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DACS COPV Helium Pressurant Measurement


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Mission Readiness &Disaster Preparedness;


OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate an accurate and effective means of measuring the pressure in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV).


DESCRIPTION: The THAAD DACS COPV is pressurized with helium during assembly.  The THAAD Missile Product Office (THR) is seeking a precise, non-invasive, non-destructive means of verifying the integrity of the COPV by measuring the pressure within the COPV upon DACS installation and whenever MRs are returned for Stockpile Reliability Testing (SRT).


PHASE I: Phase I-like proposals will not be evaluated and will be rejected as nonresponsive.  For this topic, the Government expects the small business would have accomplished the following in a Phase I-like effort via some other means, e.g., independent research and development (IRAD) or other source, a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic capabilities of the stated objective above.  Proposal must show, as appropriate, a demonstrated technical feasibility or nascent capability.  The documentation provided must substantiate the proposer’s development of a preliminary understanding of the technology to be applied in their Phase II proposal in meeting topic objectives.  Documentation should comprise all relevant information including but not limited to, technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.  Feasibility = maturity and what have you already done/validated.  


Proposers interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their responses to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met.  (i.e., the small business must have performed a proof of concept like “Phase I” component and/or other validation in a relevant environment, and/or at a much higher TRL level (5 or higher) and describe the potential commercialization applications.  The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology in previous work or research completed.) 


IRAD work, previous Phase I/Phase II work:  Documentation should include the most relevant information including, but not limited to:  technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and/or performance goals/results.  Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the proposer and/or the principal investigator (PI).


PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate an accurate and effective means of measuring the pressure in the THAAD DACS COPV.  The means of measuring pressure must be non-destructive and non-invasive to the DACS system and capable of being used without removal of the COPV from the DACS, or removal of the DACS from the MR.  The method of measurement should be capable of measuring the pressure initially put into the COPV when filled with helium (pre-MR assembly) and capable of measuring the pressure within the COPV during MR SRT, or other post-production activity.  The means of measurement should not result in the loss of helium from the COPV and should be precise enough to determine the capability of the COPV to provide pressurant to support a worst-case THAAD Missile engagement.  The method of measurement should be demonstrated within the THAAD DACS assembly facility and the THAAD test area used for SRT.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This concept has the potential for applicability to other types (i.e. other than helium) of pressurant systems. The concept could also be developed for application to other Government programs.



  1. Hongliang Zhou, Weibin Lin, Xiaocheng Ge, and Jian Zhou, "A Non-Intrusive Pressure Sensor by Detecting Multiple Longitudinal Waves" 5 August 2016
  2. Prof. Ahmet Can Sabuncu, Mr. Mengqiao Yang, Prof. John M Sullivan Jr, "BYOE: Determining Pressure inside Thin Walled Vessels using Strain Measurements" June 2020


KEYWORDS: COPV; DACS; pressurant; pressure; helium

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