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[Sandia Lab News]

Vol. 56, Special Issue        March 2004
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Back to Lab News Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2004 index

Miltary technology and applications

Sandia's Scannerless Range Imaging (SRI) technology leads the world in high-resolution 3-D imaging. We are in the midst of providing an SRI system to NASA, a key to NASA's early return to flight. SRI will allow the NASA/Sandia team to detect and quantify catastrophic damage in orbit, thus providing for safe return of the crew. Also, we have delivered a development system to the Navy for imaging through murky littoral waters. We continue advanced work on facial recognition and seeker munitions. (2600, 2300, 2900, 1700, 5700, 5900, 9200, 12300)

To say that reliably transmitting and collecting real-time data from a penetrator traveling through rock or concrete is difficult is an understatement, to say the least. In a joint collaboration with departments 2665 and 15412, an initial test of a penetrator instrument package was conducted with the potential to do all of the above. The 6.2-cubic-inch device measures, records, and transmits 3-axes of acceleration data real-time. This development is critical to enabling end-game weapon communications in the future. (2600, 15400)

The Defense Ammunition Center has funded Sandia for two robotic disassembly systems based on technologies developed under the DOE/DoD Memorandum of Understanding program. The first system, which disassembles a projectile containing 36 mines, will be part of a new Munitions Demilitarization Cryofracture Facility under construction at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. The second system will disassemble 8-inch rocket-assisted projectiles at the Blue Grass Army Depot. These systems will remove people from potentially fatal hazards that occur annually in a worldwide industry.

The Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar Facility is fully operational. The high-strain-rate material properties measured in this facility are provided to the penetration community for use in selecting penetrator case materials, assessing the penetrability of targets, and benchmarking material behavior models in codes. Through careful design and unique methods of pulse-shaping, the facility is at the forefront of high-strain-rate materials testing technology and provides data unparalleled in fidelity and reliability. (15400)

Sled Test #1 for the Tactical Missile System-Penetrator program was successfully conducted in June 2003 at Sandia's 10,000-foot sled track. The test assessed the survivability of a weapon fuze and high- explosive package during the penetration event. Predicted depth of penetration was achieved, the fuze was functional after the test, and data were downloaded from the internal memory. The high-explosive showed no signs of cracks or failure and the bond with the case wall was still intact. The penetrator was extracted from the concrete target using a remotely operated demolition tractor fitted with a jack-hammer.

The SnifferStar chemical sensor, a lightweight, low-power, rapid-responding chemical warfare agent sensing module for unmanned aerial vehicles, was selected by R&D Magazine as one of the 100 most significant technologies introduced in 2003. The technology is a joint development between Sandia and Lockheed Martin, funded through Lockheed Martin's Shared Vision program. In addition to the R&D 100 award, SnifferStar has been highlighted in numerous media articles and has received other recognition, including a Sandia team Employee Recognition Award. (1700)

Sandia-developed Rapid Terrain Visualization (RTV) precision mapping synthetic aperture radar, designed for military applications, has proven valuable a little closer to home, too. Recently, data collected and processed by the system have been provided to the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council, a volunteer search and rescue group, for two recent missions in the Sandia mountains. The RTV maps used in both missions significantly enhanced on-the-spot knowledge of the terrain, thus helping to determine the safest, most efficient routes to the subject, demonstrating a real potential to help save lives. (5900, 2300)

The first Sandia-designed-and-built satellite laser threat warning sensor was launched into polar orbit onboard an Air Force weather satellite from Vandenberg AFB in October 2003. Successful laser illumination testing verified its detection and reporting capabilities. Validation testing over the next year will determine the optimum satellite configuration to perform its Air Force mission. An updated warning sensor is being developed under a $15.6 million technology transfer agreement with Northrop Grumman Space Technologies. (5700)

Personnel at Tonopah Test Range (TTR) played a key role in the successful completion of the Joint Air-to-Surface Missile (JASSM) Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) Flight Test Program. The test program consisted of six separate JASSM missile launches from a B-52H over the Nevada Test and Training Range. The missiles flew preplanned routes and impacted specially prepared targets at TTR. The TTR test team collected high-speed system performance data as the missiles impacted the targets. (15400)

Sandia's Cognitive Systems Program strives to model human cognition from a psychological and physiological basis. In FY03, in support of a DARPA program, cognitive models of two individual Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) operators were constructed and demonstrated agreement with their human counterparts for approximately 90 percent of the cues and contexts recognized. Potential human errors were prevented through the "discrepancy detection" mechanism whereby a human's own cognitive model of a complex task was used to mitigate fatigue or distractions. (15300, 15200, 6500, 8900, 12300, 9200, 4100)

The US Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SP-11) selected Sandia to be its systems engineer/integrator for all Navy strategic weapon security locations. The Navy's selection followed Sandia's delivery of high-quality System Effectiveness Assessments (SEAs) for the Navy's submarine bases in Bangor, Wash., and Kings Bay, Ga. Sandia's first major activity as the system engineer was to deliver air threat analysis reports that provided structural/thermal modeling of critical facilities at each base. (4100, 9100)

Umbra software brings the best together for rapidly analyzing technology impacts. Noteworthy team accomplishments include: analysis of distributed ad hoc communications and small robotic air platforms on situational awareness in urban conflict (completed in three months); rapid design changes to compensate for radio shortcomings in unattended ground sensor networks (completed in two weeks); and analysis of networked microsensors in urban military operations (completed in one month). (15200, 15300, 6500, 9100, 2500)

Leveraging technologies developed for nuclear weapons programs, Sandia's Technologies for Systems Analysis and Simulation group is developing an integrated, knowledge-based Support Enterprise Modeling (SEM) capability for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The SEM capability will enable Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to determine the best-value JSF business approach and to assess and optimize performance/cost as the JSF program moves forward. An Integrated Enterprise Modeling capability is being developed that includes an interoperability architecture enabling the federation of SEM with other models, tools, and databases used within the JSF program. (15300, 9200, 9500, 1400, 2900)

The flight hardware for projects conducted in support of Missile Defense and Strike Systems is fabricated and checked out in 15400's Test and Assembly Laboratory. Major accomplishments in 2003 included payload suites for Missile Defense Integrated Flight Test 14 and 14 Backup, Strategic Target System Flight Test Units 6, 7 and 8, and Strike Systems penetrator payloads for the Army Tactical Missile System, including two ground tests, two pyroshock tests, and one flight test unit. (15400, 2600)

The US Navy has adopted Sandia's "Swing Free" crane controller for its advanced shipboard crane technology demonstrator. Developed for moving nuclear materials and equipment, Swing Free control accelerates and decelerates the crane in such a way that little payload swing is induced. The technology was enhanced for the Navy by combining Swing Free with an automatic ship-motion compensation algorithm. In tests at port and under way in open water, Swing Free has demonstrated high container throughput. The Navy hopes the technology will enable beachside resupply of marines and underway replenishment of combatant ships. (15200, 2300, VPI)

Last modified: March 25, 2004


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