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Reduction of Solid Propellant Infrared (IR) Signature


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Ground Sea, Weapons, Battlespace


Develop a solid propellant that greatly reduces the exhaust IR signature emitted while maintaining the thrust to mass ratio of the existing solid propellant.


This topic seeks to develop solid propellants that exhibit reduced IR signatures while maintaining thrust to mass ratio performance. Detection of missile launch and booster burnout are important threat identification points. Since remote IR surveillance is often used to detect and track missile launches, the ability to avoid detection through IR signature reduction would be beneficial for mobile defense platforms as well as forward deployed offensive assets.


Develop a proof of concept solid rocket motor propellant that greatly reduces the exhaust IR signature. Perform an analysis to demonstrate the concept and an initial understanding of the signature calculations while maintaining the thrust to mass ratio. Phase I should be a feasibility concept study that supports the proposed design solution and down selection of alternatives.


Enhance and refine the proposed propellant based on the results and findings of Phase I and expand its capabilities. Validate the feasibility of the Phase I concept by development and demonstrations that will be tested to ensure performance objectives are met. The Phase II effort should result in a prototype with substantial commercialization potential.


Productize the propellant to expand the capabilities to other interested users. Develop and execute a Phase III incremental test & integration plan that produces a final prototype.

KEYWORDS: Solid Propellant, Reduced IR Signature, maintain thrust to mass ratio


1. M. Keith Hudson, Robert B. Shanks, Dallas H. Snider, Diana M. Lindquist, Chris Luchini, and Sterling Rooke, UV, Visible, and Infrared Spectral Emissions in Hybrid Rocket Plumes, Department of Applied Science, Univ of Ark at Little Rock.

2. Advisory Group for Aerospace Research & Development, Advisory Report 287, Terminology and Assessment Methods of Solid Propellant Rocket Exhaust Signatures, February 1993.

3. Sam Judd, Matthew Vernacchia, Solid Rocket Propellant Combustion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

4. R.C. Farmer, S.D. Smith, B.L. Myruski,Radiation from Advanced Solid Rocket Motor Plumes, SECA-FR-94-18, NASA.

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