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San Diego Composites completes two successful missile launches

News International-French

10 Sep 2015

San Diego Composites, Inc. (SDC) participated in two successful launches of Lockheed Martin’s Miniature Hit to Kill (MHTK) missile in February and March 2015 to test SDC’s Lightweight Low-Cost (LLC) Canister.

SDC’s LLC Canister is currently in development as part of an Army-sponsored SBIR program for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 – Intercept (IFPC Inc 2-I) and Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) programs. The first launch test was conducted by AMRDEC at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama and the second launch test was conducted by the Army at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). In both tests, Lockheed Martin’s missile launched from SDC’s LLC Canister and demonstrated successful functionality. The test at WSMR was attended by numerous representatives from the Army, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), and Lockheed Martin and concluded a week-long series of testing for the Army’s Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) IFPC Inc 2-I program.

“This test proved the MHTK interceptor can be successfully launched from a MML in a tactical design LLC Canister. The missile is designed to be flexible and small enough to allow multiple MHTK interceptors to be packaged in a single, MML tube, which increases the Counter – Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) magazine depth. All SDC LLC Canister test objectives were successful demonstrated.”
 - Roger Reed, Missiles and Fire Control’s Launcher Integrated Product Team (IPT) and Mechanical Design Lead

Launch Sequence Showing Cover Deployment
Launch Sequence Showing Cover Deployment

SDC developed the LLC Canister with Army-sponsored Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funding over the last two years. Lockheed Martin and the Army provided SDC with requirements, approved design and analysis packages, and led flight testing and integration. To reduce risk prior to the launch tests, SDC conducted several tests at their San Diego facility to verify canister performance, including drop shock, mechanism functionality, cover burst, and a full system-level speed egress test, which simulated the kinematic event of the missile launching from the canister.

“Completing the LLC Canister program with two successful launch tests is a huge accomplishment. It is always our goal to integrate the technologies we develop in SBIR programs into functional platforms. The LLC Canister program marks one of SDC’s most successful SBIR programs to date and we could not have done it without the Army’s or Lockheed Martin’s support. We look forward to continuing development and providing the Army with an LLC Canister that enables IFPC Inc 2-I Mission success.”
 - Megan Caprio, SDC EAPS Canister Program Manager


Launch Sequence Showing Cover Deployment
SDC Personnel at WSMR for the Launch Test

SDC’s LLC Canister enables launching of multiple missiles from a single launcher while safely isolating adjacent missiles from plume, shock, electrical, structural, and mechanical environments.

The benefits of SDC’s LLC Canister are:

  • Lightweight – The LLC Canister weighs less than 20 lbs, which makes the All-Up-Round weight very manageable for the warfighter. SDC utilized a combination of composite, metallic, and plastic parts to meet all structural, electrical, and environmental requirements.
  • Low Cost – In production, the LLC Canister cost is less than the budgeted amount based on SDC utilizing several manufacturing methods to develop an affordable solution, such as filament winding for the composite outer tube, pultrusion for the composite body guides, and injection molding for the desiccant assembly housing.  Also, off-the-shelf components were selected over custom parts to reduce cost.
  • Low Risk – SDC was able to leverage their experience with canister development and production to provide a low risk canister solution. Military standard parts and high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) materials and technologies were utilized to build mission assurance into the canister.
  • High Quality – SDC is AS9100 Certified and is an approved supplier for numerous aerospace industry prime contractors. SDC utilizes their high standard quality system for all development and production programs which accelerates qualification of its products.