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Innovation in High Temperature Resistant Thermal Protection System (TPS) Materials, Manufacturing, and Resilient Supply Chains for Hypersonics TPS and Related Defense Applications


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Hypersonics; 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 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: High temperature resistant Thermal Protection System (TPS) materials and structures, including their means of supply, are critical to the success of new hypersonic weapons and related U.S. defense modernization priorities. Key to their success is increased domestic production capacity, affordability, and supply chain resiliency. Hypersonics TPS applications of particular interest include boost glide vehicle acerage, leading edge, nosetip, and control surfaces as well as similar materials and supply chains of importance to the production rocket motors and other re-entry systems. Supply chain resisancy concerns include foreign reliance, single point of failure supply, obsolesence, long-lead times, and low manufacturing yields). The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) seeks to provide responsive, best value supplies of related materials consistently to our Department of Defense (DoD) customers and other DoD stakeholders. DLA continually investigates diverse technologies for new or improved materials, more efficient means of their production, and more competitive domestic supply chains which would lead to the higher levels of innovation in current and future weapon systems combined with benefits to other commercial and government technology applications. Advanced technology demonstrations for increasing production capacity, affordability and supply chain resiliency for high temperature resistant TPS and related materials and processing are of high interest to DoD. These areas of materials and manufacturing technologies provide potential opportunities toward achieving breakthrough advances for national defense. Proposed efforts funded under this topic may encompass diverse TPS materials and processing at any level that will result in increasing production capacity, affordablity, and supply chain resiliency. Research and Development (R&D) 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 and/or Manufacturing Readiness Level (TRL/MRL) 6 or less, but greater than TRL/MRL 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) DESCRIPTION: DLA R&D is looking for domestic capabilities and capacity that demonstrates new or improved high temperature resistant TPS materials, processing, and supply chains that increase domestic defense industrial base production capacity, affordability, and supply chain resiliency for hypersonic systems and other defense programs that depend on similar materials (e.g., other conventional weapons, strategic programs, and space systems). R&D tasks include identifying, developing, and demonstrating new and/or improved high temperature resistant TPS materials and production processes that support this topic area’s objecitives for increasing production capacity, affordablity, and supply chain resilieancy. Related areas of interest include materials, processing and fabrication of TPS components and structures as well as their various consitutent materials and processes (e.g., fiber reinforcements and their precursors, woven textiles and complex preforms, matrix precursors and prepreg, rapid densificiation, heat treating, additive manufacturing, production automation of weaving and prepreg application, and oxidation resistant coatings). PHASE I: PHASE I: Not to exceed a duration of 6 months and cost of $100,000. Determine, insofar as possible, the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of the TPS concept. Include a plan to demonstrate the innovative TPS materials process and/or discrete TPS parts or structures manufacturing and address implementation approaches for near term insertion into the manufacturing of relavant DoD hypersonic systems and/or related subsystems, components, parts, or related material supply chains. Collboration with a qualifying Research Institution (RI) is required for Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects. Collboartion with a relavant DoD Component organzation (e.g., DoD lab and/or defense system program office) and one or more relavant DoD weapon system supply chain participants or other suitable organization is highly desirable. PHASE II: Not to exceed a duration of 24 months and cost of $1,000,000. The expectation is to develop a solution to the System/Subsystem Model or Prototype Demonstration in a Relevant Environment level, (TRL 6). Validate the feasibility of the innovative process by demonstrating its use in the production, testing, and integration of items, and/or materials and processes, for DLA and key DoD stakeholders. Validation would include, but is 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 DoD 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 DoD and its supply chains PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: TPS technology transition via successful demonstration of a new material, processing or fabriaction technology. This demonstration should show near-term TPS application to one or more DoD systems, subsystems, components, or their related material supply chains. This demonstration should also verify the potential for enhancement of increased TPS producton capacity, affordablity, and supply chain resilancy. Private Sector Commercial Potential: TPS materials and manufacturing improvements, including development of domestic manufacturing capabilities, increased capacity, and affordability, have a direct applicability to diverse defense system technologies. Material manufacturing technologies, processes, and systems have wide applicability to the defense industry including air, ground, sea, space, and related defense technologies. Competitive material manufacturing improvements should have leverage into private sector industries as well as civilian sector relevance. Advancements in high temperature resistant materials, processing, and supply chain resiliency will benefit the defense industrial base and key weapon systement development, production, and sustainablity, as well as afford spin-off opportunities to civilian and other commercial sectors that depend on associated technogies and their innovatoins. REFERENCES: 1. Affordable Hypersonic Missiles for Long-Range Precision Strike 2. Increasing Production Is Important for Hypersonics, Defense Official Says: KEYWORDS: Hypersonics, Thermal Protection Systems (TPS), aeroshell, leading edge, control surfaces, nose tips, high temperature resistant materials (e.g., carbon/carbon, ceramics, ablative phenolics, composites, metals and alloys); materials and processing (e.g., fiber reinforcement, matrix precursors, woven textiles and preforms, prepreg, rapid densificiation, heat treating, additive manufacturing, manufacturing automation, and oxidation resistant coatings); and structures fabrication.
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