Arctic Mobile Observing System (AMOS)


ONR requests proposals to develop capabilities and components for the "Arctic Mobile Observing System", an Innovative Naval Prototype Program or INP, which is expected to run from FY19-FY23. The planned AMOS prototype is an Arctic mobile observing system of systems that will enable 2-way communications, under-ice mobile vehicle navigation and extended-duration autonomy in the complex Arctic environment. The primary focus of the AMOS INP will be on mobile systems that drift with the sea ice cover and/or operate autonomously within the water column. It is envisioned that AMOS will consist of a node (central ice tethered mooring), mobile sensing platforms and an energy management capability that includes ice tethered docking. AMOS will be designed to persist/endure for 12 months, have a sensing footprint goal of 100 km from the central node and have 2-way Arctic communications (vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to node and node to shore).

Research Concentration Areas 

AMOS will provide the Navy with scientific understanding of the physical Arctic Ocean environment and lead to improved operational predictions for this region. AMOS will advance new mobile observing methodologies that will enable studies of sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics and improve our understanding of the circulation and evolution of water masses in the Arctic.

The goal of an INP is to provide a prototype to demonstrate high-risk, but technically feasible technology to enable rapid fielding and/or transition to an acquisition program. An INP must produce a high pay-off capability with a defendable return on investment. The notional schedule for the five-year program, that deploys the AMOS prototype in year four is as follows:

FY19:  Team selection, award. plan development/finalization, initial design & procurements

FY20:  Subsystem design/build and deploy in the Arctic on a cruise in late Summer 2020.

FY21:  Preliminary design integration and deployment to the Arctic on a cruise in late Summer 2021

FY22:  Final integration/build and deployment of Final AMOS prototype in late Summer 2022

FY23:  Initial prototype evaluation and recovery in late Summer 2023


Research Challenges and Opportunities

Proposals that may be appropriate for this initiative include but are not limited to:

  • Deployment and integration of new sensors and systems that address Arctic observing needs
  • Upgrades to existing platforms, docks and sensors to permit deployment in the Arctic 
  • Explorations of autonomous behaviors appropriate for the Arctic environment 
  • Novel sensing strategies employing complementary observation types or platforms
  • Low-power systems that can collect critical environmental data over long periods of time
  • Under-ice navigation and data communication capabilities

Multiple components, investigators, and approaches are expected to be supported under this initiative. It is not expected that a single integrator or entity will be supported to develop the entire prototype observing system, but rather that many individual investigators will be funded based on the quality and relevance of their proposals. Once the team of investigators is selected, a lead will be assigned from within the team to conduct integration of all of the subsystems for the final AMOS prototype. A separate Chief Scientist will be selected from within the team to conduct the at-sea deployment cruises.

Request for Proposals

Proposers should consider the background information section above and meet the ONR Long Range BAA N00014-19-S-B001 submission criteria.

Please note that the Arctic environment is harsh and complex. Equipment, platform and/or vehicle loss is an expected risk. Institutional or contractor owned equipment, platforms or vehicles may not be replaced with AMOS project dollars. It is requested that proposers consider these risks during proposal development. If there is interest in performing the AMOS integration function, please present an option of up to 2 work years for the duration of the program.


March 20, 2019 – Proposal Due Date

April 12, 2019 – Selection (approximate)

July 2019 – Initial team meeting (PIs established by awards)

Type of Funding Available

  • Basic Research
  • Applied Research

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Scott Harper

Title: Program Manager

Department: Code 322

Email for Questions: with copy to Jean McGovern (

* Some pages on this website provide links which require a plug in to view.