Archived Success Stories
Kiowa Portable Alignment System (KPAS)
This project demonstrated a lightweight alignment system using state-of-the-art alignment tools, processes and techniques for precision assembly of components and structures to Kiowa and potentially other aircraft platforms.
Improved Chemical Heating
Existing flameless ration heaters provide a method for heating the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) entrees for the Soldier in the field, using water to activate an electrochemical pad. An alternate waterless heating technology using zinc-air was developed, but was too costly. This project advanced the manufacturability and brought down cost to meet weight, performance and safety metrics. Documented Cost Savings of $3M with Return on Investment (ROI) of 3.5:1 for low rate prototype production.
Embedded Sensor Processes for Aviation Composite Structures
This project demonstrated advanced manufacturing processes and technologies supporting fabrication of large composite helicopter cabin floors. Weight was reduced by over 30 lbs, cost by $15%, and overall cost avoidance is projected at $22M with a return on investment estimated at 4 to 1.
Lightweight Laser Designator Modules
Current laser designator modules and associated electronics, fabricated using legacy designs and manufacturing processes, are too heavy, bulky and costly. The purpose of program was to improve manufacturing process to produce affordable lightweight laser designator modules for small UAV & UGV platforms and portable Soldier systems. Specific objectives was to develop a laser module for a 1 lb/30 mJ laser designator for UAV and < 4 lb laser designator for the Soldier.
Affordable Software Defined Radio Components for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)
Future Army communications systems will rely on embedded Software Defined Radio (SDR) components to provide network connectivity and seamless communications between combat vehicles and Soldier systems with assured interoperability. The JTRS HMS acquisition program will develop and acquire Small Form Fit (SFF) configurations for embedded SDR network communications and reuse across JTRS Vehicular, Man-Pack, and Hand-Held configurations. Commercial SDR technology is not suitable to satisfy these requirements.
3rd Generation IR Integrated Dewar Cooler Assembly
The objective of this program was to improve the affordability and producibility of the compact 3rd Gen Infrared Integrated Dewar Cooler Assembly (3rd Gen IR IDCA) with an overall cost reduction goal of 28%. The focus of the ManTech program was on improved manufacturing processes, precision tooling, and testing to enable an affordable VAM and compact 3rd Gen Dewar. This program supported the strategy of a common 3rd Gen IR IDCA for both air and ground sensor applications.
Manufacturability Improvements to Avoid Costs in the Production of HTSDG System on Future Combatants
The objective of this project was to improve the manufacturability of the High Temperature Superconducting Degaussing (HTSDG) system in two key areas, the soldering and manufacturing processes. The Integrated Project Team (IPT) was able to successfully develop a new process to improve the system and increase HTSDG system reliability, reduce lead time, and increase HTSDG cable capacity. Implementation is planned on future surface combatants as HTS degaussing system implementation is approved by the Navy.
Affordable, Model-based Open-architecture Radar (AMOR)
The current Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) radar system solutions do not fully meet the mission requirements or provide the technical data the Navy requires for performance and radar system modeling. In addition, these current systems have not met the desired affordability objectives. The ACIT/Exelis team is performing ManTech packaging and technology upgrades to the system which will enable a $1M acquisition cost savings and improve radar performance.
Nano-ceramic Coatings for VCS Main Propulsion Shafts
The Navy Metalworking Center designed and fabricated a shaft and bearing test stand that was capable of inducing wear and grooving. The project's results will be used by the Navy Shafting and Bearing Research and Development Team to formulate and execute appropriate actions to address the grooving observed on in-service VCS propulsor shafts. With this increase in the operational life of the shaft, life-cycle savings in terms of decreased maintenance availabilities will be achieved.
Distortion Reduction and Cut Part Accuracy Improvements
This project targeted weight reduction on all ships in the Navy’s fleet. Thin panels are projected to make up to 90 percent of total plates in future ship classes. While beneficial for overall ship weight reduction, thin plates are subject to excessive distortion during handling, storage, plasma cutting and welding. The project implemented new guidelines for production, handling, and thermal cutting of thin plates in shipbuilding which lead to reduced distortion and improved part accuracy. The five-year savings is estimated at $5.2M.
Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS)
The continual upgrade of the Navy’s equipment to Internet Protocol (IP) based interfaces is driving the need for higher data rate interfaces to the GEDMS input/output unit (IOU) equipment and hence, more cost effective and producible IOU flex cable solutions. This project developed IOU flex cable solutions that will improve performance by providing higher link speeds, increase producibility, increase reliability, lower acquisition costs, and lower total ownership costs by reducing touch labor in the manufacturing process.
Innovative Cable Installation Solutions
This Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) project developed innovative solutions that will reduce labor costs and injury claims associated with the installation of electrical cables in VCS. The personnel who oversee cable routing activities are confident that a labor hour reduction of 10% to 20% is achievable with the developed tools, equating to a total cost avoidance of $242K - $484K per hull. Cost savings will be updated as tools are further implemented and performance data are collected.
Improved Abrasive Technology to Reduce VCS Construction Labor Costs
The objective of this project was to ensure that industry can manufacture abrasives that have improved properties and meet cleanliness and detrimental material requirements associated with nuclear shipbuilding. The use of improved abrasives in Virginia Class Submarine (VCS) constriction can result in significant savings associated with decreased labor, improved abrasive life, and reduced fatigue due to less vibration.
Casting Solution for Crane Roller Brackets
This Navy Metalworking Center Rapid Response project developed two alternative casted solutions for high-strength steel brackets for the launch, recovery and handling system (LRHS) crane on the Freedom-variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The improved cast solution ensures high-quality, high-strength steel castings that reduce cost and weight. An estimated 77% reduction in cost is anticipated, and the cast designs will be 33% lighter than the legacy design.
NMC Project Indentifies Manufacturing Process for Flexible Cryostats that Meets Navy Requirements
This Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) project addressed cryostat configuration and manufacturing issues associated with fabricating long lengths of flexible, vacuum-jacketed cryostats that meet Navy shipboard performance requirements. The project also evaluated reliability performance, fabrication techniques, and the design life cycle of the cryostat for naval platforms.
Digital Radiography Transition for Inspection of Welds and Castings
Current film-based radiographic inspection processes use expensive, non-reusable film and hazardous chemicals. A previous project successfully used commercially available computed radiography (CR) equipment to replace this film-based process. This project is leveraging that effort by increasing inspection confidence with isotopes and high energy applications in addition to resolving technical and implementation issues for specific fabricated part details.
Low Cost Manufacturing for SEWIP Block 2 Electronic Warfare System
The objective of this project was to develop the manufacturing processes necessary for automated test assembly and test processes for RF Tuner optimization. This ManTech project focused on improving manufacturability of the COTS Fiber Optic Transmitter. These improvements significantly impacted the SEWIP Block 2 producibility and addressed current cost drivers.
VCS Material Flow Processes and Technology
Process Engineers at General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) are currently executing an effort to drive down the costs associated with material flow within the VIRGINIA Class Submarine (VCS) construction facilities. Once implemented, this project could save the Navy as much as $2.7M per VCS hull. This project’s highly successful predecessor, the VCS Material Management project, is currently saving the Navy over $5M per VIRGINIA-Class new construction submarine by focusing on other material flow cost drivers like procurement, scheduling and storage.
Exothermic Welding Process Validated for Use on CVN 78
This project evaluated the overall quality and performance of multi-cable, copper conductor splices and facilitated qualification of the proposed processes as a means of reducing total ownership cost. The results were ultimately used during the project to develop exothermic welding and insulation procedures for shipboard use
Cost-Saving Alternative Flame Brazing Technology Implemented in CVN 78 Construction
Shipyards commonly use a hand-held torch to manually flame braze fittings shipboard. This project developed alternative flame brazing technology that reduced the time required to braze each joint, as well as the amount of rework related to manual torch brazing. In addition, the technology will reduce training time and the need for highly skilled operators. Implementing the technology at NNS will result in an estimated cost savings of $2.6M in the construction of 3 CVN and 9 VCS hulls, and in the overhaul of 7CVN hulls.
Navy Metalworking Center Expands Capabilities for Low-Cost Friction Stir Welding
This project developed an on-site, low-cost friction stir welding machine to enhance the producibility of lightweight aluminum structures for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). A cost saving of $1.8M per year to the JHSV Program was projected if the technical results of the effort were to be implemented.
30% Efficient Multi-Junction Space Solar Cells
Air Force ManTech and the Space and Missile Center (SMC) collaborated with solar cell manufacturers to enable key improvements in the critical performance, mass, and volume of warfighter-specific satellite payloads. This program significantly reduced solar array cost per watt, as well as reduced array mass by 15%-17% based on efficiency increases alone.
F-35 Inlet Duct Robotic Drilling (IDRD)
F-35 aircraft inlet ducts require higher accuracy and more innovative robot guidance architecture than robotic systems have used in the past. Air Force ManTech awarded a contract to design, build, and demonstrate a production prototype Inlet Duct Robotic Drilling (IDRD) cell, and the program has since matured the technology to an MRL 9. The technology has resulted in a 75% reduction in drilling cycle time and savings in excess of $40M for the F-35 program.
Affordable Weapons Datalink Insertion (AWDI)
Weapons Datalinks (WDL) operating in current environments invariably require high power over large bandwidths to maximize the amount of data transmission over maximum distance. Air Force ManTech worked with Rockwell Collins to mature low-cost, wide-bandgap Gallium Nitride (GaN) on Silicon (Si) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs), which enable higher gain and output power across a broader frequency range than existing technologies. The program has since received a consecutive string of “Green” status ratings for maturing manufacturing processes and has increased tested die yields to greater than 95%.
Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar
The AESA program has transitioned two manufacturing process improvements into the production cycles of the F-22A and the F-35 antennas. The reduced cost and cycle times of select components and sub-assemblies of the array have yielded a production life cycle cost avoidance of more than $240M for the F-22A and F-35 weapon systems. This brings the AESA program anticipated total life cycle cost avoidance for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to over $380M.
Reducing Procurement Leadtime with Data Rich Solicitations
Procurement of National Stock Numbers (NSN’s) with forged content has historically higher rates of backorders and increased costs than an average part. This project developed a database to track key data about each NSN. Using the new database, the team plans to develop new processes for increasing the population of forgings being identified in solicitations.
Procurement Solutions Tools for Castings
Castings contribute to a significant portion of backorder parts due to difficulties identifying qualified sources and a diminishing domestic manufacturing supply base. This project addressed supply chain issues for problem parts that contain castings. The program has rapidly demonstrated positive results by increasing the number of bids from capable suppliers, reducing cost and lead-time, and providing new orders for metalcasters.
Computer - aided Optimization of Setup on a Forging Press
Lean/Six Sigma projects that are being executed today are significantly hindered by the reliance on manual tools that are outdated and incapable of solving complex problems. This project developed computer software to replace or enhance Lean/Six Sigma tools in order to reduce setup time, increase capacity, and reduce movement needed by operators.
Ultrasonic Sealing in MRE Pouch Production
Preformed pouches in MRE’s have traditionally been filled and sealed by heated tools in a process that often results in splashing of the food product and contamination of the sealed area. A steady reject-rate range from 1.5 to 4.5% with an average of 3% cross the industry is related to seal defects. Ultrasonic sealing technology appeared to hold promise for solving this problem in MRE production.
Cost Modeling for Enterprise Transformation (COMET)
The COMET program was developed to address inaccurate cost modeling problems that lead to higher fabrication costs and technology delays. The COMET program prepares cost estimates in a fraction of the time taken by prevailing methods and ensures these estimates are accurate and complete. COMET is expected to improve affordability thru what-if-trade analysis of weapon systems, reduce production costs, and shorten development and implementation time.
Rapid Airframe Production Integration Demonstration
The Northrop Grumman Team (supported by Spirit AeroSystems for detail part fabrication) is taking a completely fresh look at how composite aircraft are designed and built. The Rapid Airframe Production Integration Demonstration (RAPID) program has demonstrated methods to fabricate and assemble airframes at lower cost and that require very little fabrication or assembly tooling compared to conventional composite structures.
Solder Free Electronics – Direct Write Electronics
The intent of this program is to demonstrate the fabrication of functional circuits without solder via Direct Write (DW) electronics. The DW process allows the manufacturing of electronic components and connections to create entire circuits for high-performance and customizable applications. Circuits are produced in a layer-wise fashion directly from CAD data, providing a cost-effective, flexible manufacturing method for producing high-mix, low-volume circuits.
3D Official Procurement Process
Using 3-D digital data (models) will help to facilitate interoperable supply chains. This effort has established “3D Official” as a new business process for engineering data from the Engineering Service Activity (ESA) to DSCC for CAD-maintained data. In addition, a manual method was developed to convert 2D drawings to 3D models. This involved the creation of a 3D model from 2D data, the validation of the newly created 3D model against the 2D drawing, and subsequent validation and approval.
Solder Free Electronics – Solder Free Electronic Assembly Material
As lead-based (SnPb) solder is phased-out globally, there is a diminishing industrial base for lead-based components. The objective of this program is to create a nanoparticle-based drop-in replacement interconnect material. The program selected a Cu nanopowder-based formulation, fabricating nanoparticles that are less than 20 nm in diameter and formulating suitable pastes for use in assembly and repair processes.
Network Centric Manufacturing Phase I
Recent conflicts have placed a burden on the legacy methods of replacement part procurement. Picatinny Arsenal set out to meet the change requirements in developing the three dimensional CAD files, the machine code to run the CNC machining centers, and the CMM program files to assure the parts are right the first time, every time.