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Analysis of MELD Additive Friction Stir Deposition Applications to Improve the Production of Low-Cost Attritable UAVs

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-22-P-2304
Agency Tracking Number: FX212-CSO2-0017
Amount: $49,991.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF212-CSO2
Solicitation Number: X21.2
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-03-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-06-13
Small Business Information
9200 Church Street Suite 302
Manassas, VA 20110-1111
United States
DUNS: 963400192
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Robert Medve
 (703) 366-3434
Business Contact
 Eric Hepburn
Phone: (703) 366-3434
Research Institution

Hepburn and Sons LLC, integrator and leader in technology transition, has teamed with MELD Manufacturing Inc., with support from the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., to propose to conduct a thorough Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for the application of MELD, a new and advanced method of additive friction stir deposition. Our team will compare MELD to the current state of Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques that will improve and lower the construction costs of Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Having met with UDRI and Kratos to evaluating specific applications, we are considering a key component for analysis and demonstration of MELD in Phase I: the mid wing bulkhead of the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie. We will construct a prototype using MELD as part of Phase II, along with mechanical testing. The mid wing bulkhead is the highest loaded bulkhead in the Valkyrie vehicle. Our Phase I study will assess cost reduction, risk, TRL, MRL, and feasibility of applying the MELD technology for the mid wing bulkhead production to increase efficiency, strength margin, while reducing cost. This new capability will enable the U.S. Air Force to 3D print aerospace-grade airframe assemblies in a timely and cost-effective manner.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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