Cost Effective Materials and Manufacturing for Range Extension Wing Kits

Period of Performance: 06/07/2002 - 03/07/2003

$99.9K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road Array
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Triton Systems, Inc. proposes to design, fabricate, test, and demonstrate low cost through technical cost modeling, the feasibility of an Advanced Thermoforming Technology AT2 manufacturing method for the production of range extension wing kits. The AT2 approach is expected to provide a factor of two reduction in cost for these wing kits through the application of low cost tooling, high performance/cost ratio materials and the sophisticated application of cost modeling tools. Triton Systems has teamed with Leigh Aerosystems, a leading supplier of range extension wing kits, and Ibis Associates, the leading cost analysts for composite production. The proposed Phase I program will trade-study the candidate composite materials and processes, demonstrate the fabrication of a Leigh Aerosystems "Longshot" composite wing, and validate the structural performance of the prototype wing. The U.S. Air Force needs to develop lower cost materials and manufacturing methods for winged autonomous munitions to allow broader fielding of the range extension kits, and to improve maneuverability, impact accuracy, standoff distance and pilot safety. To reach cost ratios that support extensive fielding, the program goal is for production costs to be reduced by as much as a factor of two. The successful completion of the Phase I program will result in the identification of the optimum manufacturing approach (materials, molding processes and assembly) for the production of range extension wing kits. The trade study will evaluate the sensitivity of the cost of selected manufacturing approaches to mass reduction, production volume and airframe weight. The total cost model results will include predicted total unit production, and a breakdown of contributing cost elements. The prototype wing will be validation tested to show structural feasibility. Leigh Aerosystems has indicated interest in commercializing the composite wing that results from this program. Several other producers of standoff weapons will be approached with successful results from Phase I seeking interest in composite wings produced by the AT2 low-cost method. Triton envisions licensing the AT2 technology to composite fabricators or spinning-off a company to provide AT2-produced wings and other composite parts for the munitions markets. The successful completion of the Phase I program will result in the identification of the optimum manufacturing approach (materials, molding processes and assembly) for the production of range extension wing kits. The trade study will evaluate the sensitivity of the cost of selected manufacturing approaches to mass reduction, production volume and airframe weight. The total cost model results will include predicted total unit production, and a breakdown of contributing cost elements. The prototype wing will be validation tested to show structural feasibility. Leigh Aerosystems has indicated interest in commercializing the composite wing that results from this program. Several other producers of standoff weapons will be approached with successful results from Phase I seeking interest in composite wings produced by the AT2 low-cost method. Triton envisions licensing the AT2 technology to composite fabricators or spinning-off a company to provide AT2-produced wings and other composite parts for the munitions markets. The successful completion of the Phase I program will result in the identification of the optimum manufacturing approach (materials, molding processes and assembly) for the production of range extension wing kits. The trade study will evaluate the sensitivity of the cost of selected manufacturing approaches to mass reduction, production volume and airframe weight. The total cost model results will include predicted total unit production, and a breakdown of contributing cost elements. The prototype wing will be validation tested to show structural feasibility. Leigh Aerosystems has indicated interest in commercializing the composite wing that results from this program. Several other producers of standoff weapons will be approached with successful results from Phase I seeking interest in composite wings produced by the AT2 low-cost method. Triton envisions licensing the AT2 technology to composite fabricators or spinning-off a company to provide AT2-produced wings and other composite parts for the munitions markets.