Various Project Highlights
The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) Program is a technology development effort to support the United States Army's response to the call for a Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) capability. CPGS systems are envisioned to provide a rapid capability of executing a conventional strike anywhere on the globe. This unique capability would provide strategic advantage to the United States armed forces in rapidly developing crisis situations, as well as enhancing global security by providing a credible alternative to nuclear weapons in some situations.
The AHW system combines depressed trajectory boost with long duration hypersonic glide to provide a treaty-compliant CPGS solution. The AHW technology development flight system uses a STARS booster to launch the Hypersonic Glide Body (HGB) on an all endoatmospheric flight. Both the STARS booster system and HGB are designed, developed, integrated, and fielded by Sandia.
The Aegis Readiness Assessment Vehicle - Group C (ARAV-C) project's primary objective is to design, develop, fabricate, characterize and test U.S. Navy ballistic missile target systems. These activities are performed under the authority of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWCPHD).
The ARAV-C missile stack-up consists of two solid propellant rocket motors: a TALOS first stage and a Castor I second stage. Forward of the second stage is the mounted vehicle support module (VSM), telemetry (TM), attitude control module (ACM), and nose tip. Sandia is responsible for developing the ACM as a component of ARAV-C. The Sandia-built ACM assembly consists of an electronics section subassembly (ESS) on the forward end and a propulsion section subassembly (PSS) on the aft end. The ACM controls aspects of the target system trajectory and mission profile, so integration of ACM supplied by Sandia with the overall ARAV-C system is important to the overall mission success.
The Counter-electronics High power microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program was the first to demonstrate a counter-electronics HPM aerial demonstrator. CHAMP demonstrated the efficacy of an integrated high power microwave source and missile in the counter electronics mission through fully functional flight tests. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) managed the CHAMP project. Boeing was the system integrator and airborne platform provider with Raytheon Ktech as the prime subcontractor responsible for the HPM source.
Sandia provided both hardware and technical advice to the CHAMP JCTD as part of the government team. The primary hardware provided was several high voltage, high current, high power, compact pulsed power (Marx bank) systems to drive the HPM source. We also assisted with source development and field testing. The primary accomplishments include 1) the development and delivery of five different Marx systems (two engineering development systems, one ground test system, and two flight systems) to support CHAMP development and integration program, 2) development and demonstration of a first-of-its-kind dual pulse Marx system, and 3) an improved insulator stack design for the source.
The Sandia CHAMP team is also executing an internally funded Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project to develop tools and techniques for electronic battle damage assessments (eBDA). The LDRD project team was integrated with the CHAMP tests at the Utah Test and Training Range, leveraging the data collected in the JCTD into initial studies of the eBDA LDRD project.
A multi-disciplinary team at Sandia supports the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Electromagnetic Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype program being executed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia. Working closely with Navy teams, Sandia staff has engaged in (1) modeling and simulation of aerothermal protection systems, high-speed sliding electrical interface, armature and rail geometries, and projectile effects, (2) selection, assesment, and development of materials, (3) development of advanced instrumentation, and (4) pulsed power assessments.
Research and development for the Navy's EM Railgun will positively impact the warfighter in a number of ways:
- Wide Area Coverage (increased speed to target 100 nautical miles)
- Accelerates OPTEMPO (faster attrition of enemy personnel and equipment, operation timeline shifts left)
- Reduces Cost per Kill (lower unit cost, lower handling cost)
- Enhances Safety (no risk of sympathetic detonation, simplified storage, transport, and replenishment, reduced collateral damage, no unexploded ordnance on battlefield)
- Reduces Logistics (eliminates gun powder tail, deep magazines)
Click here to visit ONR's EM Railgun Program page.
Stingray developed by Sandia and its Albuquerque-based industry partner TEAM Technologies is a long-awaited lifesaver in the form of a shoebox-sized plastic structure that shoots a blade of water, which cuts through steel and disables deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The water-filled device is placed near a suspected bomb or package and shreds or punches a hole in it before it detonates. The device is small enough to be carried in a soldier’s backpack and rugged enough to be placed by a robot.
The clear plastic device is filled with water and an explosive that, when detonated, creates a shock wave, which travels through the water and accelerates it inward into a concave opening. Therefore, when the water collides, it produces a thin blade. This very precise water blade penetrates and does a precision destruction of whatever IED it’s going up against. Immediately behind the precision water blade is a water slug, which performs a general disruption that tears everything apart. Unlike traditional explosives, which release energy equally in all directions when they go off, researchers have used shaped-charge technology to deliberately manipulate explosives so they create a specific shape when they explode. This allows the operator to focus IED-killing energy precisely where it’s needed.
Since mid-2010, at least 5,000 Stingrays have been deployed to the field, most in Afghanistan. Additionally, some law enforcement agencies have some in hand. And, since becoming available for order, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has gotten some units to be used at various training events for its officers.
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico are comparing supercomputer simulations of blast waves on the brain with clinical studies of veterans suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to help improve helmet designs, and are in the final year of a four-year study of mild TBI funded by the Office of Naval Research. The team hopes to identify threshold levels of stress and energy on which better military and sports helmet designs could be based. They could be used to program sensors placed on helmets to show whether a blast is strong enough to cause TBI. Many TBI sufferers experience no or subtle immediate symptoms that may keep them from seeking medical attention. The sensors could alert them to a potential problem.
The study is the only TBI research that combines computer modeling and simulation of the physical effects of a blast with analyses of clinical magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of patients who suffer such injuries. At Sandia, researchers created a computer model of a man’s head and neck. The model includes the jaw — another first in TBI research — because a lot of blasts come from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at ground level, sending waves traveling at the speed of sound through the jaw and facial structure before they reach the brain.
On the clinical side, UNM researchers studied 13 subjects who suffered mild TBI after IEDs exploded near them. Some were stunned, most lost consciousness at least briefly, and most cannot hold a job. The research showed that certain regions of patients’ brains are hyperactive, perhaps because they are compensating for adjacent, damaged areas of the brain that were hit with high energy from the blasts. The hyperactive regions are those that experienced the least shear and tensile energies, according to the computer simulations, which can be used to predict where the hyperactivity will likely occur. This data is used to validate what the simulation shows with the clinical reality.