Multi-function Connectors for Shipboard Equipment

Period of Performance: 10/27/2004 - 04/29/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Minnesota Wire & Cable CO.
1835 Energy Park Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Principal Investigator


The United States Navy is developing a multi-mission surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The present design supports anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine warfare (MIW), and surface warfare (SUW) mission packages. It also provides underwater vehicle, aerial vehicle, and weapon zones for attaching mission modules. LCS's objective is to support a complete mission change-including an operational test (OPTEST)-within 24 hours. We propose a Pod ConnectorT for rapidly and securely attaching mission modules to a ship's deck. The Pod ConnectorT is self-stowing, watertight, and dirt-free. When the Pod ConnectorT is not in use, it stores upside-down and creates a watertight seal. Unlike protruding fasteners, which are damaged by loading apparatus (e.g. grabs and bulldozers), and recessed fasteners, which fill with dirt and water, the Pod ConnectorT stores flush with the deck's surface. As a result, there is no need for time consuming removal and replacement of the Pod ConnectorT between missions. In addition, the watertight seal prevents thread corrosion and water freezing on contacts, thereby ensuring reliable attachment. Pod ConnectorT variants include one for supplying power and data and another for transferring fluid and gas. The Pod ConnectorT accelerates mission module installation and reduces logistical overhead by rarely requiring replacement. Working with our partner, Lockheed Martin, we have devised an optimal layout for Pod ConnectorT arrays in each LCS zone. This configuration is designed to maximize the effectiveness of existing and future sensor, vehicle, and weapon modules including the Spartan Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), Long-term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS) Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), and Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS).