Low-Cost Autonomous Kinetic Energy (KE) Penetrator Payload for EX 172 Cargo Round

Period of Performance: 08/05/2003 - 02/05/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tanner Research
34 Lexington Avenue Array
Ewing, NJ 08618
Principal Investigator


Precision-guided autonomous munitions concepts are immediately adaptable for use in a low-cost kinetic energy penetrator deployed from the EX 172 Cargo Round projectile. Feasibility of implementing an autonomous KE penetrator concept can be demonstrated near-term using gun-hardened micro components developed for exo-atmospheric miniature interceptors. Tanner Research is proposing to integrate MEMS-based spectral seeker and thruster components (using deflagrating energetics) as key enabling technologies to implement an autonomous KE penetrator. The smart KE penetrator is presumably fired from the upgraded 5"/62 Mk 45 Mod 4 gun system in the EX 172 Cargo Round. Our objective is to conclusively demonstrate increased combat effectiveness and lethality of an autonomous KE penetrator by substantially reducing target miss distance. This will be accomplished by dynamically controlling the overall pattern of KE penetrator dispersion. This pattern can be modified for specific tactical target sets by integrating precision guidance, micro thruster-based divert and attitude control system (DACS), and fin stabilization. The seeker will spectrally detect an optical signature of interest in the field of view (FOV), regardless of clutter, and guide the KE penetrator to the center-of-mass. Guidance commands are implemented using the micro thruster DACS to divert into the center-of-mass. Leverage ongoing development of autonomous projectile technologies. Significant cost savings from using low cost mass fabrication techniques developed on other autonomous projectile programs. Use of low-cost GN&C concepts, employing focal plane signal processing to center the target, control smart KE penetrator maneuvering with DACS, assuring enhanced hit-to-kill lethality. The production cost of a smart KE penetrator, leveraging other programs, will be about $100 per rod.