstalls the system upon completion. The demonstration team plans, coordinates and assists with the associated logistics of the technology demonstration and provides limited assistance for the installation and integration efforts. The demonstration team will not assist with operation or demonstration of the technology or system.

Industry, academia, and other Government organizations are invited to submit demonstration applications addressing innovative technologies leading to possible Government/Industry collaboration for further development of emerging warfighting capabilities.

THE DEADLINES FOR APPLICATION PACKAGES is no later than 5:00 PM EDT on 23 March 2016. The RRTO Spiral 16-3 Field Demonstration will be conducted over a two week timeframe from 19-29 July 2016 at TBD government facilities along the eastern United States. Participation may not necessarily require the demonstrator to be present for the entire two-week period. Under the direction of RRTO, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) will lead the Spiral 16-3 demonstration, and the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University (ARL/PSU) will provide support as required.

Respondents are invited to submit technology demonstration applications related to, but not limited to, the following capabilities as they apply to operation within subterranean and megacities, see Table 1. Further context can be found in the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Group publication on the challenges associated with megacities, see Footnote 1.

Table 1: Desired capabilities for Thunderstorm 16-3 demonstration

Sensors for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) in confined space and GPS-degraded (subterranean and dense urban) environments; situational awareness & data collection in GPS-degraded environments.

Communications in GPS-degraded environments, to include dense urban and subterranean; multichannel, ad-hoc, self-forming and mesh networks are desirable.

Position, navigation and timing (PNT) in GPS-degraded/confined space environments, tracking and accountability in confined space; automated and/or autonomous mapping systems.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), life support and air quality monitoring and detection in confined spaces; Emergency medical sensors for vitals monitoring with communications backbone in GPS-degraded environments; UAV/UAS for medical resupply and evacuation; life support for field medical monitoring and pain control (confined space).

Military Information Support Operations (MISO) in expansive, interwoven, and diverse population centers.

The primary focus for Spiral 16-3 will be ISR, Communications, PNT, PPE and MISO. Future demonstrations may include tunnel ISR and subterranean warfare. All technologies should emphasize automated operations with a goal of reducing or eliminating required manpower.

After review of the demonstration applications, the Government may invite candidates to demonstrate their technologies during Spiral 16-3 with the intent to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the DoD. Industry participation in the demonstration activities does not suggest or imply that the Government will endorse, procure, or purchase equipment.

DO NOT SUBMIT CLASSIFIED INFORMATION in the demonstration application. If classified information is required to adequately describe a technology, submit an unclassified application with a request for a classified submission of supporting materials.

DO NOT SUBMIT ACQUISITION PROPOSALS. Submit Demonstration Applications and white papers only. Technology Demonstration Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EDT on 23 March 2016. No contracts will be awarded based solely on this announcement. Submission of a demonstration application does not guarantee an invitation to demonstrate.


Submissions must be in the form of the application provided in Appendix 1. The application submitted under this RFI shall be limited to a maximum of 3 (three) pages. Applications shall be clearly marked with RRTO Spiral 16-3, RFI #: RRTO-16-3-RFI-01.

The application shall be formatted to print as typewritten on single-sided paper with one-inch margins on all sides and 1.5-spaced text. 10-point font or larger with normal (uncondensed) spacing shall be used. All applications shall be submitted in the Microsoft-Word or portable document format (PDF) file format. See the Application in Appendix 1. All applications will be submitted via email to and will include the following information:

     Subject: RRTO Spiral 16-3 Application, RFI #: RRTO-16-3-RFI-01
     Company Name/Business Division/Address
     Capability Name
     Primary POC info for the application: Name, email & phone number
     Date the application was uploaded to your directory.

You will receive an email verifying your application was received. Multiple applications addressing different capabilities may be submitted. Each application must address only one capability. The submission of proprietary information is strongly discouraged. Applications that desire to submit classified material must first submit an unclassified application and request instructions on that application for submission of classified materials in support of their application. The demonstration team will provide venues, supporting infrastructure, and personnel for assessment (operational and technical), based on availability of resources. Costs specific to running the technology developer's technology, as well as the technology developer's travel costs will be at the technology developer's expense. Invited technology developers must be prepared to be self-sufficient during the execution of their demonstration and not dependent on venue resources. If you have questions regarding the submittal, please email


Submissions will be reviewed by the RRTO and appropriate supporting Government organizations and support contractors. The RRTO will determine whether a demonstration submission will be accepted for invitation.

Selection of respondents to participate shall be based on the extent to which the technology represents a particular class or level of capability that can be provided to interested commands or interagency partners. Other considerations include:

  - Relevance to Event Focus Area
  - Technical maturity
  - Relevance of or adaptability to military operations/missions
  - Relevance to current operational needs


Technology developers shall assure that all proprietary information, documentation, and equipment are appropriately and clearly marked. Be advised that lessons learned from these demonstrations may be broadly disseminated within the Government. If selected for participation, technology developers may be requested to provide additional information that will be used in preparation for the demonstration.


University affiliated research centers (UARCs), federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), and/or contractor consultant/advisors to the Government will review and provide support during evaluation of submittals. When appropriate, non-Government advisors may be used to objectively review a particular functional area and provide comments and recommendations to the Government. All advisors shall comply with procurement integrity laws and shall sign non-disclosure and rules of conduct/conflict of interest statements. The Government shall take into consideration requirements for avoiding conflicts of interest and ensure advisors comply with safeguarding proprietary data. Submission in response to this RFI constitutes approval to release the submittal to Government support contractors.


Per FAR 52.215-3 Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes (Oct 1997):

1. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI notice or to otherwise pay for the information.

2. Although "proposal" and "technology developer" are used in this RFI, your responses will be treated as information only. It shall not be used as a proposal.

3. In accordance with FAR Clause 52.209(c), the purpose of this RFI is to solicit technology demonstration candidates from R&D organizations, private industry, and academia for inclusion in future Thunderstorm technology demonstration events sponsored by RRTO.

Appendix 1
Application to Demonstrate at Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3

Company / Organization: Provide full name of company / organization

POC: Provide name of person submitting application; office and mobile telephone numbers and email address(es).

Note: This application should be limited to five pages maximum including the cover page.

Topic Area: include topic area for capability to be demonstrated (see Table 1 in RFI)

Technology and/or Capability Name: Commonly referred to name

Insert Picture of
Proposed System Here

Company / Organization: Provide full name, address and other contact information for your organization. Include specific division if applicable. Please note if your company is designated as a "Small Business" and/or is "Foreign Owned".

Objective: Briefly describe demonstration objectives and goals.

Capability Description: Clearly describe the capability that you plan to demonstrate. Please identify if this technology is new, emerging, or legacy/existing and if you plan to demonstrate it as a transformational capability. Also indicate its technology readiness level (TRL).

Capability Classification: Provide the classification level of the capability proposed for demonstration. (Unclassified, Confidential, Secret, Top Secret)

Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR): Identify what (if any) parts of your capability have EAR and/or ITAR restrictions.

Baseline Demonstration Plan: Describe how you would like to demonstrate your capability. Include specific items such as location, environmental conditions, day / night, etc. This can be revised as the planning matures. Describe any support equipment, test equipment, spares, and associated items needed to support the handling, installation and operations of the capability and if there is a request for any support (crane, fork lift, etc.) Also include any hazardous material handling requirements such as fuel, oil, chemicals, etc.

Set-up Requirements: Briefly describe the details of the proposed capability set-up for the demonstration.
  • Major System Dimensions:
  • Estimated Total Weight:
  • Power Requirement:
  • Network Connections:
  • Data Requirement:
  • Special Handling: (crane, forklift, etc.)
  • Restrictions: (cable length, conditioned space, environmental constraints, etc.)
  • Anticipated Number of Personnel for Demonstration:
  • Hazardous Materials:
  • On-site Storage:

If your application is approved and you have never received a JF12 #, you will need to provide a DD Form 1494 within 5 days of notification of approval.

Airborne Systems (if applicable): If applicable, describe the type of airborne system (for example, manned aircraft typically flying at an altitude of ... with loiter time of...; Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)...; Aerostat ...). Provide copy of FAA paperwork certifying approval to fly. For UAS, provide Special Airworthiness Certificate-Experimental Category (SAC-EC) or Certificate of Waiver of Authorization (COA).

Government Contracts (if applicable): Identify any government contracts and the supporting agencies that have or are expected to support the system and/or system components.

Demonstration Team: Include name, email, phone number, and complete address of key stakeholders / focal point and identify if any are foreign nationals, including:

a. Demonstration Lead:
b. Technical Lead:
c. Team Members:



Please consult the list of document viewers if you cannot open a file.

Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3
Posted Date:
February 26, 2016
Description: RRTO Thunderstorm Spiral 16-3: Megacities and Subterranean Military Operations
Contracting Office Address:
5611 Columbia Pike
Suite 04C20
Falls Church, Virginia 22041
United States
Primary Point of Contact.:
RRTO Thunderstorm