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Remote Interrogator for Munition Recorder Instrument Packages (RIMRIP)

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Design, build, and test a system to remotely access and download munition test recorder data. DESCRIPTION: Considerable effort has been expended on trying to develop test instrumentation packages (including accelerometers, power sources, memory, and other electronics) that can withstand the severe mechanical shock loads that occur in field tests of munitions systems. However, current systems in use require the physical recovery and subsequent direct interface with the recorder packages in order to obtain usable test data. This is problematic for several reasons. Even minor deformation in the munition structure can make the removal and recovery of the instrument packages extremely difficult due to mechanical binding or failure of connections. The mechanical shock loads can introduce failures in the interface of the recorder package. The package must be recovered quickly (within the lifetime of the onboard battery system) for systems utilizing volatile memory. Compounding this problem is that the test articles often end up in situations where they are exposed to the environment for a considerable length of time, resulting in water or other damage and resulting in loss of data. Live tests using energetic materials also present a significant safety hazard, often preventing human manipulation of the test article and causing the data to be unrecoverable. With the large cost associated with field tests, use of recorders that require recovery introduces significant risk. However, the increasing availability of non-contact remote technologies for accessing system data, such as inductively- or capacitively-coupled datalinks, provides an attractive mechanism for mitigating this mission risk and providing a needed test capability. A system that remotely interrogates and securely downloads data from instrument packages would represent a significant improvement over the current systems and greatly reduce the mission risk for field tests. It is expected that the technical approach will consist of at least two main subsystems: a remote interrogation/downloading"base station"system and a data transceiver that is embedded in the test article(s). Thus, the objective of this SBIR is to identify novel concepts for a robust shock-hardened datalink to access and download data from fuze instrument packages embedded in munitions that can operate in difficult environments such as underwater or partially covered in dirt. The following features are required for a successful concept: (1) operation at greater than 50% maximum throughput when submerged in 5 feet of salt water; (2) operation with a minimum separation of 10 cm; (3) integrated, shock-survivable (to 20,000 g"s) power system with average sustained power requirements for the test article component of less than 100 W; (4) ability to transmit encrypted digital data for up to 10 minutes at greater than 50 kB/s and receive encrypted commands for up to 5 minutes at 10 kB/s; (5) test article external interface/features with a surface footprint of less than 25 x 25 mm^2 and a total test article volume of less than 10 cm^3; (6) error-checking on the data transmission; and (7) shock-hardened encryption hardware. The Phase I effort involves selecting a candidate scheme and developing the communications protocol. A limited amount of initial proof-of-concept testing is expected of critical components and subsystems, for example, characterization of the datalink properties while buried in dirt. PHASE I: 1) Design a secure datalink that can be used to remotely access data on fuze instrument packages. 2) Validate critical operational components/subsystems in laboratory brassboard/proof-of-concept testing. PHASE II: 1) Demonstrate the operation of the key components under severe mechanical loading. 2) Fabricate and test a full-scale prototype secure datalink. 3) Using available instrument packages, validate the system operation in wet and dusty environments. PHASE III: Develop commercially viable variant. Implement for dual-use applications, including crash testing. REFERENCES: 1. Munitions Directorate Homepage. 2. Military Handbook of Fuzes, MIL-HDBK-757(AR), 15 April 1994. (Public Releasable via USA Information Systems, Inc; www.usainfo.com, 757-491-7525).
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