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Innovative Technologies for Miniaturized Affordable Battlefield Hardened Proximity Sensor


OBJECTIVE: This SBIR will develop innovative, miniaturized, robust and cost effective alternative technologies for the next generation proximity sensor used in Height of Burst (HOB) munitions. DESCRIPTION: Height of Burst (HoB) Fuzing technology (aka proximity sensor) is used in modern fuze design to increase the lethality of a weapon system against area targets (e.g. troops in the open, light skinned vehicles) by detonating its munition at a predetermined distance from the target rather than allowing the munition to impact the target before initiation. Next generation end-game proximity sensors will enable smaller, more precise weapons to be effective on the battlefield while minimizing collateral damage and maximizing effectiveness on targets. Technologies must operate in complex terrain in a battlefield increasingly rich with intentional and unintentional electromagnetic interference. The challenge is to develop and integrate these technologies and package them within a very small volume in a way that is affordable and will operate within the weapon environment. Existing and planned technologies could be susceptible to certain electronic countermeasures and the harsh environment of gun launch. They are also relatively large in scale with respect to other ammunition electronics, taking up valuable space that could be allocated to explosives or reducing the weight of the munition. The proposed solution must include the entire sensor from the receiver through the emitter and the processing electronics, and must consider the potential for broad application (multiple platforms) by keeping the functionality as generic as possible. Maintaining generic functionality and including protection of programmable devices reduces the likelihood of reverse engineering that can compromise HOB technology. This SBIR will compliment the maturation and development of the next generation of miniature proximity sensors by offering different and unique potential solutions. The solution must demonstrate the required capabilities at a cost less than or comparable to existing technology for mortars and artillery, and must be capable of withstanding gun launch shock environments for munitions ranging from Artillery to medium caliber applications as well as maintaining performance across a -55 degrees C to +85 degrees C temperature range. The requirement is for a small form-factor (less than 1/2 cubic inch) to fit within existing weapon systems. PHASE I: Develop an innovative conceptual solution or solutions that address the requirements of the next generation proximity sensor while minimizing cost, size, weight and power. Deliver an engineering study that identifies the key component or components that will be demonstrated in Phase II, and technical risks associated. Specific next generation proximity sensor requirements will be provided upon contract award. PHASE II: Design and fabricate prototypes of the key component or components defined in Phase I and demonstrate that they meet performance requirements. A cost analysis will also be delivered to estimate unit production costs of the components. An engineering study will also be delivered to define how the developed technology will be integrated into current and planned future ammunition systems. PHASE III: Assuming success, this technology could be used in existing and planned future proximity fuze applications, either as a pre-planned product improvement or insertion into development efforts. The technology will enable a new generation of precision proximity sensors to be deployed on a wide range of weapons. Commercial applications for the technology could include automotive proximity sensing, RFID, intrusion sensing and other RF sensors. REFERENCES: The below references are available on the DTIC website. 1. Technology Trends in Fuze and Munitions Power Sources; 19 May 2010; Oliver Barham 2. Course Correction Fuzes Integration Technologies; Presented at the 55th Annual Fuze Conference; 24-26 May, 2011; Max Perrin 3. Multi-Option Fuze for Artillery (MOFA)Using Risk Mitigation Process to Develop and Implement Automation and Automation; Presented at 48th Annual NDIA Fuze Conference; 28 April 2004; Todd Anderson 4. Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) Safe & Arm Device and Height-of-Burst Sensor, NDIA Fuze Conference 9 April, 2003, Robert Hertlein & Mark Miner
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