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Structural Nuclear Effect Mitigation of Composite Aeroshells for Munitions for Air Platforms and Cruise Missile Systems


OBJECTIVE: Development, scale-up, and demonstration of munition relevant composite structural aeroshell materials designed to provide protection from nuclear EMP and nuclear particle effects. 

DESCRIPTION: New material concepts are required for structurally nuclear electromagnetic pulse and high energy nuclear particle protection for organic matrix composites. Nuclear particles for the purpose of this topic are defined as hot and cold x-rays, gamma rays, and neutrons. Materials submitted for consideration should be specifically designed for use on composite munition systems. Methods for incorporating the proposed materials into standard manufacturing processes such as braiding on a mandrel must be addressed. Protection materials must be incorporated into the structural buildup, not secondary applied or require additional non-standard manufacturing processes to fabricate. New systems will require compliance with MIL-STDs, including 461, 464, and 3023, to meet the ever-changing mission environment. The metrics defined in the unclassified portion of the listed MIL-STDs will be used as evaluation criteria for the Phase I. Proposals to this topic must address the gaps in current composite materials’ ability to meet requirements such as those in the MIL-STDs list above. Relevant testing methods and techniques can be found in the "The Nuclear Matters Handbook, Expanded Edition" Appendix G4.1.[3] Proposed performance claims must be accompanied with supporting information or citation of available open literature or DTIC references. Materials proposed must be shown to be producible in large quantities, affordable, maintainable, and sustainable. Transition plans should include detailed discussion of material integration methods, cost relative to baseline materials, and maintainability/sustainability. Coordination with prime vendors and letters of support demonstrating the proposed transition pathway is highly encouraged. In this effort the composite must simultaneously provide protection from nuclear events while maintaining a weight near that of current composite material. Materials solution which add greater than 20% weight by volume over baseline composites are not acceptable. 

PHASE I: Propose, develop, and demonstrate flat coupons of scientifically relevant size (12 in. x 12 in. min.) to measure the performance of the composites under neutron, hot and cold x-rays. A design of experiments with specific materials and layups should be proposed, not just a review of the literature. 

PHASE II: Build and demonstrate complex shapes of scientifically relevant size, in representative configurations, to measure the performance of the composites under neutron, hot and cold x-rays. Material should be a down selection from the design of experiment in Phase I. Specific platform based guidance and geometry will be provided in Phase II by the government. 

PHASE III: Demonstrate the materials from the Phase II in a relevant environment and work with appropriate program office for transition and ground based simulated flight testing. Potential dual-use applications include shielding aircraft and spacecraft from cosmic radiation and electromagnetic environments. 


1: MIL-STD-464:

2:  NNSA Document R005, "New Material and Stockpile Evaluation Program," Issue B1, Jul 2016.

3:  MIL-HDBK-1783, "Engine Structural Integrity Program (ENSIP)," 22 Sep 2004

4:  MIL-HDBK-1798, "Mechanical Equipment and Systems Integrity Program (MECSIP)," 24 Sep 2001

KEYWORDS: Hardening Technologies For Air Platforms And Cruise Missile Systems 


Garth Wilks 

(937) 255-5007 

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