Advanced Alternative Gun Lubricant
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-057
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Attick -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Advanced Alternative Gun Lubricant




ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA242 Direct and Time-Sensitive Strike


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 3.5 of 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 a lubricant for use in medium caliber guns, that provides increased mean-time between required system maintenance performance, and reduces mean-time to repair while increasing reliability and availability when compared to using traditional lubricants.


DESCRIPTION: Aircraft medium caliber guns operate up to 1800 rounds per minute, which creates multiple friction points leading to increased preventative maintenance and wear. Gun systems must operate in accordance with MIL-W-13855 [Ref 4]. Current lubricants (TW-25B) for the M197 are designed to decrease wear on the steel (ASTM-A322) housing and rotor components of the M197 rotary cannon. Preventing corrosion using traditional lubricants requires increased maintenance cycles to remove environmental elements such as sand, dust, and salt water.


Tribology science has discovered solid lubricants, applied as a surface treatment, that eliminate the need to continuously re-apply lubricants. A new surface finish lubricant could utilize nanocomposite technology, which has already shown application in weapon components, vehicle components, and machining lubrication. Chemical Vapor Disposition technology could be utilized for the application of these nanocomposites without changing the metallurgy of base components.


Alternative gun lubricants, referred to as Durable Solid Lubricants, utilize a one-time permanent coating application during part manufacture or retrofit. The alternative gun lubricant material solution should provide corrosion resistance and lubricity to increase time between maintenance cycles by increasing the cycle time between scheduled maintenance from every 28 to 56 days by intermediate level to a one-time application during part manufacture with no further maintenance. Lubricant should last the lifetime of the part, which should be up to 20,000 rounds. The overall goal is to decrease aircraft medium caliber gun sustainability and readiness.


PHASE I: Develop and demonstrate the feasibility of an alternative lubricant capable of withstanding heat and friction during live fire operation of the M197 rotary cannon. Perform testing that can include new and reworked gun housings. The Phase I effort will include lubricant prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.


PHASE II: Modify the lubricant material design and application process as required. Perform M197 testing based on data collected from Phase I, and perform further testing to include environmental factors such as sand, dust, and salt fog. Develop a prototype lubricant. Apply the durable lubricant in the M197 20mm gun and assess the reduction in cleaning and replacement requirements. Determine ideal lubricant thickness. Analyze gun housing wear and quantify mean rounds between failure.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support operational assessment of durable lubricant by one squadron prior to full-scale fielding. (Lubricant will be used for training missions only. Lubricant to be run concurrently with legacy lubricant to compare effectiveness and impact to operator.)

Successful development of this technology would benefit the civilian small arms industry. REFERENCES:

1.  “Advanced Surface Treatments for Armament Weapons Systems.” RDECOM, 2007.


2.   MIL_PRF-14107D, Performance Specification Lubricating Oil, Weapons, Low Temperature, 2000.

3.   MIL-L-46150, Military Specification Lubricant, Weapons, Semi-Fluid (High Load-Carrying Capacity), 1971.


4.   MIL-W-13855D, Military Specification Weapons: Small Arms and Aircraft Armament Subsystems, 1969.


5.   Mitchell, N. “Tribiology of Engineered Surfaces in Aggressive Environments.” Clemson University, 2012. &context=all_theses


6.   F, N. “US Army Develops Integral Dry Lubricant to Replace CLP.” The Fire Arm Blog, February 10, 2016.


7.   Mainiero, C. “Warfighter Weapon Maintenance Made Easier with New Lubricant.” The Picatinny Voice, 2016.


8.   Jahner, K. “New Army Weapon Tech Could Make Cleaning Obsolete.” Army Times, March 18, 2016.


KEYWORDS: Aircraft Gun Systems; Lubricant; Durable Solid Lubricant; Corrosion Prevention; Wear; Tribology; Metallurgy



Ling Xu





Blaine Sweazy





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