Radar Absorbing Material Maintainability Improvements

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-049
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N221-049 TITLE: Radar Absorbing Material Maintainability Improvements

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

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials / Processes

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 innovative and durable materials to support the installation and maintenance of Radar Absorbing Material (RAM).

DESCRIPTION: The DDG 1000 class was designed for stealth operation utilizing Radar Absorbing Material (RAM). The RAM tiles currently have an environmental layer material designed to protect the tile from the elements such as Ultraviolet (UV), wind, rain, snow, etc. In-service experience has shown that the environmental layer begins to peel off at the edges within two years and if not serviced will completely peel off, thereby leaving the tile exposed to the elements, which degrades the performance of the material. The newly developed environmental layer should last three years, threshold, with an objective of a seven year lifespan. The environmental layer material is estimated to be about 60% of the total cost of the tile. Installation of current environmental layer is a depot level repair requiring trained technicians. There is nothing currently in the commercial market that meets the requirements.

Maintenance of RAM has been identified as an area of concern due to its use on topside components and specialized work requirements. Development of new materials that support crew maintenance and non-specialized installation procedures will lower life cycle maintenance costs and increase supportability of RAM. Navy desires development of novel environmental layer materials, including a glue and filler system for repair. Environmental layer should be able to be installed by a sailor with limited training and provide a 50% reduction in installation labor.

All proposed materials must be non-radar reflective and are expected to withstand temperatures of -25 to 50°C, wind gusts of 100 knots, and solar radiation of magnitude 1120 W/m2 as defined in MIL-HDBK-310 and MIL-STD-810F, method 505. Prototype material will undergo performance testing to quantify radar transmissibility. Material composition will be finalized through environmental and qualification testing.

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), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). 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 contract as set forth by DCSA 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 prototype materials in accordance with the specifications and requirements outlined in the topic Description section. Demonstrate the feasibility of fabrication through the production of material. The Phase I effort will include plans for the prototype development of proposed technology during Phase II.

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: Refine and deliver prototype materials to undergo performance testing to quantify radar transmissibility. Material composition will be finalized through environmental and qualification testing in accordance with requirements. Fabrication process and installation procedures will be developed with a focus on aiding transition into Phase III. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy and potential commercial use.

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 material to DDG 1000 class destroyers. Support development of documentation including, but not limited to; technical manuals, parts lists, drawings, training guides, installation procedures, and logistics documents.

Commercial transition of this technology can be applied to aircraft, aerospace, ships, communications, and construction. Markets which focus on electromagnetic wave transmission and absorption such as cellular and communication towers would benefit from the developed materials.


  1. Gaylor, Kevin. Radar Absorbing Materials – Mechanisms and Materials. Australia: DSTO Materials Research Laboratory, 1989. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA215068.
  2. Delfini, Andrea, et al. Advanced Radar Absorbing Ceramic-Based Materials for Multifunctional Applications in Space Environment" Materials (Basel), September 2018:1730. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165292/.

KEYWORDS: Radar absorbing material; RAM; environmental protection of radars; radar absorption paint; marine sealant; stealth material; environmental layer


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.1 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 22.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 1, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on January 12, 2022, and closes February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est).

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