The Coast Guard this week released its funded FY ’17 research and development program that includes a number of new projects including ones to counter unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the maritime environment, and to address cyber vulnerabilities and threats to its surface and air assets.

All told the FY ’17 R&D portfolio includes 69 projects,10 of them new, spread across six focus areas: Aviation; C4ISR; Environment and waterways; Modeling and Simulation Center of Expertise; Surface; and Transition, innovation and analysis.coast guard, rdc, r&D

The Maritime Counter UAS project is slated to begin in October with collection of end user requirements followed by a Request for Information next June for counter UAS technology. A report on market research and preliminary counter UAS technology assessment is due in October 2017. In the spring of 2018 the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center plans to issue an announcement of counter UAS demonstrations and then host demonstrations in late summer 2018 before issuing a final report in the fall of 2018.

The Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Risk Mitigation Strategies for Coast Guard Surface and Air Assets project aims to help the service meet its mission objective of providing resistance and resilience to surface and air platforms. The project is scheduled to begin in October cyber security risk research and analysis for GPS, Automatic Identification System, and specific mission oriented systems dependent on position navigation and timing.

In 2017 the project will assess surface assets with a vulnerability report due in December that year and in 2018 an assessment of aviation assets will occur with a report due that May.

New projects also include modeling for mass migration and distress calls from mariners using cell phones instead of radios.

“Mass Migration Modeling and Analysis is an important upcoming project,” Burt Macesker, executive director of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, said in a statement. With more migrants attempting to enter the United States by water, “There is the potential for mass migrations due to changing political circumstances, natural disaster and other causes, and the Coast Guard will look to innovative modeling and simulation to enhance contingency planning and tactical to deal with that if it happens.”

The mass migration project originally began in 2014 but was put on hold the following year. It is scheduled to restart in October with development of models for the Florida Straits and Mona Pass with playbooks for each due in 2017.

With the Cell Phone Location Search and Rescue project, which will also begin this fall, the Coast Guard wants to document functional requirements and assess existing geo-locating systems and conduct demonstrations of potential solutions in 2017. The program will also examine the ability of Coast Guard air and surface assets to locate cell phone signals from distressed mariners.

Some of the other new projects include an ice condition risk assessment tool, corrosion control and monitoring, a tool for navigational safety risk modeling and analysis, technology demonstration of inertial navigation systems, and a library of visual, night vision goggles, radar, and thermal detection signatures.