Quiet Launch for 6-Inch Externally Stowed Devices
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-107
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Quiet Launch for 6-Inch Externally Stowed Devices


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 415, Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office.


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 quiet, low-power launch mechanism for deployment of 6-inch external stowed payloads of maximum volume.


DESCRIPTION: Currently, the 6-inch External Countermeasure Launcher ejects 6-inch nominal Acoustic Device Countermeasures (ADCs) with a single energy level gas generator. The single level gas generator provides the launch energy for safe separation of the 165 lbf, 6.25” diameter, 108” long, ADC at the extremes of the platforms submerged operating envelope for depth and maneuverability. The Navy seeks a quiet, low power, 6-inch launch technology that would reduce the amount of energy expended for each device launch relative to the gas generator’s energy expenditure. The current maximum launch velocity for the ADC is 80 ft/sec as the tail of the ADC passes the face of the muzzle exit with a maximum acceleration to the device of 130 G’s..


Current Countermeasure Set, Acoustic (CSA) Launcher Assemblies (LAs), consists of a launch tube, gas generator, device and muzzle cap. The LA is stored external to the submarine and is considered an All-Up Round. The gas generator is an electrically initiated solid propellant that ejects the device from the LA once firing voltage is received and gas generator propellant burn initiated. The launch tube, gas generator and muzzle cap provide a dry, pressure-proof environment for the device prior to launch. The entire gas generator propellant billet is expended during launch. . Physical dimensions of the current launcher assembly, including weight in air, weight in water, center of buoyancy and center of gravity will be provided as GFI in External Countermeasure Launcher Interface Control Drawing 53711-6658815 as will the sizing of the electrical cabling leading to the current gas generator connections. Current gas generator information is contained in NAVSEA drawing 53711-760595. As the gas generator utilized has the greatest energy/volume ratio, design space is unavailable to incorporate throttling of the gas generator for reduced energy levels launches. The comparison point will be the dimensions of the existing gas generator (10.5” long, 6.892” outside diameter) and associated energy of approximately 2500 horsepower occurring over 0.1 seconds. Therefore, innovative solutions must be sought that reduce the launch energy by a minimum of 20% and acoustic levels by minimum of 30% while fitting in no greater than the existing gas generator volume.


Implementation of an optimized quiet launch mechanism for 6-inch external stows would provide maximum payload volume while minimizing the launch energy and resultant acoustics allowing covert deployment of delayed operation devices while the platform clears the area. This would also remove the excessive acceleration survivability

requirements from the device, allowing a greater variety of devices to be launched from the 6-inch external stows.


The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, and NAVSEA will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access. The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work.


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 Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA 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 advance phases of this contract.


PHASE I: Develop a concept for a quiet launch mechanism integrated into the existing 6-inch launch tube. Include provisions for watertight integrity of the resultant LA for each end of the launch tube. Demonstrate feasibility of the concept by modeling and simulation. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial layout and specifications to build a prototype in Phase II.


PHASE II: Deliver a prototype launch mechanism for testing and evaluation. Evaluate the prototype based on the total volume occupied by the proposed launch mechanism (within the existing launch tube), amount of energy consumed during launch (over various notional payload masses/shapes) and the ability of the existing cabling to provide the desired launch energy (if required by the launch mechanism). Include evaluations of the launch of nominal shapes and the acoustics from the Submersible 3/6-inch Launcher Facility maintained by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in the Newport, Rhode Island. Provide 3-5 prototypes as deliverables. Provide a ranking of the proposed solutions relative to the instantaneous activation of the existing gas generator.


(Additionally, these prototypes will be used for Environmental Qualification Testing (EQT) including storage temperature, thermal cycling, lightweight shock testing, vibration analysis, and full depth excursion testing.)


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: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use. This support is expected to be in the form of follow-on prototypes, using any lessons learned from the Phase II launch and acoustic testing. Ultimately, within Phase III, it is desired that at least two to three dummy shapes will be launched from a U.S. Navy submarine to assist in the launch and acoustic evaluation of the design as a function of platform depth and operating speed.


A commercial application would be the launch of measurement devices from Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUVs) given the volume optimization of the launch mechanism.



1.   Murnaw, J.R. “Physics-Based Modeling to Reduce Extensive Full-Scale Testing.” John Hopkins Applied Research Laboratory Technical Digest, Volume 33, Number 4, 2017. http://www.jhuapl.edu/techdigest/TD/td3304/33_04-Mumaw.pdf


2.   Ng, Kam W. “Acoustic Transients Generated from Launcher Systems.” U.S. Navy Journal of Underwater Acoustics”, vol. 40, no. 4, 1990, pp. 781-804. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kam_Ng3


KEYWORDS: Deployment of Remote Undersea Sensors; Volume Optimized Underwater Ejection Systems; Submarine Launch of Small Diameter Devices; Variable Energy Underwater Ejection Systems; Quiet Underwater

Launch Mechanisms; High Energy to Volume Impulse Sources



William Barker







Pat Lyons







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