Power Technologies for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-060
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-060 TITLE: Power Technologies for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes



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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. 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 a Reserve Power Solution for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes that meets current and future Naval ammunition fuzing requirements.

DESCRIPTION: The primary fuzes for the Navy’s 5" suite of ammunition, the MK 437 Multi-Option Fuze (MOFN) and the MK 419 MOD 1 Multi-Function Fuze (MFF), currently face obsolescence and sourcing issues with their reserve batteries. These reserve batteries are liquid based. The cathode material for the MOFN battery is obsolete and the MFF battery is sourced from overseas (Germany). The technological obsolescence and strategic sourcing issues of the fuzes’ batteries puts the Navy’s ability to arm its ships with modern, reliable, and precise Naval Gun Weapon Systems at risk. Given these shortcomings, this presents an opportunity to acquire an advanced reserve battery with the technology to support both current and future Naval ammunition fuzing requirements. Thermal batteries present an interesting solution given their inherent environmentally and electrically safe design, long shelf life, and zero maintenance. A new battery is required to sustain production of the Navy’s suite of 5" high explosive ammunition. Thermal batteries are a promising technology for potential fuze power. Thermal batteries have been extensively developed in the United States and represent a stronger industrial base than a liquid reserve battery alternative (ref 1). While the thermal battery technology presents many advantages as a reserve battery, there are technological challenges impeding their application in Navy 5" electrical fuzing applications.

Reserve thermal batteries are a single use, high temperature, galvanic primary cell battery (ref 2). These batteries have been demonstrated to be environmentally safe and have a long shelf life which is ideal for military purposes (ref 1). Thermal battery composition allows it to withstand the severe environment of Navy gun ammunition, particularly acceleration, shock, vibration, and spin. They are reliable, safe, provide instantaneous activation, do not require maintenance, have chemicals which are inert until activated, and are designed to facilitate power or capacity improvements. The high conductivity of the electrolyte at high temperatures allows the battery to be discharged at high rates. Thermal battery applications and characteristics allow a design to meet specific electrical and environmental parameters (ref 3). Thermal batteries present a favorable solution given their inherent environmentally and electrically safe design, long shelf life, and zero maintenance.

Thermal batteries have a rise time that is directly proportional to their size while their run time is dependent on maintaining elevated temperatures. For Navy fuzing applications, this presents conflicting requirements as the reserve battery is required to rise to operating voltage very quickly and precisely while providing power for the relatively long time of flight. As a result, a large battery that might provide for the flight time would fail the rise time and volume allocation requirement. However, a smaller battery might address the rise time and volume allocation requirement but fail the flight time requirement. Currently, thermal batteries with a volume of 15-20 cubic centimeters cannot be designed to provide electrical power longer than around 50 seconds.

Naval 5" conventional ammunition fuze applications require batteries that can withstand setback launch forces and spin rates. Battery volume must also meet set requirements for fuze applications. The electrical requirements must meet current standards for nominal voltage, current draw, and run, and rise times. Specific innovations in both thermal battery heat management and scalable packaging efficiency to improve performance are required to meet these needs (ref 4). Based on current ammunition fuze electrical requirements, a nominal voltage of about 12V, current draw of up to 325 mA, runtime of 200 seconds, and a rise time of less than 10ms with a standard deviation of about 1ms is expected. This reserve power solution will include scalable thermal battery packaging meeting requirements of Navy 5" conventional fuzing.

PHASE I: The company will identify and design a concept for a Reserve Power Solution for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes that meet the requirements as stated in the topic description. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and will establish that the concept can be developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, the company will develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals and Navy requirements for a Reserve Power Solution for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: The company will support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop a Reserve Power Solution for Navy Conventional Ammunition Fuzes according to the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Thermal batteries present an attractive solution for both military and commercial needs due to their power output, zero maintenance requirements, and available small form factors. The Navy’s requirement for increased runtimes in an even smaller package increases the technology’s commercial attractiveness. For example, thermal batteries have found use in the Mars pathfinder exploration, used to propel the parachute motors, and other on-board rockets. This could be the beginning of a series of discoveries that could be applied to other fields.

1. Davis, P. B. & Winchester, C. S. Limiting Factors To Advancing Thermal Battery Technology For Naval Applications, October 1991, NSWC Dahlgren Division, VA 2013.

2. Linden, D. Handbook of Batteries 2nd Ed., McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1998.

3. Delnick, F. M., Butler, P. C. Thermal Battery Architecture, Sandia National Laboratories, Sandia, NM, 2004.

4. Swift, G., Thermophysical Properties of Lithium Alloys for Thermal Batteries, International Journal of Thermophysics, Springer Science and Business Media, New York, NY 2011.

KEYWORDS: Thermal battery; ammunition fuze; fuze power; reserve battery for fuzes; battery packaging for rise time and run time; battery heat management in munitions

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