Site Search:

Contact Us


(Register Here)
DOD TechMatch Sponsors
SBIR Opportunity View
  Back to Listing
AF071-160 Click For Printer Friendly Verson
  Go To DOD SBIR Site
Basic Information:

Title: Subterranean Warfare
Program: SBIR
Technology Area: Weapons
Open Date: 12/6/2006
Close Date: 1/10/2007

The key to every engagement is the ability to hold all targets at risk. The enemy continues to use hard, and deeply buried targets or target locations with a high potential for collateral damage, and both are difficult to access and defeat. For example, a target containing biochemical weapons may be built beneath a hospital making it both hard to reach and sensitive to attack. Conventional munitions sometimes lack the lethal precision or capability to engage these targets. A subterranean vehicle could engage these types of targets in an effective manner, avoiding both collateral damage and unnecessary risks to our troops. It could be deployed a safe distance from the target and autonomously navigate itself to the target while detecting, identifying, and then avoiding buried obstacles such as pipes, wires, boulders and even other buildings. This vehicle would be able to penetrate the surface either through deployable techniques or on its own. Conventional digging techniques have limited application for small vehicles. Its more likely that a revolutionary approach to digging, involving biologically inspired and/or unconventional physical and chemical approaches, would provide better results. It is also possible that a system of vehicles may be used to dig, each performing a different task. The major difficulty in subterranean mobility is trying to develop an efficient technique for small platforms that dig several meters below the surface. For this program, it is envisioned that research will focus on an efficient biologically inspired, physical, and/or chemical approach to digging. It is important to demonstrate a technique for penetrating and digging below the surface. Digging technology should fit form factor for a small (12 in. max. dimension) vehicle. It is also important to optimize power requirements.

Develop an unconventional means for digging that may be utilized on small subterranean vehicles.
Phase I:

Produce a conceptual design, identify key requirements and predict the performance of the proposed digging technology concept. Concept should establish the ability to penetrate the surface and continue to navigate at least one meter below the surface. Power requirements are vital and should not exceed 200 Whs. Focus on identifying critical parameters such as: power requirements, soil density, penetration depth, etc.
Phase II:

Develop, test and demonstrate an operable prototype or suitable device that fulfills the technological concept.
Commercialization Potential:

Military application: Technology developed on this program will have military application for hard buried targets in urban areas. Commercial application: There are possible commercial applications in geological research, farming, and mining.

1. AFRL/MN Campus Challenge Solicitation, MNK-BAA-02-0001 Neutralization of a Hardened/Deeply Buried Target:

2. General Dynamics WormTM:

SBIR Keywords

Hardened and Deeply Buried Target, Collateral Damage, Digging, Tunneling, Subterranean, Biology
TechMatch Keyword(s):

Guided Munitions
Weapon Systems
Guided Missile Technology

The Solicitations listed on this site are copies from the various SBIR agency solicitations and are not necessarily the latest and most up-to-date. For this reason, you should use the agency link listed below which will take you directly to the appropriate agency server where you can read the official version of this solicitation and download the appropriate forms and rules.

The Official Website can be found at: