Navy Technology Transfer Navy Technology Transfer


Air Vehicle Global Positioning System Backup Navigation System

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake

Answering the call for military flight test applications, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake engineers invented a triple redundancy solution for precise position, navigation and timing (PNT) in a low cost, size, weight, and power (c-SWAP) solution. Global positioning system (GPS) is accurate to a few meters, but the new Time-Space-Position-Information (TSPI) technology, using differential corrections, could be accurate to within a few centimeters. The invention uses an onboard inertial navigation system tightly coupled with GPS but also adds an independent onboard PNT system using pseudo-satellites (“pseudolites”) and ground-based algorithms to locate the air vehicle transmitter signals. The invention provides the Navy with a novel approach for TSPI in several areas, including GPS denied environments, highly dynamic aircraft, unmanned air vehicles, and highly-dynamic guided weapons. This new technology could be a game-changer by enabling a more accurate, reliable, cost-effective addition to the use of GPS for some manned and unmanned systems flight testing and their integration into NextGen. While this patent is primarily for military applications, possibilities exist for commercial aviation as well.

Apparatus and Methods for Forming Hollow Spheres

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division seeks partners to license and commercialize this device and process to manufacture high-strength and stiffness cellular materials. The patented foams made from amorphous hollow spheres combine to make cellular structures of high strength and stiffness. These structures are built from millions of microscopic glass (or metallic-glass) bubbles—about the diameter of a human hair—into new super-strong, super-light, shock absorbing, and buoyant constructs. Test results show that the cellular material made from these spheres dissipated more mechanical energy for a given volume than any other cellular material on the planet (14.8 megajoules per cubic meter). Navy researchers have continued their work on this material with a focus on devices for scalable production and their related processes. This technology accommodates high-melting point materials including ceramics and composites, and a modular nozzle assembly wherein the relative position of the gas and liquid material outlets may be controllably adjusted in any dimension.

Aqua-Quad—Hybrid Mobile Vehicle for Persistent Surface and Underwater Exploration

Naval Postgraduate School

The Naval Postgraduate School has developed and patented a prototype hybrid vehicle that integrates features and capabilities of a drifting sonobuoy and a multirotor vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). As such, Aqua-Quad integrates a multicopter UAV with a tethered underwater vector sensor, environmentally hardened electronics, communication links for local mobile ad hoc network and global reach (Iridium), and a solar recharge system. A current application of the autonomous system is for detection, classification, and underwater target motion estimation using self-contained electronics and algorithms for extended periods of time. The Aqua-Quads are intelligent, mobile, collaborative platforms that ride on ocean currents and fly over significant distances when required by the mission. Flight is triggered to enable rapid repositioning for underwater target tracking, collision avoidance, and communication with neighboring vehicles.

Atmospheric Plasma Tool

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has devised a means by which atmospheric plasma technology can be used to improve the structural adhesive bonding process. Plasma is ionized gas, and has been called a fourth state of matter behind the more familiar solids, liquids and gases. FRCSW has found that low-temperature low-pressure atmospheric plasma can be used to effectively prepare composite and metallic materials for effective bonding between parts. This patent-pending technology eliminates the use of hazardous materials chemicals while cleaning the part ten times more quickly. This innovation has allowed FRCSW to reduce turnaround time on parts, improve efficiency, decrease costs and ultimately provide a better product in support of the warfighter.

Autonomous Collision Avoidance Navigation System

Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (formerly Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic)

This patent by Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic will autonomously control an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in compliance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea Rule 19(d) regarding “Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility” that must be obeyed when navigating on open water. This software was built using fuzzy logic mathematical rules. This patent provides an advantage in that in addition to assigning the USV a mission to go from point A to point B, the USV can operate as if a “captain” were onboard and making autonomous navigation decisions using a route tracking algorithm, detecting an obstacle’s bearing, speed, distance, and direction of travel with respect to the ownship, then changing speed and ownship heading to change course, then resume the route tracking algorithm when the obstacle is cleared from probable collision.

Black Ghost

Naval Research Laboratory

Black ghost is a turboshaft engine powered generator for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) propulsion. It will run on jet fuel, produce 16 hp of shaft power or 11 kW of electric power, weighs 16 pounds and has a specific fuel consumption around .6 lb/hp-hr. It has the potential to be more quiet, more reliable, and longer lasting than internal combustion engines, with a lower cost per flight hour. Black ghost will improve the reliability and endurance of small tactical UAVs, and enable stealthier aircraft that can operate on standard military fuels. It will reduce operating and maintenance costs, and provide more onboard electric power for small long-endurance UAVs, which will improve their payload and mission capabilities.

Center-of-Gravity Determination Apparatus for Fixed Wing Aerial Systems

Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (formerly Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic)

The general purpose of this invention by Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic is to measure the center-of-gravity (CoG) of a micro unmanned aerial system to ensure the aircraft is properly balanced around the intrinsic CoG. Integrating custom payloads onto the airframe can alter the CoG from the manufactured control position. Therefore, this tool can accurately and precisely measure the airframe’s CoG after payload integration and before flight, which allows the user to correct for any CoG differentials.

Detecting Counterfeit or Defective Microelectronic Devices

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division

It is increasingly important to have the ability to detect defective or counterfeit microelectronic devices in the marketplace. Defects or counterfeit devices can include parts that do not conform to their specification, are not authorized by an original equipment manufacturer, are being passed off as a new part, or have been subjected to one or more damage or stress events exceeding acceptable limits such as an electrostatic discharge event. System defect or supply chain problems are becoming more difficult given large volumes, difficulty in accessing parts in an assembly, and different sizes, shapes, and structures for mass produced parts. Thus, there is a need to improve electronic system supply chain defect detection capabilities which can be used at any stage in a supply chain. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division has developed a test system for measuring multiple test modalities to determine if a microelectronic device is defective or counterfeit. The system combines many different data sets to create a comprehensive set of data using simpler and less costly methods which provide a reliable and significantly accurate system permitting high capacity or high speed testing. It can be used to provide analysis in different locations of a supply chain for components in different part, end use, or packaging configurations.

Field-Ionization Based Electrical Space Ion Thruster Using a Permeable Substrate

Naval Postgraduate School

This technology from the Naval Postgraduate School is a dual propulsion system with a single-propellant source used for either a high specific impulse mode (an ion-thruster mode) or a low specific impulse mode (a cold-gas thruster mode). The high specific impulse mode utilizes a miniaturized positive-ion field ionization chamber which consists of a grid or other permeable substrate material infused with properly oriented carbon nanotubes through which the propellant flows. Field-electron emission from a neutralizer, such as a carbon nanotube array neutralizer, positioned downstream of accelerator grids may be used for ion neutralization. The low specific impulse mode utilizes conventional supersonic nozzles. When compared to conventional electron-bombardment-ionization, the system’s chamber is more compact and its field ionization provides only singly-charged positive ions. The positive ions generated are electrostatically repelled from the ionizer surface because it is an anode, obviating the ion-impingement cathode damage that has plagued prior-art ionizers. This translates into longer lifetime. Further, no magnets are required and no extra propellant is wasted in neutralization when electron-field emission neutralizers are used. The ionization chamber’s compactness enables ion thruster applications to small satellites.

Flying Sea Glider: Airborne Emplacement of Aerial Unmanned Vehicles

Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory is merging two separate research areas—unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—to significantly improve the tactical availability of UUVs in time-critical situations. The thrust of the flying sea glider program is to combine airplane and underwater gliding modes into a single vehicle. Possible applications include rapid-reaction measurements of oil spills and environmental disasters; emplacement into a storm while maintaining safe stand-off distance; and bypassing areas with high underwater currents.

Free-to-Pitch (F2P) Variable Pitch Propeller

Naval Research Laboratory

The aerodynamic properties of the F2P propeller blades are tailored to result in a positive-lift blade-pitch trim condition during operation. When operating conditions change and result in new inflow angles, blade pitch adjusts passively to the new trim pitch angle. By adjusting to operating conditions, the F2P propeller will operate efficiently over a greatly expanded flight envelope, improving field, climb, and speed performance for unmanned aerial vehicles. Widening of the efficient range of propeller operation will allow high-speed and/or high-altitude vehicles to retain good field performance for conventional take-off and landing, and will improve performance during off-design operation such as climbing (high-power low-speed), descents (low-power high-speed), and gliding (automatic blade feathering).

Guidance and Control of Uncertain Dynamical Systems

Naval Postgraduate School

This technology from the Naval Postgraduate School is a guidance system for controlling an object from an initial state to a final state over a time interval. The system provides trajectory planning by representing the uncertainties present during the transit as hyper-pseudospectral (HS) points, rather than randomly varying the uncertainties over a distribution as might be performed in a Monte Carlo type evaluation. The system produces the HS points by effectively generating a mathematical space of uncertain parameters, and effectively establishing an axis on each dimension so that each axis corresponds to one of the identified varying parameters. The processor assigns a statistical distribution type to each axis and maps the corresponding parameter to the axis. The HS points are selected from this mathematical space and thereby represents a potential and combined impact of all the parameters of interest, when the parameters of interest are distributed over their assigned statistical distribution. The system selects a group of such HS points from within the defined mathematical space to represent the combined impacts, then generates a constraint for an optimization using the HS points. As a result, the resulting system controls provide a control solution where a navigating object is driven from an initial state to a final state in a manner that significantly mitigates the impact of the combined uncertainties present.

High Performance Missile Control Actuation System

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake

This invention from Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake exemplifies the intricacy and importance of each of the hundreds of components critical to accurate missile functionality. The heart of this invention is the perpendicular drive configuration, which allows the use of very high-efficiency lead screws for greatly increased torque. This invention is a 100% improvement upon existing control actuation systems that guide a missile to a target. Until now, all control actuation systems have had the motor and lead screw oriented parallel to the missile center axis. A perpendicular orientation is counterintuitive and, upon first glance, has no obvious benefit. However, as the design took shape, the tally of advantages increased far beyond what was expected. The result is a far superior design that ensures a smoother flight, providing less motion in the seeker video and more accurate target tracking. In short, higher performance is achieved at a lower cost. The modular design, easy assembly, and the fact that the first prototype was three-dimensional printed using ABS plastic, just like Legos®, led engineers to nickname it the “Lego® CAS.” Testing of the fully functional prototype is underway. This technology can be used in any commercial application that requires precise motion in a small package without compromising power output.

High Value Silicon Carbide from Agricultural Waste

Naval Research Laboratory

Research scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have shown that using high temperatures or microwaves many agricultural wastes can be transformed into high value silicon carbide (SiC) consisting of nanostructures and nanorods in various polytypes. Billions of pounds of agricultural waste are generated every year worldwide. Rice and wheat husks, corn stalks, cobs, sorghum leaves, peanut shells and other residues are considered to have no value and are plowed into fields or incinerated. Normal incineration temperatures create environmental problems by releasing ash, carbon dioxide, and nanoparticles into the air. However, these agricultural wastes have significantly high silica content in a molecular state in close proximity to hydrocarbons. Silicon carbide is used for electronic and structural devices due to its high breakdown voltage, chemical inertness, high thermal conductivity, dimensional stability, wide band gap, high radiation resistance, thermal shock resistance, and mechanical hardness. Scientists are engaged in transforming these silicon carbide nanomaterials into transparent windows and domes for applications as armor, hypersonic missiles, and thermal control of thin disc lases. Potential uses of SiC for chemical sensing, optical metamaterials, structural composites and nanoscale electronic devices are also being investigated at NRL as well as applications which promise enhancements in infrared spectroscopy.

Induction Charge Transfer Method for Neutralizing Electrostatic Charge Generation

Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (formerly Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic)

This patented invention is a self-contained induction charge transfer system for neutralizing helicopter electrostatic charging. The invention works by inducing an equal and opposite charge on an interconnected set of metal spheres when an excess positive or minus charge has accumulated on the airframe of the helicopter. Since the spheres are metallic the electric field has to be zero in the metal so the metal sphere furthest from the airframe will have the same amount of charge that is induced on the nearest sphere but of the opposite polarity. Then the two metallic spheres are separated (either mechanically or by using a wide band gap switch). Electronics are then used to remove the charge from the two spheres at a controlled rate so that the charge induced on the sphere nearest to the airframe reduces an equal amount electrostatic charge from the airframe while the charge on the metal sphere furthest from the airframe has its charge removed to a storage battery. The two metal spheres are then electrically connected together again to repeat the process. When the rate of these induction cycles exceeds the helicopter charging rate no charge is allowed to build up on the airframe. The induction charge transfer system automatically removes either positive or negative polarity of electrostatic charges from the airframe.

Method and Apparatus for Contingency Guidance of a Control Moment Gyroscope

Naval Postgraduate School

The Naval Postgraduate School has developed a method and apparatus for contingency guidance of a control moment gyroscope (CMG). The invention provides a new approach for attitude control of CMG-equipped spacecraft in the event of actuator failures. This is done by finding feasible guidance command trajectories that, by the method of the patent, ensure that remaining CMGs in the array are steered away from singular states so that a maneuver between a starting orientation and a desired final orientation can be successfully performed despite the failure of one or more CMGs. The invention provides a significant advance over the current practice in which the flight software must be modified to insert changes to the spacecraft control system, control laws or steering law in order to accommodate the failed CMGs. The guidance trajectories resulting from the application of this invention can be implemented using the existing attitude control system and thus avoid costly flight software changes. Since the invention provides solutions for contingency operation of a spacecraft where one or more CMGs are in a failed state or otherwise inoperative, the useful life of a CMG-equipped spacecraft can be extended. The invention has applications in new and existing Navy, Department of Defense and commercial satellite systems that utilize CMGs.

Method and Apparatus for Determining Spacecraft Maneuvers

Naval Postgraduate School

The Naval Postgraduate School has developed and patented a new approach for designing and implementing shortest-time maneuvers to improve the agility of control moment gyroscope (CMG) actuated spacecraft. The invention does not require changes to the system hardware or control algorithms to realize the improvement in maneuver speed. The invention can be used to reduce the size of the attitude control hardware while meeting existing requirements on maneuver performance. The invention integrates with existing attitude control systems and CMG steering laws by determining command trajectories for optimized satellite maneuvers that are fully compatible with existing feedback laws. This approach reduces actuator steering errors and other dynamical errors that occur when a maneuver is executed on-board a satellite; thus improving the reliability of the system. The invention has applications in new and existing Department of Defense and commercial satellite systems where agile maneuvers of satellites are needed to meet mission demands including imaging and related remote sensing systems. The invention can also be applied to satellites using reaction wheels for attitude control. The invention has been successfully implemented on the Honeywell Momentum Control Systems testbed at their facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Method and Apparatus for Singularity Avoidance for Control Moment Gyroscope Systems Without Using Null Motion

Naval Postgraduate School

Military spacecraft often utilize control moment gyroscopes for general attitude control as well as fine pointing to accomplish their naval mission. However, these moment gyroscopes have mathematical singularities that restrict space operators to only using a very small portion of the gyroscope’s capacity in order to avoid loss of attitude control where the spacecraft is unable to provide control torque in the desired direction when a singularity is struck. The Naval Postgraduate School has invented methods to minimize these mathematical singularities, avoid the remaining singularities, and even penetrate singularities without loss of attitude control, yielding the potential to fully utilize the moment gyroscope’s capabilities to perform rapid spacecraft maneuvers in prosecution of military space missions. These innovations have been theoretically developed, verified in computer simulations, and validated in laboratory experiments on a free-floating spacecraft simulator.

Method for Real-Time Optimization of Parafoil Landing Maneuver

Naval Postgraduate School

The Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Center at the Naval Postgraduate School developed a method allowing to constantly recompute a final turn maneuver for the aerial unmanned vehicle, following a standard landing pattern, based on the current and desired terminal states obeying all dynamic and operational constraints. This allows mitigating an effect of unknown surface-layer winds which is especially important for unpowered systems including unpowered self-guided precision aerial delivery systems. Along with other innovations, this method allows reducing touchdown accuracy by the order of magnitude.

Micro-Coupling Active Release Mechanism

Naval Postgraduate School

Shape memory alloy (SMA) is formed as a cylindrical shaft which is press-fit into a steel hub creating an interference joint. This joint is capable of holding parts such as emergency doors, satellite solar panels, or tamper locks securely together until release is actuated either actively or passively. SMAs exist in two phases: a high temperature austenitic phase and low temperature martensitic phase, each with unique material properties. Press-fitting the SMA shaft in its larger detwinned martensitic phase into the steel hub allows it to be subsequently released by heating the SMA shaft to its activation temperature. Heating the SMA induces a “shrink-wrap” shape change as the SMA converts from the martensitic phase to the austenitic phase resulting in a decrease in the diameter of the SMA shaft. The interference joint shaft and hub no longer have frictional forces holding them together and now allow the SMA shaft to slip out of the steel hub effectively uncoupling the interference joint and releasing any previously connected parts. This invention has application in systems where dependable release mechanisms are needed.

New Missile Antenna is Smaller, Stronger—More Flexible Design

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake

The Department of Defense required a surface-recessed, high-performance antenna to survive the heat of long range and fast flight. In the past, slotted antennas generally included tapered loads or resonant loads positioned behind the antenna’s radiating slot or at the end of the slot. However, the physical size of the load is relatively long and thus not optimal when the antenna is to be located in a confined space or there are size limitations based on the antenna. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake engineers conceived and developed an efficient, directed, small-sized antenna that could handle higher temperatures for extended periods and survive harsh conditions. The new metal antenna is short, very efficient, low profile, with precision controlled side lobes that is applicable from radio frequency to millimeter frequencies. This waveguide design has the ability to control both amplitude and phase independently by adjusting the slot offset and the internal ridge width and height for that offset. The new design has shown a 50% improvement over existing technology and went into limited production.

PEEK™-Like Phthalonitriles: Base Resin Manufacturing

Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory has developed a new class of PEEK™-like phthalonitrile (PN) resins, when in the melt-state, are easily processed and cured, and produce high temperature thermosets. The PN base resins are synthesized in a two-step, one-pot reaction in quantitative yields and require no further purification (n < 1). A simple workup, along with utilizing cost effective starting materials, make manufacturing these new PN resins competitive to other thermoset base resins. The resin formulations are indefinitely stable under ambient conditions and can be prepared either as a powder or to a specified viscosity (and gel time) for use in existing commercial resin processes. An example of such phthalonitrile-based products are polymer matrix composites (PMC) which exhibit high thermal and oxidative stability approaching 500 °C (930 °F) in air, have low water absorption, retain structural integrity in a fire environment, and show thermal properties that exceed Navy expectations for composite ship and aircraft applications.

PEEK™-Like Phthalonitriles: Melt-Processable, High Temperature Polymers

Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory has developed a new class of PEEK™-like phthalonitrile (PN) resins for use in a variety of applications due to their ease of processability when in a melt-state followed by curing to produce high-temperature, high-char polymeric thermosets. The PN resins, where n < 1, were initially designed to fabricate polymer matrix composites (PMC) by cost effective manufacturing methods such as resin transfer molding, a type of out of autoclave processing. The resin formulations are indefinitely stable under ambient conditions and can be prepared to various viscosities and gel times for use in all commercial resin processes. Phthalonitrile-based PMCs exhibit high thermal and oxidative stability approaching 500 °C (930 °F) in air, have low water absorption, retain structural integrity in a fire environment, and show thermal properties that exceed Navy expectations for composite ship and aircraft applications.

Precision Ground Measurements from an Unmanned Aerial System Platform

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division

Navy researchers have developed an aerial platform based measurement system configured to operate in a variety of locations to measure distances, determine ground points, analyze the speed of moving objects, and perform other velocity measurements and analyses. The unmanned aerial system platform is configured to establish a measurement or coordinate area in which to detect objects, the distance between objects relative to each other, and the velocity of objects moving within the area. The system includes an inertial measurement unit to determine attitude, a global navigation satellite system, a scaling unit and a gimbal control unit. The system could be used for speed monitoring in both law enforcement and recreational or professional sports settings. The system is easily deployed to monitor traffic and can monitor vehicular velocities over a diversity of terrain such as flat or irregular ground. The system’s precision is based on laser rangefinder or LIDAR, an altimeter, or any other device configured for distance measurement between a ground point and camera.

Radiation Hardened by Design Power Structures

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division has developed a patent-pending suite of innovative radiation hardened by design (RHBD) power structures addressing an array of radiation issues exhibited by commercial power devices, such as single-event gate rupture, single-event burnout, and ionizing radiation. These RHBD power structures provide unique operating characteristics and performance that lowers manufacturing costs, allows for smaller sizes, reduces overall weight, and supports higher voltages which lead to more design options and flexibility for products. Device designs allow for easy integration into existing fabrication processes with minimal effort and costs. They can be fabricated as a discrete power device or fabricated into more complex integrated circuits such as linear or analog circuits.

Sampling System for Ground Level Aircraft Engine Particle Matter Emission Measurement

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest

The Navy’s Aircraft Environmental Support Office at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest
has developed a ground level sampling system for aircraft engine particle matter emission testing. The system overcame the challenge of large thrust variation ranging from idle to military power setting for aircraft emission tests. This sampling system design created a steady sampling condition that allows accurate emission data collection using one set of sensitive instrument for testing engine emissions under various power settings.

Spar Cutting Tool Steamlines Wing Repairs

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Industrial Services Branch was tasked with finding a way to safely and efficiently remove broken spars from the inner wing of an F/A-
18 Hornet aircraft. The present method of hand cutting to remove chunks inevitably ruins one side or the other, requiring a new section to be machined and perfectly cut for realignment.
The FRCSW patented spar cutting tool cuts any spar, in any place, to five thousandths of an inch from the wing’s carbon skin. The tool saves hundreds of man hours and thousands of dollars in rebuilding a wing.

System for Measuring and Broadcasting Current Surface Winds

Naval Postgraduate School

The Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Center at the Naval Postgraduate School has developed a simple solution to improve landing performance of unpowered aerial payload delivery systems by measuring current surface winds and uplinking them to the descending system. The communication engine may be based on existing cellular networks or standard radio frequency communication.

WANDA: A Fish Inspired Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory has developed an actively controlled curvature robotic fin based on the pectoral fin of a coral reef fish, the bird wrasse (Gomphosus varius). This fin, which generates three-dimensional vectored thrust through actuation of fin and fin rib stroke angles, has been integrated onto a man-portable, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) called WANDA (Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automation). The aim of WANDA is to achieve low speed maneuvering and station keeping capabilities in shallow waters, under waves, and in the presence of dynamically changing currents. By weighting and combining various fin gaits, WANDA performs controlled maneuvers including forward, reverse and vertical translation, and turn-in-place rotation. WANDA is designed to operate at a full range of speeds from zero to two knots, or hold position in up to two-knot currents, giving it the low-speed capability many traditional UUVs lack. This technology opens up missions in ports, harbors, and other shoreline areas to include monitoring, and covert and riverine operations.