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Survivable Electronics for Control of Hypersonic Projectiles under Extreme Acceleration
Navy SBIR 2012.1 - Topic N121-102
ONR - Ms. Tracy Frost - [email protected]
Opens: December 12, 2011 - Closes: January 11, 2012

N121-102 TITLE: Survivable Electronics for Control of Hypersonic Projectiles under Extreme Acceleration

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Office of Naval Research EM Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype (INP)

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a new electronics package or hardening techniques for existing electronics to support guidance, navigation, and control functions along with diagnostics and communications for use in hypersonic electromagnetic railgun projectiles.

DESCRIPTION: The Electromagnetic Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) program is developing a novel weapon system that can launch projectiles at speeds in excess of Mach 7 without the use of traditional propellants. These launchers are intended for a variety of applications, including long-range fire support, and therefore require on-board electronic guidance, control, and communication capabilities. Existing high-speed projectiles, such as missiles and artillery rounds, utilize electronics packages that have been designed to tolerate high accelerations that occur during launch. These technologies have been developed to survive short-pulse shock events characteristic of existing guns and missiles but have not been designed for the combination of extended extreme acceleration, high temperatures, and large electromagnetic fields that are present in the railgun application. Therefore there is a need to develop new electronics packages that are compatible with the harsh launch environment that is characteristic of electromagnetic railguns.

The on-board electronics must provide for guidance, navigation, and control functions (including Inertial Navigation System (INS)/GPS with anti-jamming and commands to control surfaces) and should also provide diagnostic data and communications back to the launch site (at ranges of 100-200 NM) to meet mid-course adjustment, reconnaissance, and flight termination requirements. The capability developed under this topic should provide high precision GPS positions with accuracy better than +/- 5 meters, 6DOF projectile orientation, and diagnostic/reconnaissance data via a communications link operating at a data rate of 5 Mbps (threshold) / 10 Mbps (objective) over a 110 NM (threshold) / 200 NM (objective) flight path at speeds in excess of Mach 8. The communications link must be bi-directional in order to support flight termination and retargeting requirements. The GPS receiver must utilize military codes and must be compatible with M-code signals. Where possible, the package should also incorporate deeply integrated functions such as anti-jamming, GPS up-finding, safe/arm functionality, and height of burst sensors.

The package must fit within the mass (< 2 kg), diameter (< 40 mm outer diameter), and volume (200 cm3) constraints of the projectile and do so without altering the center of gravity. It should also be able to survive accelerations of at least 20,000 g (threshold) / 40,000 g (objective) in all axes, high electromagnetic fields (E > 5,000 V/m, B > 2 T), and surface temperatures of > 800 deg C. The package should be able to operate in the presence of any plasma that may form in the bore or at the muzzle exit and must also be radiation hardened due to exo-atmospheric flight. Total power consumption must be less than 8 watts (threshold) / 5 watts (objective) and the battery life must be at least 5 minutes (from initial launch) to enable operation during the entire engagement. In order to be affordable, the production cost per projectile must be as low as possible, with a goal of less than $1,000 per unit.

Innovative research and development is needed to investigate electronic architectures and hardening techniques that can provide these capabilities within the environmental constraints of electromagnetic railguns described above. Since it is unlikely that all of the survivability requirements can be addressed within the scope of a single project, the emphasis for this topic should be on designs that provide acceleration/shock hardening with efficient packaging, space, volume, power requirements. The Navy will accept proposals that address the entire system, sub-components (i.e. crystal oscillator), or packaging manufacturing techniques. Potential solutions can include the use of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) or solid-state components for accelerometers and inertial measurement units, hardening techniques for crystal oscillators, and novel materials and packaging techniques. Shock hardening of components (especially GNC & crystal oscillators) is of particular interest.

PHASE I: Refine and determine the feasibility of the proposed approach to meeting railgun projectile electronics requirements for both performance and survivability. As the concept is developed, feasibility will be shown through proof-of-concept demonstrations using a combination of laboratory testing, modeling and simulation, and live-fire testing using either gas guns or electromagnetic launchers as appropriate. Successfully demonstrating feasibility will be the criteria for Phase II projects.

PHASE II: Scale up the concept developed during Phase I to create a prototype electronics package that can be installed in a prototype railgun projectile furnished by the Navy for testing purposes. This prototype will demonstrate at least some of the functionality (e.g. position tracking, diagnostics, communications) required in the package as well as compliance with all of the environmental survivability requirements. Testing will be performed using either gas guns or electromagnetic launchers to demonstrate survivability under realistic operational conditions. The results of testing may be classified.

PHASE III: Apply the knowledge gained during Phase II to build a complete projectile electronics package that provides all required functionality while surviving the environmental conditions present during railgun launches and projectile fly-out. This package will be installed in an actual railgun projectile furnished by the Navy and tested in a full-scale electromagnetic launcher to demonstrate suitability for transition to the acquisition program. The results of testing may be classified.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Successful development of survivable control electronic packages can be applied to all forms of precision navigation applications, including other guided munitions, aircraft, spacecraft, and vehicles. Electronics that can survive high g-forces and shocks can also be applied to a variety of dual-use applications, including cell phones and other consumer electronics that require durability against accidental damage. They can also be used in data recorders (such as "black boxes") and other devices that are designed to operate under extreme environmental conditions.


2. B. Flyash, et al, "High-g Telemetry System for Tank Munitions", 23rd International Symposium on Ballistics, April 16-20, 2007.

3. M. Berman, "Electronic Components for High-g Hardened Packaging", ARL Technical Report ARL-TR-3705, January 2006.


KEYWORDS: High-G Electronics; Guidance; Navigation; Control; Telemetry; Survivable Electronics

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