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Lightweight Structures for Future Interceptors


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials, Weapons 

OBJECTIVE: Develop lightweight structural components for future missile defense interceptors and/or kill vehicles. 

DESCRIPTION: The government is exploring alternative architectures that require small and lightweight interceptors and kill vehicles. These interceptors and kill vehicles may be similar to tactical missiles, ranging between 5 to 10 inches in diameter. This interceptor architecture is only conceptual at the time of this topic but will require significant reduction of inert mass as innovative lightweight structures will be critical to achieve the anticipated performance. These small interceptors will need to operate through a range of environmental conditions (temperature, shock, and vibration). Proposers should focus on component technologies such as seeker baffles, bulkheads, protective coverings, shielding, interfaces, deployment systems, separation systems, or housing structures of electronic components. Components should be manufactured with materials that possess high specific modulus and/or specific strength. This can be achieved with novel materials and/or manufacturing processes. Proposers should estimate the performance improvements of their technology and compare to the state-of-the-art. Proposed solutions should be sensitive to cost while providing high reliability. 

PHASE I: Conduct trade studies, preliminary designs, experiments, modeling, and/or analytical efforts that demonstrate feasibility of the technology innovation. Identify component technology to advance beyond the state of the art. Provide technical and programmatic risks associated with the component technology. Fabricate and test appropriate parameters to generate a limited statistical analysis. Identify a technology transition partner. 

PHASE II: Build a prototype demonstrating that the proposed design represents a feasible approach. Work with a technology transition partner to identity insertion opportunities. The proposer should document and provide a lessons learned summary about the results and a manufacturing tolerance study. Conduct statistical analysis where applicable to the project. 

PHASE III: Develop and execute a plan to manufacture components developed in Phase II, and transition this technology to the appropriate technology transition partner(s) for supplemental engineering, integration, and testing. 


1: 1194. MIL-HDBK-5G. "Metallic Materials and Elements for Aerospace Vehicle Structures."

2:  D. Gay, V. Suong. 2007. Composite Materials - Design and Applications (2nd Edition). Taylor & Francis.

3:  2010. Metallic Materials Properties Development and Standardization (MMPDS-05). Battelle Memorial Institute.

KEYWORDS: Composites, Structures, Metals, Honeycomb, Manufacturing, Fiber, Shielding, Missiles 


Mark Glenn 

(256) 450-2827 

Kevin Krueger 

(256) 955-4136 

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