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Achievement Award Winners

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2006 Award Recipients

Uncooled Focal Plane Array Producibility (UFPAP)


The Uncooled FPA Producibility program enabled an approximate 8X reduction in cost of the advanced Uncooled IR sensor, marked improvement in overall IR sensor performance, while improving in the production capacity to over 100 advanced Uncooled IR sensors/week per source. Process improvements included the successfully accomplished a high vacuum sealing process for packaging, the successful development of a Dry release process for the MEMS structure, the successful development of a new resist strip process, and the installation and testing of a high-resolution photolithography. In addition, the radiometric testing on several types of FPAs was successfully completed due to the successful completion of vacuum probe testing. Lastly, the initiation of automated wafer inspection is now ongoing. Currently, there are three major domestic sources for advanced Uncooled IR FPAs (640x480, 1 mil) - Raytheon (CA), DRS (TX), and BAE (MA). The advanced Uncooled IR FPA ManTech program initiated advanced fabrication technology programs with each of the three sources of Uncooled IR FPA and sensor production. Working in concert with PMN FCS, PM NV/RSTA, PM Soldier Sensors, and PEO Tactical Missiles, ManTech ensured that subsequent Uncooled IR sensor products reflect the performance advantages and cost savings brought about by the Uncooled FPA Producibility program.

Measured yields have improved from less than 10% to over 50% which greatly contributes to the reduction in cost from $16K to $2K per focal plane array.

Evidence of rapid transition to implementation are:

The following metrics table shows: improved affordability from $16K per unit to $2K per unit; improved quality in the vacuum life from 0.5 years to 10 years, improved cycle time from 8 weeks to 2 weeks; not shown is the production capacity improvement from 4 units per week to over 100 units per week.

Criteria Baseline Goal Progress % Accomplished
FPA Yield* < 10% > 50% Yields are close to goal 95
Package yield < 50% > 98% DONE 100
ManHours/unit** 168 hrs/unit 1.2 hrs/unit Most automation is on-line and showing results at 2 hrs/unit 95
Cycle time 8 wks 2 wks Cycle time has been reduced to about 2.5 weeks 95
Vacuum Life 0.5 yrs @ 50 C 10 yrs @ 50 C DONE 100
Performance 60-80 mK < 35 mK DONE 100
Cost $16 K/unit $2 K/unit Unit cost is about $2.5K per unit 95

Potential or realized impact/benefit to the warfighter: The best endorsement of this technology is the adoption of these focal plane arrays into production programs such as thermal weapon sights, driver vision, and remote weapon sight (Stryker); In addition, the following is an Excerpt from endorsement letter of Mr. Edward Pair, PEO, IEWS "The bottom line is enhanced lethality for target acquisition and enhanced situational awareness on-the-move";

About $10M cost share by the contractors over the life of the contract; Leveraging previous government development programs, principally DARPA, in vanadium oxide based microbolometers; Leveraging the commercial marketplace for low cost cameras for fire fighting, automobile, surveillance, police, and others.

Government / Industry Team Members:

Engine Rotor Life Extension (ERLE)


Engine Rotor Life Extension (ERLE) was awarded the Defense Manufacturing Achievement Award by Dr. Kubricky on 28 November 2006, during the Defense Manufacturing Conference held in Nashville, TN. The ERLE program's positive impact on the life cycle cost of the F-15, F-16, B-1, and B-2 engine fleets will free significant resources for other Warfighter priorities.

The Manufacturing Technology's Engine Rotor Life Extension (ERLE) program helped reduce the Air Force's sustainment burden for gas turbine engines by implementing new technology. Cost savings to the Air Force in the first year of implementation exceeded $6.3M and resulted from avoiding the purchase of new engine parts and reduced inspection cycle times. With completion of the technology programs planned and transitioned through the next spiral effort, the cost benefit is projected to exceed $350M over the life of the weapon systems.

Building on the original vision of the Retirement for Cause (RFC) program started by AF ManTech in the 1980s, ERLE is a cooperative effort between technology developers, acquisition organizations and maintainers. ERLE successes have transitioned state of the art technology into the current analyses and future design of propulsion systems while providing significant cost benefit for the warfighting customer. The Air Force's success has resulted in the OEMs proposing the application of the technology to other service (Navy) needs.

At the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, ERLE has implemented advanced non-destructive inspection (NDI) technologies for application to current and future generation engines. These technologies, including the first fully automated phased-array based ultrasonic inspection system, and OC-ALC's first laser-based fretting inspection system, are now used every day on the inspection shop floor at OC-ALC, permit safe life extension of engine components for a third inspection interval (roughly seven to ten years of additional service). Based on achieved successes, OC-ALC has committed funding to implement advanced technology on their inspection systems at the depot.

True teamwork by personnel from Air Force Manufacturing Technology, Air Force Materials and Manufacturing Directorate Life Prediction team, OC-ALC, University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), Pratt and Whitney (P&W), General Electric (GEAE), and Wyle Laboratories, is the source of this program's remarkable and continuing success.


Government / Industry Team Members:

2006 Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award Nominees

The manufacturing technology project nominees that were considered for the eighth annual award were completed and/or demonstrated in FY06 or FY07. The nominees were:

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