High Expandable Sticky and Incapacitating Foam

Navy SBIR 23.2 - Topic N232-081
MCSC - Marine Corps Systems Command
Pre-release 4/19/23   Opens to accept proposals 5/17/23   Closes 6/14/23 12:00pm ET

N232-081 TITLE: High Expandable Sticky and Incapacitating Foam


OBJECTIVE: Develop a non-toxic sticky foam material capable of expanding and sticking to targets to non-lethally entangle, restrain, and disable them.

DESCRIPTION: The Marine Corps through the Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO) is seeking to develop a sticky foam material that is capable of expanding and sticking to targets in order to non-lethally entangle, restrain, and disable them.

Relevant efforts were previously developed by the U.S. Government for security purposes to support the Department of Justice, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. In the 1990s, the Marine Corp developed a sticky foam gun which was used in Operation United Shield to assist in the withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces from Somalia.

The sticky foam material developed was safe to use, but also came with few drawbacks. It introduced ancillary risks to targets such as blocking breathing airways leading to suffocation and making it impossible to transport targeted individuals due to the intense stickiness of the foam. The JIFCO is seeking to eliminate those risks as well as increase effectiveness and usability of the sticky foam material.

The JIFCO supports the Joint Forces across the Competition Continuum and presents Intermediate Force Capability (IFC) relevance for contemporary operations - including irregular warfare (IW). The sticky foam disabling technology will give users the ability to non-lethally entangle, restrain, disable, and detain targets.

This SBIR effort will provide aid to the military and law enforcement to block threats for physical security applications; and tools to compete below the level of armed conflict in gray-zone missions.

In comparison with the 1990s sticky foam efforts, this SBIR topic seeks to explore innovative and new approaches to developing a highly expandable sticky foam with the following characteristics:

� Able to be contained and stored in small packages (handheld)

� Expandable: Able to expand 100s of times of its stored contents when released into the atmosphere

� Harden when fully extended in 5-10 seconds

� Immediately stick to skin and clothing upon contact

� Sticky foam disperser/launcher device (ex. Grenade, Weapon)

� Dissolvable after use with immediate removal safety kit

� Open-cell and breathable foam end state to avoid suffocation risks

� Safe non-toxic material

� Adhere to Military Standards such as MIL-STD-810, a military test standard for environmental testing

PHASE I: Explore advanced materials and concepts for the expandable sticky foam. Demonstrate the feasibility of expandable foam material and the effectiveness of its disabling properties upon activating with the atmosphere. Determine the technical feasibility of the concept design and model key elements that can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps and the Joint Non-lethal Weapon Program (JNWP) through analytical modeling and simulation to provide initial assessments of the concept performance.

Phase I will not require human subject or animal subject testing.

Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones that addresses technical risk reduction and defines the development of a state-of-art Expansive sticky foam.

PHASE II: Develop sticky foam material and process for prototype testing based on the result of the Phase I performance goals as defined in Phase II development plan. Demonstrate system performance through prototype evaluation and modeling to include usability and environmental performance. Use evaluation results to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet the Marine Corps requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for the Marine Corps use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the JIFCO/Marine Corps with test and validation to certify and qualify the technology to transition to the Marine Corps and the Joint Services. The advanced non-lethal technology developed under this SBIR topic would have direct application to the DoD IFC community in the joint services, civilian law enforcement, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Energy, the Secret Service, and Customs and Border Protection.


  1. Leimbach, Wendell. "The Commandant�s Guidance for the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program." Marine Corps Gazette, May 2020. https://mca-marines.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Commandant%E2%80%99s-Guidance-for-the-DOD-Non-Lethal-Weapons-Program.pdf
  2. Berger, David H. "Executive Agent�s Planning Guidance 2020 � Intermediate Force Capabilities � Bridging the Gap Between Presence and Lethality." U.S. Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program, March 2020. https://mca-marines.org/wp-content/uploads/DoD-NLW-EA-Planning-Guidance-March-2020.pdf
  3. "Sticky Foam." Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_foam

KEYWORDS: Sticky foam; non-lethal weapon, Intermediate Force Capability


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/#announcements for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 19, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on May 17, 2023, and closes June 14, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

Direct Contact with Topic Authors: During the pre-release period (April 19, 2023 through May 16, 2023) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on May 17, 2023 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period.

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