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Hard Armor Ballistic Plate Boron Carbon (B4C) Recovery and Reclamation




The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), seeks to develop the capability to recover boron carbon (B4C) from the hard armor ballistic plates used throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD develops and fields innovative Soldier protection equipment, functional uniforms and individual equipment that enhance mission effectiveness. As part of this, advanced technology demonstrations for enhancing affordability and development of advanced industrial practices the combination of improved discrete-parts recycling, manufacturing and improved business methods are of interest. All these areas of recycling and manufacturing technologies provide potential avenues toward achieving breakthrough advances. Proposed efforts funded under this topic may encompass any specific discrete-parts or materials recycling, manufacturing, or processing technology at any level resulting in a unit cost reduction.

Research and Development efforts selected under this topic shall demonstrate and involve a degree of risk where the technical feasibility of the proposed work has not been fully established. Further, proposed efforts must be judged to be at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or less, but greater than TRL 3 to receive funding consideration.

TRL 3. (Analytical and Experimental Critical Function and/or Characteristic Proof of Concept)

TRL 6. (System/Subsystem Model or Prototype Demonstration in a Relevant Environment)


DLA R&D is looking for a domestic capability that demonstrates the capability to recover boron carbon (B4C) from the hard armor ballistic plates used throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). Currently the DoD sends defective and unserviceable hard armor ballistic plates to the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services for demilitarization (DEMIL), and thus renders those plates to an unusable state. Recovery of raw materials from these DEMIL plates could reduce the amount of boron carbon mined and refined; there is limited domestic production of these materials and therefore a risk of foreign reliance. The goal is to recover B4C, at a suitable purity level, suitable to be placed into strategic stockpiles to be held, and in a form that it could reintroduced into manufacturing at a later point in time. Developing an economically viable, environmentally friendly process for recycling of hard armor ballistic plates from the existing scrap armor feedstock could facilitate the establishment of a viable, competitive domestic supply chain. If this produces a viable reclamation methodology and sustainable process it may lead to follow-on efforts at the discretion of the US Government.

R&D tasks include identifying potential additional feedstock sources in the existing supply chain and developing processes for hard armor plates recycling. The process should be amenable to the scale of operation required in hard armor manufacturing, and will improve the economics of hard armor plates from recovered material for reuse, rather than depend on foreign reliance.

Determine, insofar as possible, the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of the concept. Include a plan to demonstrate the innovative recycling process and address implementation approaches for near term insertion into the manufacture of Department of Defense (DoD) systems, subsystems, components, or parts.


  • Phase I: NTE 12 Months $150K- Base NTE $100K base 6 Months, - Option 1 NTE $50K base 6 Months
  • PHASE II: Phase II - NTE 24 Months $1.6M - Base 12-18 months, $1M Option 6 Months NTE $.6M


Develop applicable and feasible process demonstration for the approach described, and demonstrate a degree of commercial viability.


Validate the feasibility of the innovative process by demonstrating its use in the production, testing, and integration of items for PM SSV. Validation would include, but not be limited to, prototype quantities, data analysis, laboratory tests, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration system. A partnership with a current or potential supplier to PM SSV, DLA, OEM, or other suitable partner is highly desirable. Identify commercial benefit or application opportunities of the innovation. Innovative processes should be developed with the intent to readily transition to production in support of PM SSV and its supply chains.


: Technology transition via successful demonstration of a new process technology. This demonstration should show near-term application to one or more Department of Defense systems, subsystems, or components. This demonstration should also verify the potential for enhancement of quality, reliability, performance and/or reduction of unit cost or total ownership cost of the proposed subject. Private Sector Commercial Potential: Material manufacturing improvements, including development of domestic manufacturing capabilities, have a direct applicability to all defense system technologies. Material manufacturing technologies, processes, and systems have wide applicability to the defense industry including air, ground, sea, and weapons technologies. Competitive material manufacturing improvements should have leverage into private sector industries as well as civilian sector relevance. Many of the technologies under this topic would be directly applicable to other DoD agencies, NASA, and any commercial manufacturing venue. Advanced technologies for material manufacturing would directly improve production in the commercial sector resulting in reduced cost and improved productivity.

KEYWORDS: Hard Armor Ballistic Plate Boron Carbon (B4C) Recovery and Reclamation





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