The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Dahlgren, VA has awarded a $12,500,000 sole-source contract to ATC Materials Inc. (ATC), Westlake, OH for production and delivery of a proprietary armor system that exceeds the bullet and fragment impact requirements of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Insensitive Munitions (IM) standard. In May, 2016, MDA announced the renewal of the contract for another year. The armor, the “Transportation Protection System” (TPS), is designed to stop both bullets and warhead fragments. It is the only system qualified by DoD for shipping Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) extended range Standard Missile (SM) variants within transportation on-road weight limitations. TPS production is currently ramping up at ATC’s Westlake, OH facility.
Over the past several decades, standards intended to produce consistent and reliable protection from bullet and fragment impact posed a significant compliance issue for many munitions programs. Current US DoD and NATO protocols (as defined in MIL-STD-2105) only require a reduced energy burning reaction when a munition is impacted by either bullets or warhead fragments. By these standards, a successful threat mitigation results in destruction of the munition. Items protected by TPS provide a more effective level of protection by shielding the munition from impact threats, thereby preserving the item for its intended use. For energetic items, this also eliminates the potential for injury to personnel and damage to infrastructure which may otherwise result from explosive/propulsive energy release as a consequence of bullet/fragment impact.
By eliminating impact threats altogether, DoD programs using TPS technology can achieve better than required IM compliance for bullet and fragment impact without the need for costly and time-consuming testing.
Prior to ATC’s development of TPS, effective barrier-type systems were considered too heavy to allow common carriers to transport both the desired munition cargo and the barrier system itself. Now, Standard Missiles can be shipped – safely – on conventional flatbed trailers.
ATC’s TPS concept results in a system that provides a light weight, multi-layer composite/metal barrier. The result is a system that stops bullets and fragments without any penetration allowing MDA to ship up to four extended range Standard Missiles (either SM-3 or SM-6) on a single unmodified flatbed truck. No additions or changes to the existing logistics infrastructure are necessary to accommodate the handling or use of TPS.
“Working with the Department of Defense, we’ve been able to conceive and develop a remarkable missile transport protection product,” said ATC President Charles “Chuck” Inglefield. “DoD’s stringent and comprehensive test program has been completed successfully. We’re confident that TPS offers the best protection available at the lowest weight.”
ATC continues to integrate the knowledge gained from Standard Missile TPS development into a wide range of canisters and containers that enable the transportation of any munition or other cargo requiring high level ballistic protection.
ATC is also working to develop extremely lightweight armor panels that can be applied to existing munition containers as an appliqué. These panels intended to provide MIL-STD-2105 compliant level of protection can be installed easily and are very durable for field use. The next step will be the direct incorporation of these armor panels into munition canisters, which in combination with other system design features may help in other areas of IM compliance such as fast and slow cook-off.
ATC is an advanced materials development and manufacturing company dedicated to developing innovative advanced materials through cost-effective manufacturing. ATC also offers materials design and engineering consulting as well as materials testing services. TPS and all other armor development activities are performed at the company’s Westlake, OH facility; engineering and manufacturing of moldable high temperature dielectric materials, structural ceramics, composites, and thermal protection materials are the focus of the company’s Flagstaff, AZ location.
Source: ATC Materials, Inc.
Date: Jun 16, 2016