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SUBSAFE Electrical Hull Penetrator Connectors for Directed Energy (DE) Weapon Systems


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, 

OBJECTIVE: Develop submarine SUBSAFE electrical hull penetrators and connectors that can transfer high currents or high voltages in the order of 100’s of kW through the submarine's pressure hull. 

DESCRIPTION: The Navy seeks technologies for transmitting high electrical power required for operating Directed Energy (DE) weapon systems from inboard the submarine to an outboard DE system, submersible platform, special operation, etc. The technology must address the capability to transfer high electrical power safely from inboard submarine to a DE subsystem or beam director located on an outboard platform through the hull-penetrating path. In the case of all electrical hull penetrators, the solution needs to address high-power electrical cables and appropriate connectors that can carry high electrical power (greater than 500kW of electrical power) over long distances (greater than 30 ft.) with low ohmic or impedance loss. The electrical cable shall also include additional shielding to minimize EMI. Consideration must be given to the overall system approach and operational aspects of the systems. Ideally, DE systems would require hull penetrations for the high electrical power required for operating a High Energy Laser (HEL) subsystem and low electrical power required for operating a beam director or other auxiliary subsystems within a DE system. The guideline for total electrical power is approximately 300 kW with potential roadmap to greater than 500 kW potential growth. The solution of the electrical hull penetrator shall be based on current hull penetrator configurations (3 hull penetrators per Universal Modular Mass (UMM)), where one or all three current hull penetrators are used for off board high-power DE systems operation or for other submersible platform and any sensor connection, as required. The electrical hull penetrator shall address affordability because it is a very cost-effective way to get high power outboard from inboard submarine electrical systems. Currently, the Navy needs to tow the generator to support a similar system. Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been be implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract. 

PHASE I: Develop a concept for a hull penetrator to transmit kW class of electrical power from the inboard DE system to an outboard HEL subsystem or high energy DE to beam director system. Ensure that the concept includes electrical feed technology in the marine environment that provide realistic energy levels from 300 kW to 600 kW electrical energy required in order to operate an approximately 100 kW to 200kW class outboard high energy HEL system with >30% electrical to optical efficiency. Ensure that the hull penetrator design meets Navy SUBSAFE qualification requirements and uses Model Base Engineering (MBE) approach. Demonstrate feasibility by some combination of analysis, modelling and simulation. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities in preparation for prototype development and demonstration in Phase II. 

PHASE II: Design and develop a lab prototype that incorporates power-transmitting capability from inboard to outboard Navy systems and can be tested in a representative undersea environment. Include in the design the maintainability and workability of the Hull Penetrator Insert under a marine environment. Conduct a demonstration of the design and a verification test at a Navy facility to verify that key system performance specifications are met. Outline the plan to fabricate an initial field prototype system using model base engineering (MBE) that can be easily integrated and tested on a representative submarine environment. Develop a Phase III plan. It is probable that the work under this effort will be ITA restricted under Phase II (see Description section for details). 

PHASE III: In Phase III, the company support the Navy or DoD contractor in transitioning the technology for manufacturing of Electrical insert for Hull Penetrator. As a dual application, this technology can be also be used in commercial industry for oil platform, under water high electrical power to perform number of innovative commercial and academic research. This technology can also be very useful to use safely high electrical power in humid or wet condition for dual use applications. 


1. “Military Specification for Connectors, Electrical, Deep Submergence, Submarine (MIL-C-24217).”

KEYWORDS: Submarine Systems; Hull Penetrator; High Energy Laser (HEL); Submarine Safety; SUBSAFE; Universal Modular Mass (UMM); Model Base Engineering (MBE) 

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