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Lightning Protection of Revolving Aircraft Turrets

Award Information

Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Honeybee Robotics
460 West 34th Street New York, NY 10001-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Lightning Protection of Revolving Aircraft Turrets
Agency / Branch: DOD / MDA
Contract: F29601-03-C-0219
Award Amount: $749,997.00


Honeybee proposes a Rotary Lightning Protection System (RLPS) that combines the existing metal mesh/coating approach to lightning strike mitigation with the innovative Rotary Band Contact (RBC) concept to provide a ground path for rotating compositestructures. The RLPS design will not only protect the mechanisms that produce the required rotary motion, but will also protect any sensitive equipment within by providing a direct exterior path away from the rotating member directly to ground. Honeybeeplans to design a lightweight system compatible with nose-mounted ball turrets such as the one employed by the Airborne Laser Boeing 747-400. The proposed RLPS uses high yield strength, flexible roll rings for rotary power transfer. The roll rings mayexperience large, prolonged compressive forces without permanent deformation. Also, by avoiding the sliding contact traditionally associated with power transfer across rotating interfaces, wear is greatly reduced. As a result, particulate generation, whichmay increase the likelihood of current arcing, a serious concern near aircraft fuel tanks, and damage sensitive optical equipment, is essentially eliminated. The RLPS design offers reliable high-current transfer capabilities, minimal wear, low torqueresistance, low noise production and continuous rotation; a prime candidate for the lightning protection of aircraft rotary interfaces. The proposed Phase II SBIR effort will result in a mature Rotary Lightning Protection System (RLPS) design for use onABL aircraft. Aside from lightning protection, the RPLS can also be integrated into any system requiring power and/or data transfer across rotating interfaces. The technology will be a significant advancement over the current state of the art because ofminimal wear and particulate generation, low electrical noise production, and ability to perform well in extreme environments. The technology has great commercial potential in government and industrial applications. With further development during PhaseIII commercialization activity, the RLPS is expected to provide a more attractive alternative to existing lightning protection and rotary power systems. US suppliers of previous state of the art technology that license the RLPS will see their competitiveposture improve with respect to overseas suppliers and as the technology is enabling, the growth of new US products and industries are also anticipated.

Principal Investigator:

Tom Myrick
Chief of Engineering

Business Contact:

Chris Chapman
Small Business Information at Submission:

204 Elizabeth Street New York, NY 10012

EIN/Tax ID: 880193033
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No