O-052 Composite Case Technology for Tactical Rocket Motors: Overcoming the Technical Roadblocks

November 1999
Michael Fisher (Propulsion Technology)

A system approach is generally needed to significantly reduce the violence of a rocket motor’s reactions to external stimuli, as compared to the responses of a motor utilizing standard, non-IM design techniques. Such a system approach typically consists of the combination of a less sensitive propellant, a non-conventional motor case, and possibly some form of active or passive mitigation concept. One of the most successful of the non-conventional case fabrication techniques evaluated for its contribution to IM has been the filament-wound composite. These cases have been shown to aid significantly in the reduction of reaction violence to fast heating and impact stimuli. Despite the technological advancements of the past twenty years, there remains some resistance to the use of composite motor cases in the tactical arena.

NIMIC, in a collaborative effort with CPIA and JHU-APL, is preparing a technical review of filament-wound composite technology as it applies to tactical rocket motor applications. The goal of the effort is to provide a reference that the tactical propulsion community can use to assist in the integration of composite cases into service in tactical missile designs. This review will describe the state-of-the-art in composite materials and processes for composite cases, and present examples of application of composites on fielded systems and development motors from the various NIMIC nations. It will then present the IM advantages of composite cases, and address the technical challenges, both real and perceived, that have been associated with them. The planned review will conclude by discussing ongoing efforts to meet the remaining technical challenges

Presentation details

This paper was presented to the Insensitive Munitions and Energetic Materials Technology Symposium held on 29 November-2 December 1999 in Tampa, Florida, USA