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Advanced Propellants Capable of Controllable and Regulated Burns


TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes, Weapons

OBJECTIVE: Identify and develop advanced, high efficiency propellants and/or divert actuator and attitude control systems exhibiting highly controllable and steady burn properties for endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric use.  The system shall be operational at ambient temperatures from -60 deg F to 170 deg F.  Fast reaction times for the propellant systems are desired with a goal of less than 10 ms.  The goal is also to produce a green propellant that meets insensitive munitions requirements.  Novel concepts for propellant systems that have a high system mass fraction (greater than 40%) and a high delta velocity (greater than 1000 m/s) are desired.

DESCRIPTION: Current US Navy missile systems can be made more capable with controllable, high efficiency divert actuator control systems and attitude control systems with innovative designs and novel propellants.   Unsteady burn properties can result in high rates of jitter or vibrational noise, which can affect missile performance in target acquisition, track, and the required precision in missile orientation.  Future missile systems will probably require the kill vehicle to travel longer distances and achieve higher divert margins than their predecessors. To achieve future requirements the divert actuator control systems and the attitude control systems will require more efficient designs and higher energy density.  Systems that can regulate the burn rate to conserve fuel are of interest.  Increased efficiency may reduce kill vehicle weight which would allow move velocity from the main propulsion system to achieve faster target intercepts and improve the opportunities to engage the target.  Increased fuel efficiency is also desired to achieve the longer range, larger divert requirements as well as maintain or reduce the current weight and/or volume of propellant used within the missile. In addition, US Navy missile requirements aim to use propellant materials and missile designs that facilitate the release of explosive energy without violent reaction or fratricide of adjacent munitions. This requirement has significantly limited the implementation of proposed hypergolic liquid propellant designs. Hypergolic liquid propellants’ inherent toxicity is a cause of concern for current US Navy missile applications.

This topic is soliciting innovative propellant materials of any state (solid, liquid or other) and system designs for innovative divert actuator control systems and attitude control systems, and includes evaluating thrust diverter actuator systems for new and innovative methods to achieve a higher level of missile kill vehicle performance and enhancing system predictability.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for an innovative propellant system and/or new propellant material that meets the objective listed above.  In addition, create a plan of approach, or roadmap, to develop, test and demonstrate the proposed technology.  Phase I deliverables will include a technical report and brief describing the technical feasibility and merit of the use of advanced propellants and/or innovative propellant system.  The deliverables shall also include the plan of approach.

PHASE II: Develop the concepts investigated in Phase I.  Develop, test and demonstrate concept feasibility in a missile environment. In addition, deliverables will include a report and brief describing the technical merit of the use of advanced propellants and the propellant system design approach and the feasibility of use in future Navy missile programs.

PHASE III: Finalize the design and manufacture of high efficiency propellants and propellant actuator systems exhibiting highly controllable and steady burn properties while facilitating the release of explosive energy without violent reaction. Possible applications may include, but are not limited to the following:

• Commercial Applications: Spacecraft, Satellites, Rockets, Unmanned vehicles

• DoD/Military Applications: Missiles - Strike, Ballistic Missile Defense (Phased Adaptive Approach), Land Based, Sea Based (surface launched, submarine launched, air launched)

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