May 25/11: Small disadvantaged business qualifier Universal Technical Resource Services in Cherry Hill, NJ wins a $9.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support the Pentagon’s Titanium Extraction, Mining and Process Engineering Research Program. The effort builds on earlier commitments from the firm in evaluating alternatives to the standard Kroll method, which reduces titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) with magnesium to form titanium.
Titanium’s strength and lightness have created a wide range of military applications. It’s found in modern infantry jock straps, is used extensively in the USAF’s top-end F-22A Raptor fighters, and gives M777 ultra-light 155mm howitzers their lightness. It has also become a critical resource for civilian aerospace companies like Boeing and EADS. The flip side is that it’s expensive to produce, and difficult to work with. The goal of the Pentagon’s TEMPER program is to identify and develop new extraction and mining technologies that will reduce cost of titanium and other strategic metals. It might also give key US producers an edge, which is important to the Pentagon because of the politically-charged 1973 Berry Amendment’s restrictions.
Work will be performed in Butte, MT, and Mount Laurel, NJ, with an estimated completion date of May 23/13. The bid was solicited through a Broad Agency Announcement, with 7 bids received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-11-C-0143). It should not be surprising to note that TEMPER is just one of a number of efforts the US government has funded in this area.