TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform
OBJECTIVE: Develop a cluster payload which can be launched and deployed from a GMLRS or ATACMS platform. The payload shall consist of multiple deployable smart quad-copters capable of delivering small explosively formed penetrators (EFP) to designated targets.
DESCRIPTION: The US Army has a desire for a missile launched payload consisting of multiple quad-copters. The missile will release the quad-copter payload during flight, after which the quad-copters must decelerate to a velocity suitable for deployment (unfolding), identify potential targets, maneuver to and land on the target, and detonate onboard EFP munition(s). Potential targets include tank and large caliber gun barrels, fuel storage barrels, vehicle roofs, and ammunition storage sites. The ultimate goal is to produce a missile deployable, long range UAS swarm that can deliver small EFPs to a variety of targets. This will serve as a smart augmentation to the standard missile warhead. What is solicited is a GMLRS or ATACMS launched payload consisting of multiple quad-copters carrying EFP munitions. Quad-copters should carry onboard power sufficient to conduct mission. Quad-copters should be able to withstand missile launch environments (acceleration, shock and vibration spectra) and thermal loads at deployment.
PHASE I: Conduct design trade study of quad-copter concepts capable of meeting performance metrics stated in the above description. Perform concept down-selection to a design for Phase II prototype demonstration. Results from the design study will be documented for Phase II.
PHASE II: Expand on Phase I results by maturing selected design to an adequate level for build, testing, and proof-of-concept demonstration. Perform necessary performance characterization and testing (i.e. shock and vibration, electrical power supply sizing, etc.). Acceptable Phase II demonstration should include quad-copter deployment (unfolding), powered flight, acquisition of a representative target, and automated navigation to and landing on target. Additionally, demonstrate quad-copter detonation of the EFP munition (this can be independent of powered flight demonstration for ease of testing and any regulatory restrictions).
PHASE III: There are many military uses for the desired system. While the baseline use is inherently military in nature, other payloads could be used for remote sensing into dangerous/hazardous areas. Portions of this SBIR developed technology should be considered for commercial applications where appropriate. If successful, the most immediate transition path is transition to PEO M&S for use in a variety of missile systems.
KEYWORDS: Drone, Unmanned, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Quad-copter, Swarm, Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP)