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Modeling High Explosive (HE) Detonation Response and Resulting Debris/Shrapnel Generation from Submunitions Warheads


OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative, low cost, approach to testing and modeling the HE submunition warhead response for hit-to-kill missile interceptors leveraging first-principle physics methodologies. Modeling of the high and low order HE response should be addressed to assess detonation probability. The selected approach must address HE response to the kinetic energy intercept as well as the material fragmentation. Post-intercept debris generation characteristics (mass, shape, velocity) must also be captured. The methodology employed must be capable of receiving detailed target and penetrator / interceptor models and returning each fragment's geometry, fragment velocity and mass information. DESCRIPTION: A primary kill mechanism for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) systems against weapons carrying high explosives is the detonation of the explosive. Many warhead types have been analyzed and modeled using first-principle techniques, however determining the full spectrum of possible responses of HE submuntions / weapons is poorly understood. Experimental test data that captures the various types of response is very limited or not found in existing databases. Submunition warheads present a challenge to penetrator/interceptors due to packaging, compartmentalized nature of individual warheads,hardened casings and material construction design techniques. Hit-to-kill BMD systems (AEGIS, THAAD, PAC-3, GMD) have steadily increased their use of high fidelity modeling techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of their systems for predicting shock-to-detonation (STD) phenomena. The current modeling capability does not fully cover reactive events of non-STD nature for threat-relevant submunition warheads. MDA desires a tool to better model HE responses such as unknown-to-detonation (XDT) and deflagration-to-detonation (DDT) events. Physics-based simulation outputs should include lethality estimates (per submunition warhead) and post-intercept debris predictions. This first-principles modeling capability would provide enhancements to the MDA lethality models (KIDD and PEELS) to better capture the range of HE detonation reactions and resulting debris. The modeling techniques and software tools developed under this program must be sufficiently anchored to relevant test data. PHASE I: Develop an approach for modeling hyper-velocity intercepts of HE submunition warheads that leverages first-principle physics modeling techniques. Conduct sample calculations using representative (simplified) geometries. Develop a plan for a low cost and innovative HE testing approach. Research existing test data that can be utilized for benchmarking of the simulation methodology and begin to identify innovative tests and data collection to fill gaps in the existing data set. PHASE II: Further develop techniques within the first-principle codes to enable modeling of the required phenomenology. Anchor the code predictions to existing test data and refine the model as needed. Begin extension of the modeling capability to threat-representative geometries for both unitary submunition warheads and full payload geometries. Plan and execute new tests to define HE reactions and submunition warhead geometries as needed to fill gaps. PHASE III: Transition the first-principle physics-based modeling capability developed under this program to MDA lethality and debris prediction tools (e.g. PEELS and KIDD, respectively). Simplification of the techniques developed here is necessary to support fast-running engineering codes. COMMERCIALIZATION: This technology would benefit Insensitive Munitions testing of reactive materials (HE and propellants) and other DoD weapon program modeling and simulation. EOD and safety transport and disposal of munitions and other explosives could leverage this information to better perform these missions.
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