Lightning protection for ship topsides fabricated of composite material

Period of Performance: 12/18/1998 - 07/17/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mission Research Corp.
735 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The use of composite materials on the topsides of Navy ships is rapidly increasing sue to efforts to lower and control the ship's Radar Cross Sections (RCS) signature and improve the war-fighting capabilities of the fleet. The introduction of large composite structures greatly increases the threat of lightning induced damage; thus, mitigation of the lightning threat is a necessary requirement. Traditional lightning protection measures for large structures (e.g., facilities, hangers, launch pads, and so forth) have large scattering cross sections and are not suitable for RCS conscious ship designs. Low observable lightning protection systems can be found on aircraft, but the costs of these mitigation techniques are undesirable for large ship applications. Hence, a low cost and low RCS lightning protection approach needs to be developed for the topsides of ships. This proposal outlines a program that will quantify the lighting protection requirement of ship topsides, investigate state-of-the-art and innovative lightning protection techniques, and develop detailed evaluation and validation criteria for lightning protection systems.