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Advanced Battery Development and Integration for Airborne Platforms


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Network System-of-Systems; Advanced Materials; Microelectronics


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: The objective of this topic is to explore, develop, and employ advanced battery technologies with specific attributes, namely high energy density and adaptable power density, while maintaining low Size, Weight, Power Consumption, and Cost (SWaP-C) characteristics. The goal is to create highly versatile, stretchable, and shape-changing batteries suitable for use in Bomber aircraft, externally carried weaponry, and electronic equipment. These batteries must possess unique qualities, such as the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and fit securely into tight or irregular spaces without compromising safety.


DESCRIPTION: AFGSC aims to explore, develop, and employ advanced battery technologies with specific attributes. The focus is on achieving high energy density and adaptable power density while ensuring the batteries have low Size, Weight, Power Consumption and Cost (SWaP-C) characteristics. These batteries are envisioned to be highly versatile, stretchable, and shape-changing to suit their use in Bomber aircraft, as well as for internal and externally carried weaponry and electronic equipment.

AFGSC is actively involved in the research and development of various externally carried weapons and an externally carried pod designed to accommodate a diverse range of electronic equipment. Each of these applications demands batteries with unique qualities, as mentioned earlier. Critical features include the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and fit securely into tight or irregular spaces without the risk of fire, explosion, or adverse changes that could compromise the safety of the aircraft or the equipment.


PHASE I: The Phase 1 SBIR performance objectives involve a comprehensive evaluation of the scientific and technical feasibility of developing highly versatile, stretchable, and shape-changing batteries with specific characteristics for military applications. Extensive research will be conducted across various key areas to achieve the objectives. Researchers will explore advanced battery technologies, materials, and manufacturing techniques to identify options with high energy density, adaptable power density, and shape-changing capabilities, all while being cost-effective.


The focus will be on developing and optimizing battery components, such as cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, and separators, to enhance overall performance and achieve the desired high energy density and power density. Additionally, research will delve into new energy storage materials, including solid-state electrolytes and advanced nanomaterials, to push the boundaries of energy density and adaptability.

Innovative engineering and material science will play a crucial role in designing batteries that can stretch and change shape while maintaining performance and safety. This could involve using flexible substrates, new electrode designs, or stretchable materials to ensure secure fitting into tight or irregular spaces without compromising structural integrity. Furthermore, effective thermal management solutions will be developed to ensure battery performance and safety across a wide temperature range, vital for their use in bomber aircraft and weaponry.

Safety and reliability are of utmost importance, and the batteries will undergo rigorous testing and validation to ensure their ability to withstand harsh environments, shocks, vibrations, and other stresses without compromising overall safety. Additionally, engineers will focus on miniaturization and SWaP-C optimization to reduce weight and size while maintaining high energy density. Collaboration with relevant stakeholders will ensure seamless integration with existing aircraft and weaponry systems. Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing processes will also be explored to achieve mass production without sacrificing performance and cost targets. Compliance with military and aviation regulations and standards will be addressed, ensuring safety and performance requirements are met, and necessary certifications obtained for deployment. The Phase 1 SBIR will lay the foundation for a successful multidisciplinary approach in the development of advanced batteries, paving the way for Phase 2 SBIR and further advancement in military applications.



Expected Outcomes:

The Phase 2 SBIR project aims to deliver a matured battery technology with demonstrated performance and capabilities. The functional prototypes will showcase the batteries' potential for integration into military aircraft and weaponry systems. The research and testing conducted during this phase will provide essential data to address technical challenges, safety concerns, and regulatory requirements. Additionally, the project will explore pathways for commercialization, increasing the impact of the technology beyond defense applications.


The ultimate goal of this Phase 2 SBIR is to pave the way for the practical deployment of these advanced batteries in military operations, enhancing the capabilities of bomber aircraft, weaponry, and electronic equipment. The successful completion of this project will contribute to strengthening the technological edge of the United States Air Force and furthering innovation in the field of energy storage for military and civilian applications.



The Phase 2 SBIR will focus on advancing the research and development efforts initiated in Phase 1, aiming to mature the battery technology to a level where it can be transitioned into practical applications. The objective is to create highly innovative batteries that meet the stringent requirements of bomber aircraft, externally carried weaponry, and electronic equipment in terms of performance, reliability, and adaptability.



Technology Refinement: Researchers will refine and optimize battery technologies, which may include battery chemistry, materials, and manufacturing processes, to enhance energy density, power density, and shape-changing capabilities.


Prototype Development: Building upon the research conducted in Phase 1, the team will develop functional prototypes of the batteries to demonstrate their performance and functionality under real-world conditions.


Performance Testing: Rigorous testing and evaluation will be conducted on the prototypes to assess their safety, reliability, and performance across a wide temperature range and in various environmental conditions and physical shapes.


Miniaturization and Integration: Engineers will further optimize the battery designs that may accomplish milestones such as reducing their SWaP-C footprint, ensuring seamless integration into tight spaces in military aircraft and weaponry.


Scalable Manufacturing: When possible, the focus will be on developing scalable and cost-effective manufacturing processes to enable mass production without compromising on performance and cost targets.


Compliance and Certification: Regulatory compliance with military and aviation standards will be ensured, including things such as obtaining necessary certifications for deployment in military equipment.

Collaboration and Funding: Collaboration will continue among the necessary parties such as the research team, government agencies, defense contractors, and academic partners to pool expertise and resources for successful battery development.


Market Analysis and Commercialization: A comprehensive market analysis will be conducted to identify potential applications beyond military use, exploring commercialization opportunities for the developed battery technology.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The Phase III effort for this project aims to transition the highly versatile, stretchable, and shape-changing batteries from the SBIR/STTR-funded R&D phase to practical applications in both Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial domains. The primary goal of Phase III is to achieve technology maturation and commercialization, ensuring widespread adoption and integration into various military and civilian platforms.


Expected TRL at Phase III Entry:

At the Phase III entry, the battery technology is expected to be at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7 or higher. This indicates that the technology has been demonstrated in an operational environment and is ready for integration into relevant systems and platforms.


Transition Planning and Government Approvals:

Transition planning in Phase III will involve close collaboration between partners such as the research team, government agencies, defense contractors, and potential commercial partners. The primary focus will be on the following aspects:


Validation and Certification: The battery technology will undergo rigorous validation and certification processes to meet all requisite standards including the necessary military and aviation standards required for deployment in DoD applications.


Market Analysis and Commercialization: Further market analysis will be conducted to identify additional commercial opportunities and potential applications outside the DoD domain. Commercialization strategies will be developed to maximize the technology's impact in the commercial market and ensure long-term viability.


Intellectual Property (IP) Protection: Appropriate steps will be taken to protect the intellectual property generated during the R&D phase, ensuring that the technology remains secure and proprietary.

Funding and Investment: Secure funding from non-SBIR/STTR sources will be sought to support the scale-up, production, and commercialization of the batteries. This may involve collaborations with venture capitalists, industry partners, and private investors.


Technology Integration: Consideration will be given towards integrating the batteries into various military platforms, such as bomber aircraft, externally carried weaponry, off-board pods, and electronic equipment, through partnerships with relevant defense contractors and DoD agencies.


Additional DAF Customer Opportunities:

Beyond the initial DoD applications, the Phase III effort will explore additional opportunities within the Defense Acquisition Framework (DAF) customer landscape. This may include engagements with other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, government agencies, and allied defense organizations that can benefit from the advanced battery technology


Overall, the Phase III effort will focus on successfully transitioning the battery technology from the SBIR/STTR-funded R&D phase to commercial applications, further enhancing the capabilities of military platforms and fostering innovation in the energy storage sector. Through effective transition planning and collaboration with industry partners, the technology is poised to have a significant impact on both defense and civilian sectors, contributing to the technological advancement and competitiveness of the United States.



  1. 1. MIL-STD-1760;


KEYWORDS: Batteries; Stretchable; Shape-changing; Energy Density; Power Density; SWaP-C; Battery Chemistries; Energy Storage; Solid-State Electrolytes; Nanomaterials; Innovative Engineering; Material Science; Thermal Management; Battery Safety; Reliability; Miniaturization; Integration; Manufacturing.

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