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Tungsten 3% Rhenium wire manufacturing


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: Develop tungsten 3% rhenium wire manufacturing capability using existing feedstock owned by DLA. DESCRIPTION: The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is looking for a domestic capability to manufacture tungsten 3% rhenium wire. Global Tungsten and Powders (GTP), a subsidiary of the Plansee Group, discontinued the manufacture of its tungsten and rhenium wire products in February 2013. Specifically, tungsten 3% rhenium wire is used in multiple vacuum electronic devices (VEDs) that support Department of Defense requirements. Traveling wave tubes (TWTs) make up the largest population of VEDs that use tungsten 3% rhenium wire. TWTs are used as RF amplifiers in radar, electronic warfare, communications, and other military systems. A Title III program was initiated in late 2013 with the goal of establishing a new US source to replace GTP as a tungsten 3% rhenium wire supplier. As of the end of fiscal year 2021, this program has been unsuccessful achieving the end goal of creating split free tungsten rhenium wire in the sizes required to meet all DoD applications. During the time the program was in operation GTP manufactured tungsten rhenium wire ingots to be used as feedstock for the tungsten rhenium wire manufacturing process. The Defense Logistics Agency owns a significant amount of this feedstock. DLA is looking to execute an SBIR program to attempt to analyze a way forward in supporting the manufacturing of tungsten 3% rhenium wire in the United States. PROJECT DURATION and COST: PHASE I: NTE 6 Months $100K PHASE II: NTE 24 Months $1.6M PHASE I: The research and development goals of Phase I are to provide eligible Small Business firms the opportunity to successfully demonstrate the viability of manufacturing tungsten 3% rhenium wire from feedstock ingots manufactured by GTP and provided as government furnished material (GFM) once the project is awarded. The vendor will analyze the provided ingot and develop plans and processes to use this ingot as starting material for manufacturing process. The main effort will be to conduct preliminary studies to propose details of manufacture of tungsten 3% wire, showing feasibility and benefit to the Department of Defense. A plan to demonstrate the manufacture of tungsten 3% rhenium wire and address implementation approaches for near term insertion into Department of Defense (DoD) systems, subsystems, components, or parts will be included in the Phase I effort. Relationships with potential customers and systems integrators will be established to aid in component identification, guide design efforts, and support the impact and insertion analyses. The deliverables for this project will include a final report describing the results from these analyses. PHASE II: Based on the results of PHASE I, the research and development goals of PHASE II will demonstrate commercial viability by successfully producing multiple diameters of tungsten 3% rhenium wire. Tasks to be accomplished include process design, development of wire drawing schedules to manage the manufacturing process and meet the wire specifications provided by the VED industrial base. These processes will be used to produce the target wire sizes. Sufficient validation trials will be conducted to support analyses of manufacturing at commercial scale, including cost, cycle time and commercial benefit of the innovation. Remaining technical gaps will be identified. Manufactured wire shall be used for eddy current testing. Innovative processes should be developed with the intent to readily transition to production in support of DoD needs. A partnership with a current or potential DoD supplier, OEM, or another suitable partner is highly desirable. Phase III: Phase III is any proposal that “Derives From”, “Extends” or Completes a transition from a Phase I or II project. Phase III proposals will be accepted after the completion of Phase I and or Phase II projects. There is no specific funding associated with Phase III, except Phase III is not allowed to use SBIR/STTR coded funding. Any other type of funding is allowed. Dual Use Applications: Progress documented from PHASE I and PHASE II should result in a vendor’s qualification as an approved source for tungsten 3% rhenium wire manufacturing for civil or commercial applications, enabling participation in future procurements. Phase III proposal Submission. Phase III proposals are emailed directly to DLA The PMO team will set up evaluations and coordinate the funding and contracting actions depending on the outcome of the evaluations. A Phase III proposal should follow the same format as Phase II for the content, and format. There are, however, no limitations to the amount of funding requested, or the period of performance. All other guidelines apply. COMMERCIALIZATION: The vendor will pursue commercialization of the tungsten 3% rhenium wire developed in prior phases, as well as potential commercial sales of any parts or other items. REFERENCES: 1. 2. 2015 Strategic and Critical Materials Report on Stockpile Requirements 3. National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2014
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