viernes, 8 de junio de 2018

Additive Manufacturing for Hypersonic Missile Warheads

Designing a warhead for high velocities is dramatically different than designing a normal warhead, as it needs to be shaped differently to ensure the fragmentation occurs as intended against the target.

Using decades of experience in developing and fielding advanced warheads, Orbital ATK has designed, built and validated a new missile warhead for hypersonic speeds in less than 60 days.

In words of Pat Nolan -Vice President and General Manager of Missile Products at Orbital ATK- “Successfully completing an R&D program in less than 60 days does not happen by accident. There are very few companies that can offer a similar combination of technical expertise and schedule responsiveness, and our deep heritage in high speed systems as well as warheads, fuzes and rocket motors, enables our team to develop innovative technologies that will ultimately help the warfighter be ready for challenges on the battlefield and able to execute their missions reliably, precisely and safely.”

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier.

Its main products include:
  • Advanced aerospace structures
  • Launch vehicles and related propulsion systems
  • Missile products, subsystems and defense electronics
  • Precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition
  • Satellites and associated space components and services

Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 14,000 people across the U.S. and in several international locations. 

jueves, 7 de junio de 2018

Masten Space Systems Selected for NASA SBIR Phase 1 Award

Masten Space Systems of Mojave will pursue a project designed to better use Additive Manufacturing (AM) in the production of rocket engines with the help of NASA funding.

Additive Manufacturing: ¿A Disruptive Threat?

Nowadays, policymakers on arms control are very worried that a technology used to make jewelry could also be used to make parts for a rocket engine, or any other stuff that goes into missiles.

Such capabilities might be attractive to terrorists, helping nonstate actors develop small missiles previously exclusive of advanced states.

Additive Manufacturing with SiOC, key for hypersonic missiles

Scientists at the Aerospace Systems Directorate (ASD) searching for new thermocouple radiation shields, are very interested in the Silicon OxyCarbide (SiOC) because of its potential for building missiles capable to flight at continuous hypersonic speed.

Specifically, the refractory qualities of the SiOC, its ability to maintain strength and form at high temperatures, and the geometric complexity offered by Additive Manufacturing have a wide range of Air Force applications. This is the reason why nowadays, the ASD is researching into applications for the 3D printed SiOC under a Collaborative Research and DevelopmentMaterial Transfer Agreement (CRADA-MTA) between the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Aerospace Systems Directorate and HRL Laboratories, a research center owned by Boeing and  General Motors Corporation.

AM-fueled missile proliferation: ¿How to address this threat?

Current exports-control regulations are not prepared to stop Additive Manufacturing (AM) from fueling arms proliferation in the near future: Their spectrum only captures a fraction of the critical equipment and digital data needed to manufacture arms with an AM console, because dual use goods, which they are, generally escape stricter export-controls. 

AM allows creating complex single-pieced shapes that cannot be achieved with subtractive methods, thus limiting the number of needed fixations and with it, the risk of failure. But their most critical feature in this case is that most AM technologies require only a digital model of the desired object, a “build-file” in the form of electronic data, in order to manufacture it almost instantly.

This means that, in theory, the owner of an AM console can manufacture virtually any object, including weapons and other “products that are subject to dual-use and arms exports control”, provided he owns the necessary build-files. And the problem is these build-files are of course extremely easy to transfer by electronic means, like e-mail or FTP for example. This is why AM poses such a challenge to existing exports-control regimes, because it has the potential to enable export control circumvention and contribute to illicit weapon programs.

Initiatives are definitely building up and SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) researchers strongly suggest to start by amending export control regimes so that they can include AM consoles and the equipment they require, especially laser beams and feedstock materials. Pointing out some obvious flaws in existing exports-control regimes, the SIPRI researchers find that when it comes to controlling transfers of missile production equipment, for example, the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) only limits sales of equipment whose exclusive function is to produce missile systems. Dual-use equipment, such as AM consoles, do not fall under this regulation. Identical issues also affect the transfer of the raw-materials used by the machines. However, the researchers also notice that the overall literature surrounding export controls is progressively opening to the inclusion of dual-use goods in their spectrum to address AM-fueled missile proliferation.

sábado, 26 de mayo de 2018

Orbital ATK, ready to provide the GBSD program

As designs for the next generation ICBM are being matured, Orbital ATK’s experience has resulted in smart commonality, commercial practices, and shared facilities and workforce.

The company has honed numerous capabilities that can reduce risk and shorten development timelines for GBSD. As an experienced flight system/launch vehicle provider, the company has integrated and launched flight systems at sites around the world, and advanced, common avionics have flown on more than 100 missions with 100 percent success.

Including strategic missile targets and interceptors, Orbital ATK has developed, on average, two new flight systems each year for the past 20 years. In addition, Orbital ATK has significant experience building flight-proven composite structures like shrouds, interstages and motor cases. The company has also developed nuclear hardness and survivability protection for its structures, which will help ensure the success of GBSD.

Orbital ATK has modern, automated facilities ready to support GBSD development and production. The company currently utilizes Additive Manufacturing, virtual reality and model-based systems engineering to design and build state-of-the-art rocket motors. In 2017, Orbital ATK’s solid rocket motors achieved 100-percent success on 16 flights and 11 static fires for a total of 64 motors fired.

Orbital ATK has played a key role on every Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program for more than five decades. Since the Minuteman I was first fielded in 1962, Orbital ATK, along with its legacy companies, has provided motor stages and refurbishment services for the program. Today, Minuteman III continues to play an integral role in our nation’s defense, but is preparing to be replaced by the next generation ICBM program: Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).

The Minuteman III weapon system is projected to be in service through 2030, and sustainment activities like those Orbital ATK is now performing on a Propulsion Subsystem Support Contract for the U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate at Hill Air Force Base, will ensure operational readiness through that time. Once Minuteman III is retired, the Air Force’s GBSD program will take over: “The Orbital ATK team is dedicated to helping the Air Force with a smooth transition to the GBSD system,” said Charlie Precourt, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division. “Minuteman III sustainment is a vital element of our nation’s defense and the Air Force is partnered with Orbital ATK to ensure that Minuteman remains safe, capable, reliable and responsive while beginning development of GBSD."

With a long history of ICBM experience, proven expertise in flight systems and components, and the ability to share facilities and experienced workforce across programs to keep costs down, Orbital ATK is ready to provide the GBSD program with outstanding solutions throughout its lifecycle.

Nuclear Posture Review against Russia: US faces tough decisions

This year, as part of a strong and confrontational Nuclear Posture Review against Russia and others, President Donald Trump requested new low-yield nuclear weapons—variants of the W76 nuclear warhead on Trident II missiles aboard America’s nuclear submarines and new sea-launched nuclear cruise missiles.

Low-yield nuclear weapons are relatively small to today’s standard, but are about the size of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed about 120,000 people.

viernes, 11 de mayo de 2018

Misiles en ADDIT3D

El próximo 29 de Mayo tendrá lugar una conferencia sobre "Fabricación Aditiva para el Desarrollo de Misiles" en la feria ADDIT3D.

La conferencia será pronunciada por David del Fresno, de la empresa Integral 3D Printing Iberia (Pabellón 4, Stand 4B45)

Más información:

jueves, 19 de abril de 2018

Boeing and Rolls-Royce invest $37,6 in Reaction Engines Limited

Boeing and Rolls-Royce have invested £26.5 million (approx. $37.6 million) in Reaction Engines Limited, a UK-based aerospace company working on the 3D printing enabled SABRE engine, capable of Mach 25.

Reaction Engines Chief Executive Mark Thomas comments, “In addition to providing our largest round of private investment, these new partners bring invaluable expertise in both hypersonics and engine technologies with significant access to target markets,”

Reaction Engines was formed in 1989 “to design and develop the technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion system,” i.e. the SABRE.  Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing investment arm HorizonX comments, “We continue to connect capabilities around the globe with our investment in Reaction Engines, which is our first in a UK-based company. We expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing's pursuit of hypersonic flight.”

The SABRE is a hybrid engine capable of flying at both low and high altitudes, using hydrogen/oxygen mixing (low altitude), or stored Liquid OXygen (LOX) when launched into space. With the latest fund from Boeing and Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines has raised over £100 million ($142 million) in the past three years.

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018

Spain: 3D printing and AI to allow rockets evolve like nature

FADA-CATEC (Fundación Andaluza para el Desarrollo Aeroespacial - Centro Avanzado de TECnologías) is supporting Zero 2 Infinity (Z2I) in the development of a new generation of rocket engines.

Recently, FADA-CATEC has successfully 3D printed a combustion chamber for Zero 2 Infinity's Bloostar engineJose Mariano López-Urdiales, founder and CEO of Zero 2 Infinity, praised the benefits of 3D printing: "Traditional rockets have had straight cooling channels because that's all that could be manufactured. When you put a flashlight in your ear, you see a wonderful tree-like structure of blood vessels. We don't have straight rows of blood vessels in our ears. 3D printing and AI now allow rockets to evolve, like nature."

Zero 2 Infinity is an spanish privately-owned company with subsidiaries in Germany and the United States. The plans of the company include using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and neural networks to optimize the cooling of the thrust chamber via structures that cannot be manufactured by any other means.