Areas of Expertise
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) supports Sandia's national security mission in both traditional and emerging areas. Drawing on over six decades of weapons work and expertise, IMS continues to develop and refine many elements of strike systems, targets, and missile defense programs for the Department of Defense (DoD). However, the expertise, resources, and tools generated in support of these traditional missions are also leveraged to support emerging mission areas and applications, too.
IMS maintains a diverse set of technical capabilities to support mission work and projects for its customers. While enduring capabilities detail technical expertise generated from traditional mission work throughout the years, differentiating capabilities contain proficiencies that reside uniquely at Sandia.
Advanced Flight Systems
Deliver rapid-response and agile system-level design, development, and demonstrations of advanced flight systems and interdependent technologies to address the most critical national needs.
Precision Navigation for GPS-denied environments
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) is a recognized national resource for implementing navigation, guidance and control (NGC) technology in support of demonstrations of military systems for a variety of customers. The development of NGC system solutions relies on a significant set of modeling and analysis tools. IMS guidance and control engineers create high fidelity digital simulations, which are extensively leveraged throughout the design and test phases of development to produce and evaluate candidate guidance and control algorithms. These algorithms are used in the vehicle's real-time flight computer. Further, as system-level models and NGC solutions evolve, digital simulations help engineers explore and quantify the system's statistical performance by encompassing large numbers of parameter variations over many runs.
Hypersonic flight systems and integration
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) is a leader in the development of hypersonic flight systems and technology. Leveraging more than six decades of experience supporting the nuclear weapon complex, IMS experts integrate hypersonic vehicle design, development, and flight experience to produce a full-spectrum approach to systems design and integration. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) system, for example, is designed to fly within the earth's atmosphere at long range at more than five times the speed of sound. Used by the Department of Defense to develop and demonstrate technologies for Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) applications, this technology could enable the U.S. to rapidly deliver a conventional weapon strike anywhere in the world.
IMS experts draw on a number of technical disciplines and approaches to develop hypersonic flight systems. With expertise in high-speed aerodynamic modeling, aero-thermal analyses, high-temperature materials, and navigation, guidance and control, experts use a wide variety of computational modeling and simulation tools to develop systems capable not only of surviving the extreme aerothermodynamic environments of hypersonic flight, but also accurately and reliably traveling to desired locations. IMS models material thermal responses of hypersonic flight vehicles that encounter severe aerothermodynamic environments. These vehicles include stockpile reentry systems and advanced and exploratory precision flight systems. A wide variety of computational technology has been developed at Sandia to perform both the thermal analysis and the design of high-temperature sensors and instrumentation for hypersonic systems. Over the years, Sandia has amassed a wealth of experience in the design and application of ablative thermal protection systems for reentry vehicles and launch systems.
Complex (aerospace) mechanical systems design
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) maintains an in-house mechanical systems design specialty capable of supporting the entire prototypical product realization cycle, from mechanical system inception through flight testing and post-test documentation. The specific competencies maintained are concept development, thermal and structural analysis, design definition, configuration management, fabrication oversight, assembly and test process development, assembly, flight certification testing, launch operations support, and post-test documentation. IMS provides mechanical systems that include targets, countermeasures, and boost vehicles. Every phase of the product delivery cycle is optimized to provide hardware on extremely short timelines to meet customer needs.
Applied aerodynamics and flight testing
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) experts design and field aerospace flight vehicles across the Mach number regime. Traveling at speeds ranging from subsonic to hypersonic, these vehicles open up new possibilities of unprecedented rapid response for weapons systems deployed by the military. Aerodynamic models represent a collection of forces and moments that govern the flight vehicle's travel through the atmosphere, allowing them to optimize the flight vehicle design and perform accurate testing while saving time and resources. IMS experts also specialize in flight safety analysis as another essential component of vehicle design and testing, which is paramount to ensuring the safety of people and the surrounding environment.
Flight system design and integration
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) has flown over 100 successful instrumented flight vehicles in its history, and participated in concept studies of many more. IMS contains the personnel and expertise to design and integrate aerospace flight vehicles to support a variety of missions. Flight system design involves the integration of several disciplines, including aerodynamic performance, electrical systems design, mechanical systems design, and navigation, guidance, and control (NG&C). Each of the flight subsystems are highly dependent on each other and cannot be designed separately. The extensive environmental testing subjects flight systems to relevant environments which can be experienced in flight and ensures that all systems will function together to complete its mission.
Complex system rapid prototyping and testing
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) is capable of supporting the entire prototypical product realization cycle from complex system inception through testing and post-test documentation. Since complex systems prototyping and testing is typically supported on a compressed schedule, IMS optimizes every phase of its product delivery cycle to be able to deliver hardware on extremely short timelines.
Over the years, IMS's complex system prototyping and testing capabilities have been used by agencies such as the Missile Defense Agency for targets, countermeasures and boost vehicles and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command for a hypersonic glide vehicle and associated booster. Prototyping often begins with concept development. Using techniques including design definition and structural and thermal analysis, experts develop detailed complex system designs for use during fabrication. Then, largely facilitated through in-house assembly process development, IMS fabricates the system leveraging expertise in configuration management, assembly and fabrication oversight. Finally, IMS supports an array of complex system testing including test process development, certification testing, operations support and post-test documentation.
Advanced signal processing
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) applies advanced signal processing techniques to improve signal quality and enhance signal to noise in complex noise and clutter environments. This often entails source and signal specific optimization based on mission needs. Advanced signal processing is often done to improve the ability to extract relevant features for target signal detection or characterization applications. Sandia has developed an emphasis on low power, real-time implementation on multiple platforms from workstations to very low power embedded processors and special purpose digital signal processing (DSP) hardware.
Advanced Target Characterization and Defeat Systems
Deliver non-conventional defeat by providing functional, physical, and operational characterization and developing novel defeat systems for any class of targets.
Unconventional defeat approaches
As threats in the form of hard or deeply-buried targets evolve, Integrated Military Systems (IMS) continues to develop non-traditional concepts for systems capable of rapidly penetrating these targets. When combined with traditional and non-traditional defeat mechanisms, these concepts and technologies provide new approaches to non-nuclear defeat of strategic hard or deeply-buried targets.
Hard deeply buried target defeat
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) develops concepts and systems that can rapidly characterize hard and deeply buried targets. Pertinent capabilities include unattended ground sensors, advanced activity detection and characterization algorithms and 3D geophysical modeling tools for sensor placement planning. Air-delivered sensors have also been demonstrated. When combined with traditional and non-traditional defeat mechanisms these systems provide a new approach to non-nuclear defeat of strategic hard or deeply-buried targets.
Air-delivered unattended ground sensors
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) draws upon its breadth of technologies and expertise in systems engineering, aerodynamic systems, penetration mechanics and system integration to develop and demonstrate air-delivered unattended sensor systems. These systems are engineered to be compact, power efficient and hardened against shock so that they may be delivered by air. Engineering of both aerodynamic and terradynamic behavior is required to achieve desired delivery accuracy while extremely low power embedded processing systems are required to maximize battery life and time on station.
Rugged, power efficient embedded systems
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) develops rugged, power efficient systems for use in a variety of technologies. Using advanced design elements to control systems behavior whether in the air or on the ground, systems are engineered to be increasingly robust and power efficient. For example, while other devices might shatter after dropping thousands of feet, IMS's air-delivered sensor systems are designed to be compact and hardened against shock. This means the sensor systems are robust and capable of performing system functions after impacting the earth at high velocities. Further, IMS experts also embed low power processing systems in the sensors enhancing the amount of time the systems are able to gather and transmit data. Since the sensors are unattended, the use of these processing systems makes these sensors extremely power efficient, maximizing battery life and time on station.
Real-time distributed processing
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) develops netted unattended ground sensor systems to detect, accurately characterize and reliably locate potential targets. Supporting core national security mission needs of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and other federal agencies, these systems provide real-time sensing for a variety of applications including security, surveillance and asset protection.
IMS's netted unattended ground sensor system designs combine advanced algorithms, low power embedded electronics and networked communications enabling information-sharing at both the data- and feature-level. With enhanced methods of gathering and analyzing information, it also provides a real-time distributed processing environment necessary to ensure the timeliness and accuracy of data transmission. IMS experts implement layered data fusion architectures that match processing power to function need at each layer. This optimizes system performance while minimizing the system's power needs.
Explosives testing and applications
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) provides end-to-end explosive competencies, including arming and firing systems, explosives and firing systems, unique test facilities and specialized training. IMS specializes in the design and development of operational arming and firing systems for various gas guns and the Z Machine, a Sandia technology that determines how materials will react under high pressures and temperatures. IMS also provides research, design, development, prototype and test capabilities for explosive components and explosive systems. Utilizing its unique facilities and expertise, IMS delivers specialized threat assessment, recognition and render safe training to national security missions and other first responders.
Arming and firing systems
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) engages in the research, design, development, manufacture and testing of arming and firing systems for the safe control of energetic materials. Arming and Firing system experts rapidly derive innovative solutions to a variety of complex explosives and arming and firing engineering problems. Leveraging expertise in fields including explosives technology, high-voltage electronics, electromechanical design and field test engineering, IMS provides a full-service, fast-reaction response to customer needs. IMS's expertise in arming and firing systems applies to a broad spectrum of local, national and global needs, whether providing quick turnaround technology to field teams or training and render-safe instruction courses to warfighters and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community at large.
Threat and Evaluation Mitigation
Draw on our legacy nuclear, advanced flight systems, shock physics, and high performance computing capabilities to conduct system effectiveness and performance assessments.
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) combines principles of engineering and lethality assessments to model and analyze missile threats and determine the effectiveness of defensive systems designed to defeat them. Heavily leveraging Sandia National Laboratories' legacy nuclear weapons work in both threat lethality modeling and analysis, IMS applies over six decades of experience to target lethality.
IMS experts assess a threat's flight characteristics by conducting detailed analyses of its mechanical and system designs. Using engineering principles and simple models, and utilizing extensive experience with flight systems, Sandia's experts develop detailed designs to acutely characterize and model the vehicle's behavior. Then, using high performance computing to model the complex physics of high velocity impacts between kinetic weapons and reentry vehicles such as high explosive initiation and structural breakup, experts develop a comprehensive picture of the defensive system's effectiveness.
Advanced Weapon Systems
Widely regarded as game-changing technology for both industry and the military, Directed Energy Systems deliver precise, concentrated energy to a target at the speed of light. These systems are effective from tactical distances and provide significant advances that enable and control full-spectrum effects on the target. The CHAMP high power microwave missile project, for example, is a nonlethal weapon system that holds enemy electronics systems at risk by delivering high peak power electromagnetic pulses to the target to disrupt or damage the systems leaving the humans and the buildings intact. This type of scalable effect gives the warfighter key options for escalating engagements on the battlefield. IMS experts engage in full-spectrum development of directed energy systems. With expertise spanning the entire development cycle from fundamental science to the transition of systems prototypes to end users, they design and apply directed energy systems to generate reliable, precise technology enabling significant strategic advantage. IMS's primary focus resides in technologies related to high power microwaves, radio frequencies, laser systems, electromagnetic launching, and advanced power systems.
Why Directed Energy?
- Precision Engagement
- Concentrated Energy
- Speed-of-Light Delivery
- Controlled Effects
- Strategic Advantage
Ultra-short Pulse Lasers
Recognized as the national experts in Ultra-short Pulse Lasers (USPL), with mobile test capabilities in the desert and maritime environments, laser technology develop at Sandia draws upon national security mission related work to provide unique capabilities on the frontier of short pulse lasers. USPL activities range from fundamental science to innovation in sources and techniques, to application development and testing, with diverse applications such as:
- Directed Energy
- Target Effects
- Remote Sensing
- Nonlinear Spectroscopy
- Ultra-wideband Laser Communications
- High Energy Density Pulsed Plasma Radiation Sources & Diagnostics
- Compact Tunable Sources
- Ultra-short Pulse Laser Diagnostics
- Directed Energy
High Power Electromagnetics
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) is a leader in the development of High Power Electromagnetic (HPEM) weapon technologies. The Counter electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Program (CHAMP) is the nation's first weaponized High Power Microwave system and IMS was a key contributor to the development, implementation and testing of the underlying enabling technologies. CHAMP provides the warfighter with a unique non-lethal alternative that may ultimately save lives in future conflicts. The success of the CHAMP flight test is the single most important event in the history of High Power Microwave technology at Sandia and indicates that the technology is a viable solution with tremendous military utility. IMS works in all aspects of HPEM to include high power microwave systems and sources, compact Pulsed Power, photoconductive semiconductor switches, radio‐frequency sources, and counter electronics effects testing and modeling.
Electromagnetic Propulsion & Launch
Integrated Military Systems (IMS) applies its vast pool of technical expertise to solve the most difficult issues in the emerging field of electromagnetic (EM) launch. As a developing area with potential applications ranging from accelerating a projectile to launching an aircraft, IMS is involved in many areas of EM launch research and development for the Department of Defense and other mission applications.
IMS performs a combination of fundamental and applied research in areas including high magnetic fields, pulsed power and EM launch. Leveraging this foundational research basis with ongoing EM-related activities, engineers develop components and diagnostics for EM launches, as well as flight vehicles and integrated packages, and inductive and rail launcher components and systems. Then, to assess the viability of a variety of EM propulsion technology including launchers, guns, motors and actuators, IMS demonstrates and tests at both the system- and design-level to ensure that products function properly and meet mission and application requirements.
The Electromagnetic Railgun, for example, is a long-range, high-energy gun launch system that uses electricity generated by the ship that is stored in a pulsed power system to launch projectiles, rather than using traditional gun powder or rocket motors. Fulfilling a long-standing need for long-range, precision volume fires, the Electromagnetic Railgun is expected to revolutionize naval surface fire support and time critical strike. It places Sailors and Marines at a safe tactical distance, simplifies logistics, and eliminates the presence of hazardous firing materials, while developing capabilities for strikes at more than 100 nautical miles, and potential multi-mission applications.
Military System of Systems Analytics
For more than 15 years, Sandia's Military Systems Analysis program has provided the DoD with support in areas that involve system, system of systems (SoS), and enterprise acquisition, readiness, sustainment, and operations. By performing cutting-edge R&D and developing unique modeling and simulation (M&S) tools that combine the latest technologies in M&S with advanced statistics and optimization techniques, we support customers addressing their most challenging national security decisions.
In today's fiscally constrained environment, every military service is facing difficult trades as they decide where to invest so that the United States maintains military superiority. Our team has extensive experience and proven tools and capabilities that complement and extend existing DoD capabilities.
- Optimization for Modernization, Technology Management, Portfolio/Fleet Composition, and Systems Engineering
- System and System of Systems Assessments and Trade Studies
- Systems Performance/Operational Effectiveness
- Advanced Modeling and Analytics
- Reliability, Logistics and Sustainability Analysis
- Energy and Cyber Security Analysis
Whole System Trade Analysis Tool (WSTAT)Provides defendable analytic underpinning decisions regarding system designs and provides the ability to aggressively explore and evaluate the complex trade space that exists between component-level design decisions and system-level stakeholder value areas (e.g., performance, investment cost, schedule risk, growth potential, operating cost).
- Inform Requirements:
- Evaluate the ability of optimum system configurations to meet performance requirements
- Assess the tradeoffs among opposing requirements
- Evaluate the impacts of meeting certain requirements (on cost, other requirements, or system characteristics)
- Exploring Tradeoffs:
- Assess which technologies are cornerstones of an optimal system design strategy
- Explore technology trends at different cost points, weights, performance target goals, etc.
- Inform Requirements:
Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT)Produce decisions regarding portfolio resourcing and capability decisions for a large fleet of systems and provides the ability to execute comprehensive investment plans that ensure an optimal balance between capability, cost, and schedule.
- Trade Studies:
- Evaluate modernization strategies and courses of action for input to high-level portfolio reviews
- Assess modernization alternatives under different funding levels
- Evaluate current modernization plans for impacts on performance and cost, and provide insight into operational and industrial base impacts
- Investigate how decisions in a single modernization program impact the entire fleet
- Sensitivity Analysis:
- Assess which programs are cornerstones of an optimal modernization strategy
- Evaluate robustness of modernization strategy to changes in program cost, performance, and/or schedule
- Trade Studies:
Systems of Systems Analysis Toolset (SoSAT)Provides a large-scale System of Systems (SoS) stochastic simulation capability for analyzing integrated SoS mission scenarios. SoSAT supports multiple user definable performance metrics, modeling of system interdependencies and shared functionality, performance measurements of functionally interdependent SoS, SoS trade study modeling, analysis, and performance assessment, and reliability and functional availability analysis.
- Modernization upgrade impact analysis
- Evaluation of energy efficiency improvements
- Acquisition decisions
- Operation and support cost analysis
- Footprint reduction and impact analysis
- Sustainment assessment
- Vulnerability analysis
- Applicable in industries as diverse as defense, energy, aviation, and healthcare
Military Systems & Analysis Fact Sheet
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The Human Dimension seeks to enhance the warrior's ability to plan, perceive, think and act in high consequence situations. Through an understanding of human perception, reasoning and decision processes, the Human Dimension effort improves C4ISR and weapons systems design, as well as the warriors' analytic, planning, training, and battlefield-shaping abilities.
Behavior Influence Assessment (BIA)
BIA is a capability to assess likely outcomes of events or planned courses of action. It integrates theoretical understanding of human perception, reasoning and decision processes into a cognitive model, populates that model with data for groups or individuals, and links them in a dynamic interaction of key players for blue and red forces. This capability gives military intelligence, planners, and policy analysts a theory-based means of capturing, modeling and assessing likely outcomes of options over time, with quantified uncertainty and transparency.
Automated Expert Modeling and Student Evaluation
With the Automated Expert Modeling and Student Evaluation (AEMASE) capability, Student performance is automatically assessed during simulation training exercises, with deficiencies in student knowledge and skills flagged in an instructor's after-action debrief tool. uses methods from machine learning to construct models of proficient and non-proficient performance. These models then provide the basis for automated assessments of student performance. Flags are placed on a timeline to indicate events during an exercise the instructor may emphasize during debrief. Then, using the timeline, the instructor may easily navigate a recording of the exercise to illustrate key points.
These capabilities reduce the workload on instructors allowing them to better target training to the unique needs of each student, while accomplishing more with their available time and resources. Applied in other ways, these capabilities could be used to augment the performance of operators in the field by flagging departures from expert behavior or best practice.
Neurons to Algorithms (N2A)
Neurons to Algorithms (N2A) is a neural modeling language along with a tool to develop and run simulations on supercomputers. It operates within the same basic mathematical approach as BIA (described above), enabling models that cross a wide range of scales. It primarily simulates functions of the human brain. You may analyze mental health processes such as PTSD or schizophrenia and develop interventions that enhance individual performance or well-being. You may also construct agents to perform pattern classification and other intelligent computational tasks.
Human Performance Lab
The Human Performance Lab applies methods from cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience to researching human cognitive performance in a variety of national security contexts. The Lab's capabilities include 128-channel and 64-channel electroencephalography (EEG) systems, a portable 16-channel EEG system, eye tracking, behavioral testing, and data analysis tools.
Automating Internet searches to seek websites mirroring or related to a specific area of interest can significantly reduce an analyst's work effort. The time for an analyst to search the Internet is significantly decreased while the results returned are likely to be more extensive and more relevant than what a manual search might produce. Sandia National Laboratories' Avondale web-crawler provides the capability to automate Internet searches, giving an analyst a list of web pages prioritized by the similarity they have to single or multiple document sources that characterize an area of interest.