High Temperature Cable and Connector Development for Radio Frequency (RF) Applications in Harsh Environments

Navy SBIR 22.2 - Topic N222-122
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs
Opens: May 18, 2022 - Closes: June 15, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N222-122 TITLE: High Temperature Cable and Connector Development for Radio Frequency (RF) Applications in Harsh Environments

OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements (GWR); Hypersonics

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace Environments; Materials / Processes; Weapons

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop High Temperature Radio Frequency (RF) cables and connectors that can perform in harsh environments and are reliable, cost effective, and manufacturable. Solutions are to be utilized in various applications in a high-speed missile system.

DESCRIPTION: A major technical challenge for high-speed weapon systems includes managing the extreme heating environments experienced at increased speeds. Temperature requirements for components can vary depending on the location/placement on the platform. Air friction can cause extreme heating of the leading edge. Most materials, including RF cables and connectors, cannot sustain these high temperatures.

The developed RF cables and connectors should have a minimum temperature rating of 1200° C and an objective of 1500° C. The RF cables will be used in different applications so a wide variety of impedance, frequency specifications, phase stability, attenuation specifications, power specifications, and physical dimensions should be considered. Some possible applications are:

• Aerospace industry for accurate communication equipment

• Military and space application

• Satellite communications

Commercial High Temperature cables are typically rated at 1000° C and High Temperature connectors are 600° C.

This technology will enable critical RF capabilities to be achievable, reliable, and cost effective.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and SSP in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Propose a solution for developing a RF cable and connector prototype. The recommended solution shall demonstrate the ability to withstand an operational harsh aerospace military environment.

Demonstrate a proof of concept for the subsystem design and analysis, addressing material and environmental requirements for the cable and connector. Specific requirements for material, performance characteristic, and measurement implementation for the prototype design must be understood. The proposed solution must demonstrate a concept that can improve the temperature rating of a RF cable and connecter system. Trade studies shall be completed if optimal materials are predicted to affect performance.

Cable diameter, flexibility, and weight should be considered when designing for increased temperature capabilities.

The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype that meets the government’s design requirements based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW). The developed units must be suitable for proof of concept demonstration and ensure the cable and connector prototype meet the Government’s requirements, which will be provided upon contract award. During this phase, access to classified design data is required to gain the actual system requirements for the technical specifications of the sensor, as well as the exact mechanical and electrical constraints that the prototype must adhere. The effort should also focus on procuring materials for test and evaluation. High fidelity analysis will be conducted. Testing will take place in contractor selected facilities to validate design.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Qualify the prototype to system testing. Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use. This may include modifications to meet all testing requirements. Develop and document assembly instructions and drawings provided to the government for manufacturing purposes. This technology can be transitioned to other Navy, DOD, and Government weapon systems for integration of next generation flight systems. In the commercial sector, space shuttles and any high-speed systems could utilize the developed cables and connectors.


  1. Nhan, Elbert; Lafferty, Paul M.; Stilwell, Robert K.; and Chao, Kedong "Radio-Frequency Connector and Interconnect Reliability in Spaceborne Applications" Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest Volume 14, Number 4 (1993) https://safe.menlosecurity.com/doc/docview/viewer/docNA5B6CAED2E35413e199675c10889f850c8c137c192db45106a2bac1bd65e5f83dbe1155c4ac0
  2. "Guild to RF Coaxial Connectors and Cables" rf/microwave Instrumentation https://www.arworld.us/resources/Guide-to-RF-Coaxial-Connectors-and-Cables.asp

KEYWORDS: High Temperature materials; Aerospace cables; RF harsh environment components; Military Communication; cables and connectors; material integration


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at rt.cto.mil/rtl-small-business-resources/sbir-sttr/ for any updates.

The DoD issued its 22.2 SBIR BAA pre-release on April 20, 2022, which opens to receive proposals on May 18, 2022, and closes June 15, 2022 (12:00pm est).

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