Development of Coatings and Surface Finishes for Hypersonic Window Applications

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-086
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

TOPIC Removed

N221-086 TITLE: Development of Coatings and Surface Finishes for Hypersonic Window Applications

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 a coating or surface finish for application on hypersonic windows to ensure there are no obstructions or depositions for optical/imaging systems. This coating must still allow significant (> 90%) light transmission at imaged wavelengths (0.01 - 1000µm).

DESCRIPTION: Hypersonic materials operate in extreme environments of pressure and temperature. Design and implementation of new navigational systems which involve optics/imaging capabilities through windows placed on the hypersonic vehicle require development of coatings and surface finishes to ensure there are no depositions obstructing the system’s view. Hypersonic vehicles experience temperatures in excess of 1100° C and encounter elevated levels of shock and vibration. These conditions introduce a complex problem set for integrating optic/imaging systems onto hypersonic vehicles. During the glide phase of a traditional boost-glide hypersonic vehicle, ablated material may be deposited on the Thermal Protection System (TPS) or be caught in the wake and deposit on the aft end of the vehicle. Due to the ablation and environmental effects experienced throughout hypersonic flight, the U.S. Navy is interested in the development of window coating or surface finish that will be resistant to fogging, deposition, and clutter.

Solutions should consider varying approaches, including the potential for the surface coating to ablate during flight (total flight duration < 60 minutes), clearing the window of any obstructions or depositions. The coatings/finishes must consider the aerothermal effects on the vehicles throughout flight. The solution will require validation and qualification testing and should consider aging and degradation, as well as service life. Application methods should also be explored and must ensure uniformity in repetition. Manufacturability and material consistency should also be considered during design selection.

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: Perform an analysis of alternatives (AoA) on potential coating solutions with considerations on manufacturability and thermal/mechanical properties. Also, development and characterization of the proposed coatings/surface finishes should take place during the Phase I. It is expected that within this phase the following will be completed: an AoA of potential coating solutions, characterization of the down-selected solutions, and selection of application methods. The Phase I Option, if exercised will include the development of initial design specifications for application, testing and prototyping the material.

PHASE II: Focus on further developing and characterizing coating solutions, refining application methods, and testing/evaluation based on the results produced in Phase I and outlined in the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW). Testing and evaluation should include wind tunnel testing on representative hypersonic window specimen versus baseline samples. Phase II Options, if exercised, will consist of additional testing to further mature the design and mitigate risk. If deemed feasible within the scope of the Phase II effort, test and evaluate the solution in a sounding rocket campaign.

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. The final product shall be a prototype and design package outlining the surface coating and application method. The final design is in consideration for being transitioned into the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic weapon system. A suitable material solution and application method is required for the future system to implement seeker technologies to enhance guidance, navigation, and control. In addition, this technology can be transitioned to other Navy and Air Force hypersonic and ballistic weapon systems for integration of next generation optical/imaging systems. In the commercial sector, any future hypersonic vehicles that utilize optical/imaging technology will benefit from the resulting material solution.


  1. Martin, Alexandre; Boyd, Iain. "Strongly Coupled Computation of Material Response and Nonequilibrium Flow for Hypersonic Ablation." Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, ISSN: 1533-6794, 19 February 2015.
  2. Clark, R.K.; Cunnington Jr., G.R.; Wiedemann, K. E. "Determination of the Recombination Efficiency of Thermal Control Coatings for Hypersonic Vehicles." Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 32, No. 1, February 1995.
  3. Fedorov, Alexander; Malmuth, Norman; Rasheed, Adam; Hornung, Hans. "Stabilization of Hypersonic Boundary Layers by Porous Coatings." AIAA Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, April 2001.

KEYWORDS: Hypersonics; Surface Coatings; Surface Finishes; Ablation; Material Integration; Thermal Protection System; Seeker Windows


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at 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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