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Lightweight Structural Components of a Missile Body



OBJECTIVE: Develop materials solutions to lighten the weight of various structural components of a missile body. 

DESCRIPTION: This topic seeks innovative, weight-optimized solutions for large missile structures. Solutions are sought for decreasing the weight of various structural components throughout the missile body. Material options must take into account the physical and environmental requirements, and cost of the interceptor in manufacturing, in launch storage, and during operation. Applications include large missiles where weight optimization is critical, while providing robust adherence to standard military requirements pertaining to various structures such as the booster avionics module, booster inter-staging, nozzles, mounting brackets, or other major components/materials where weight savings could be realized. Proposals should demonstrate an innovative concept that has realistic potential to reduce the overall weight of the missile system through robust design, advanced materials, and manufacturing techniques. Concepts must include ease of fabrication and reliable installation within the missile body. Combinations of advanced materials and robust manufacturing techniques should enable a functional, producible, and lightweight structural system that will allow the missile system to accomplish its task. 

PHASE I: Perform analysis of structures/materials that would provide the greatest weight and cost savings ratio of a missile. Develop the proposed hardware concepts through experimentation to demonstrate the feasibility of performance and weight optimized solutions. Successful bidders will be provided with generic interface requirements of interceptor structures as well as general storage and functional environments. During this phase the innovative concepts should be tailored to those generic interface and performance requirements. 

PHASE II: Demonstrate the feasibility of the innovative hardware solutions by building and testing prototype structural units. This phase will focus on verifying that the proposed concepts will actually provide weight savings to the overall missile body. Therefore, the scope of this phase will be tailored to highlight the specific design benefits. 

PHASE III: Integrate the proposed system into a critical interceptor application and generalize the application for broader use across government programs and commercial applications. Demonstrate applicability in one or more element systems, subsystems, or components. The projected benefits to improve safety, reliability, producibility, weight, and reduce cost should be made clear. The demand for reliable, robust, and lightweight materials for booster and payload structures has wide market appeal for commercial space launch vehicles, defense weaponry, and commercial and defense aircraft. 


1: April 2017. "Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)." Missile Defense Agency.

2:  May 2016. "Ground-Based Missile Defense Program Review."

3:  2017. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Fact Sheet.


KEYWORDS: Lightweight Materials, New Materials, Missile Body, Composite Structures, Weight Optimized, Lightweight Structures 

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