Long-Range Distributed & Collaborative Engagements (LRDC)

Utilize foundational / cross-cutting S&T to enable LRPF capabilities against threats across echelons.
• How do we expand munition kinematics (range, speed, maneuverability)?
• How do we accurately deliver fires in contested environments?•How do we mass precision ballistic effects affordably?
• How do we improve munition survivability through all phases (launch, flight, terminal)?

Research Questions
What foundational S&T, relative to Lethality and Autonomy, enables significantly higher mission success for combat platforms in MDO?

  1. How do we expand munition* kinematics (range, speed, maneuverability)?
    • How do we stabilize metastable energetics in solid-state to increase energy density? How do we release this energy on a desired time-scale? What fundamental mechanism controls initiation of an energetic reaction?
    • Can energetic reactions of bulk materials be characterized at small-scale?
    • How can we more uniformly increase the work done by the propelling charge on the munition in a gun tube?
    • How do we optimally convert propulsion energy to munition kinematic capability under system constraints in a multi-disciplinary design context? What understanding of launch and flight is necessary to more accurately and rapidly minimize design margin?
  2. How do we accurately deliver fires in contested environments?
    • What combinations of algorithms, environmental cues, a priori knowledge, and sensing modalities is needed to maintain vehicle state awareness over long time-of-flight missions?
    • Can techniques be developed to extend passive complex target detection to large standoff? How can machine learning be leveraged to optimally exploit multiple information channels in feature-poor environments?
  3. How do we mass precision fires affordably?
    • What are the estimation, cognition and decision algorithms, and communication protocols needed for networked munitions to dynamically allocate lethality?
    • What are the spatial and temporal requirements to defeat targets using a modular lethality concept? What are the most efficient delivery methods?
    • What are the mechanisms for minimum-energy perforation of structural materials? What single mechanism will perforate the range of hardened structural and geologic materials?
  4. How do we improve survivability through all phases (launch, flight, terminal)?
    • How do we create structural electro-mechanical systems and structural energetics for higher energy guns?
    • How do we conduct thermal management to enable operations of complex components (apertures) for high-speed weapons?
    • What counter-countermeasure capabilities are essential to defeat the next threat?

munition* = rocket-launched missile or cannon-launched projectile