Improved Producibility of MEMS Fuze
The purpose of this effort was to reduce the end item cost of the MEMS Fuze Safe and Arm Device that has been developed at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) through funding from ONR Code 30, PM-AMMO, and PMS 495. The effort focused on developing processes to replace four inefficient manufacturing steps presently used to fabricate the MEMS Fuze. The goal is to transition the production of the fuze from a mix of batch and hand assembly processes to a nearly complete batch fabrication while eliminating inefficiencies in the design. Resulting from this work is a fuze for use in Flight Controlled Mortar in the PUMMA FNC. The reduced size of the MEMS Fuze will enable part the weapons guidance system of occupy volume preciously used by the fuze. Click here for more info.
Low Cost, Reliable Packaging & Integration of Miniaturized Explosive Components
The warhead system of the Common Very Light-Weight Torpedo (CVLWT), formerly known as the Canistered Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CCAT), contains the warhead, Safety & Arming (S&A) device, fire-sets, and Exploding Foil Initiators (EFI). The design of the CVLWT warhead requires two initiator systems, each containing a fire-set, EFI and explosives. Early in the CVLWT program, it was apparent that the high production cost associated with previous initiator systems was inconsistent with the overall CVLWT objective for affordability. Manufacturing and assembly of the initiator required touch labor-intensive operations and components were not optimized for assembly. For example, the EFI was connected to the fire-set via a hand soldering process that often required rework or resulted in scrap parts. Further, existing processes for initiator systems do not provide a hermetic sealed package, which leads to long-term reliability concerns. The objective of this project was to develop, integrate and demonstrate assembly and packaging techniques for miniature explosive train components contained in the S&A device of the CVLWT. Click here for more info.
Flexible Manufacturing of Nitrogen Based Gun Propellants (Flex Man)
Continuous processing is a revolutionary lower-cost technology being used for the manufacture of gun propellants and other energetic materials. Navy systems such as the extended range conventional 5 inch round and the Advanced Gun System (AGS) require higher-performing gun propellants to increase stand-off range and to engage targets further inland. Novel propellant formulations and geometries, such as propellants that include high nitrogen ingredients and co-layered propellants, have the potential to offer this higher performance while also decreasing gun barrel erosion and improving munition insensitivity. The objective of this project was the development of a continuous process to manufacture low cost, high volume nitrogen-based gun propellants, including a co-extrusion process for the manufacture of co-layered propellants. Click here for more info.
Lower Cost, Improved Quality CL-20 Energetic Material
CL-20 (hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane) is the most energetic conventional explosive available for military use. Without a characterized, reproducible product at a reasonable price no weapon system will use this material, and the potential significant performance enhancements will not be realized. Candidate applications span both propellant and explosive uses and include weapon systems such the Standard Missile and the Advanced Gun System (AGS). The objectives of this project were to develop and implement advanced process technology for the manufacture of the energetic compound CL-20 and CL-20-based energetic compositions that improve sensitivity, product consistency and quality, while reducing the cost, and to establish manufacture of an affordable and reproducible product at the industrial scale. Army and Navy ManTech projects were used in an integrated approach to making CL-20 lower cost, predictable, and consistent for production. Under Army sponsorship, a nitration process has been implemented to produce CL-20 with greater than 99% purity at yields in excess of 90%. The Navy project identified and characterized the parameters that affect the sensitivity and the crystallization of CL-20, and two crystallization processes, evaporative and inverse precipitation, have been successfully transitioned to the full 500- gallon production scale. Click here for more info.
Ammonium Dinitramide Manufacturing Technology
This project developed the technology to reduce the manufacturing cost of ammonium dinitramide (ADN) from between $3,000 to $5,000/lb for laboratory scale quantities, to less than $100/lb for pilot scale production quantities. Pure ADN is very hygroscopic, has poor thermal stability and has needle-like morphology, which make it extremely difficult to process. The Navy’s Energetics Manufacturing Technology Center (EMTC), ATK Launch Systems, and SRI International have developed a prilling process for manufacturing spherical propellant-grade ADN that alleviates these shortcomings. Click here for more info.
Continuous Processing of Composite Propellants (CPOCP)
The CPOCP project developed and demonstrated the capability to continuously process composite propellants using the twin screw extruder. It was part of an international cooperative research and development agreement to develop the processing technology necessary for continuous manufacture of composite propellants which are characterized by the incorporation of energetic chemicals into a plastic matrix. The process improvement activities in France and the US were combined as the two countries worked jointly to improve ingredient feed systems, develop on-line quality control technologies, and advance the understanding of the process, quality, safety, and relationships in the twin screw mixer/extruder. This project has bridged the gap between previously existing research facilities and future production facilities by providing the necessary information to design a prototype production facility. Click here for more info.
Alternative Manufacture of PBXIH-18 Aluminized Pressed Explosive
The project objective is to develop and demonstrate an efficient manufacturing method using Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) twin screw mixer/extruder (TSE) capabilities to process an aluminized explosive formulation, PBXIH-18. PBXIH-18 was developed as a less sensitive replacement for Composition A3 in enhanced blast warheads including shoulder launched weapons systems. Click here for more info.
Improved Technology for Line Charge Manufacturing (Ln Chg)
APOBS is a man-portable, rocket-delivered explosive line charge designed to clear a pathway through anti-personnel mine and obstacle fields for the rapid advancement of ground assault forces. The grenades were connected with detonation cord and two nylon rope strength members, which run parallel to the detonation cord and were connected to each grenade with two band clamps. The process of attaching the ropes to the grenades with the band clamps was a labor-intensive operation and a reliability concern. Baseline design testing during development indicated the potential of band clamps and/or ropes breaking during deployment. The objective of the project was to develop and demonstrate an alternate grenade attachment concept that improved the manufacturing process for the APOBS. A process was sought that lent itself to automation, was operator independent, and hence, produced a more reliable product. This project evaluated various concepts provided by private industry and the Indian Head Division. The project resulted in the successful development, demonstration, and transition of an overbraid process for the APOBS. Click here for more info.
Low Cost Shaped Charge Munition Manufacturing
The objective of this project was to demonstrate a manufacturing process that linked both the shaped charge munition manufacturing design and assembly to reduce costs. A novel shaped charge concept to neutralize mines was demonstrated during the Distributed Explosive Mine Neutralization (DEMNS) program. The shaped charge generates a jet with a mid-stream consolidated mass (lump). The jet, with a velocity greater than the lump, is designed to penetrate any mine overburden. The lump has sufficient impact energy to initiate the explosive fill of the mine. Two main thrusts were undertaken to reduce the overall cost of fabricating this shaped charge while maintaining its performance for mine countermeasures applications. One was the implementation of a two-piece (plastic/metal) liner configuration and the second was injection loading of the explosive fill. Click here for more info.
Energetics Production Utilizing Resonant Acoustic Mixing (RAM)
Resonant Acoustic Mixer (RAM) uses a novel mixing technology developed for the U.S. Army under a SBIR project and patented in 2007. There have subsequently been laboratory scale investigations of the technology at various labs throughout the Navy and Department of Defense (DOD). In the RAM, mixing is achieved by acoustical energy input to the material rather than mechanical mixing by moving blades. This means that, unlike current mixing, there are no moving parts in contact with the explosive material, which provides a significant safety advantage. Existing methods have the potential for friction initiation of energetic material if blades and bowl become off-set and make contact, or if foreign material enters the mixer and becomes lodged between blades and bowl. This failure mechanism has resulted in past explosive incidents. Replacing mechanical mixing of energetics with resonant acoustic mixing would eliminate this safety hazard. The objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate a small munitions production process utilizing an 80-pound capacity Resonant Acoustic Mixer (RAM-5) to mix the explosive fill. Click here for more info.
Scale-up the Manufacture for the MK146 and 152 High Explosive Warhead
The Marine Corp is currently using the MK146 Mod 0 Warhead in Iraq and Afghanistan. Program Office requirements are to deliver 8100 ea MK146 warheads and 24000 ea MK152 warheads. The original manufacturing process explosive loaded MK146 warheads with PBXN-110 from the 150- gallon vertical mixer and cast independently in each of four small vacuum bells. Each warhead was handled individually. Every warhead filled required the dedicated full time attention of an operator. There were additional personnel required to transport empty and full warheads to and from these operators. Loading time was seven hours, sometimes more. The process of using multiple small casting bells, determined the lot size (335 ea) and it was not suited for scaling beyond the 150-gallon mixer. The 420 gallon mixer casting facility does not have room to accommodate a large number of bells to cast warheads individually. Click here for more info.
Manufacturing Evaluation and Scale-Up of DBX-1
Lead azide (LA) is utilized in most chemical detonators as the initial shock wave generating compound for detonation of subsequent main explosive charges. Despite being an effective energetic material, LA has a number of drawbacks associated with its use: (1) LA contains 71% lead, a toxic heavy metal that is released to the environment during production and use, (2) LA is unstable in nonhermetic munitions applications (forming copper azide) and, due to this, has been limited in use by NAVSEA 8020.3A, and (3) there is currently no qualified domestic production of LA with DOD relying on an aging and dwindling stockpile to support its needs. DBX-1 is an environmentally benign copper-based LA replacement which has recently completed a NAVSEA 8020.5C qualification project. The objective of this project is to optimize synthesis techniques, scale-up to a 100 gram batch-size level, and generate a final product specification for DBX-1. Click here for more info.
RSI-007 Scale-up for Manufacture (RSI-007)
The objective of this project is to develop a sustainable and reliable production capability for RSI-007 molding powder that will significantly reduce the overall cost of the material as well as the environmental impacts and operational hazards during production. RSI-007 is a high energy, CL-20 based explosive that enables miniaturization of and increased output from low energy exploding foil initiators (LEEFIs). The higher performance of RSI-007 also allows for new and innovative initiators to be developed. RSI-007 based LEEFIs are used in multiple weapon systems including AIM-9X, RAM, ESSM, Standard Missile, Spider, FBM ordnance, FMU-139 Product Improvement Program, MEMS Distributed Initiation Systems, and SECAT Advanced Lightweight Torpedo Program. Click here for more info.
Alternative Manufacture of Energetic Material TATB Phase 1 and Phase 2
Triamino-Triamino--Trinitrobenzene (TATB) is one of the least sensitive explosive materials known and is a critical ingredient used to meet Insensitive Munitions (IM) requirements in the booster explosive PBXN-7 and PBXW-14. PBXN-7 is used in bomb and missile fuzes. All U.S. sources for this material ceased production in 1993, primarily due to demand and environmental issues. In 1999, the demand for TATB/PBXN-7 soared when the Navy began to re-booster over 80,000 FMU-139 bomb fuzes. The objectives of this project are to investigate and evaluate several alternative TATB chemical synthesis processes, determine the best approach, scale-up, and demonstrate the process at full-production scale. Click for more info.