Up to $14M to Improve IR Missile Dome Materials
Most short range air-air missiles (SRAAMs), and even some medium-range missiles like the French MICA and Russian AA-10/R-27 variants use some variant of infrared guidance, homing in on heat differentials produced by a target’s exhaust or even just air friction against its surface. The IR sensors are mounted in the nose of the missile, and if you look closely you’ll see that they’re behind a transparent “dome.” Creating those domes is a challenging materials task: give us something that lets as much IR radiation as possible in without distortion, but protects everything inside the missile from the buffeting and heat created during the missile’s own Mach 3+ flight and violent turns.
Raytheon Co. in Tewksbury, MA just received a $7.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for building engineered nano-composite oxides for high durability missile domes. The objective is to develop processing methods for the manufacture of IR transport domes capable of higher speed operation and greater particle impact resistance than sapphire, the current material choice.
This contract contains options which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of this contract to $14.4 million. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, MA, and is expected to be complete by October 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $3.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with 2 offers received. The Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA (N00014-07-C-00037).