The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to develop novel pyrotechnics systems and manufacturing processes that would significantly reduce the environmental impact of pyrotechnics. Alternatives for perchlorates, lead and hexavalent chromium in pyrotechnics have been demonstrated to meet performance requirements and implemented for several high use systems. However, for next generation pyrotechnics and remaining applications, the Department of Defense needs novel pyrotechnic formulations and engineering solutions that produce multi-color signals, minimal smoke, highly efficient combustion, or non-combustion signals. Novel energetics were needed to provide high color purity, efficient combustion and low smoke to reduce the need for metal colorants. Alternative non-combustion methods of enhancing the color/smoke generations could also have been investigated. Methods of enhancing the color while reducing the size and weight of the item should have been considered. Additional consideration was given to “tunable” pyrotechnic in which a single flare could be used for multi-color purpose. Higher costs for novel pyrotechnic approaches could require that they be evaluated in specialty applications or multi- color or smaller hand held signals.
If the use of non-organic technology such as electronics was considered, the environmental impact of use on ranges would need to have been evaluated against the current risk.
Novel manufacturing or engineering processes also should have been investigated. Manufacturing improvements that reduced cost, environmental impact and could be implemented with current technology should have been considered.
This SON addressed the following:
- Perchlorate oxidizer in pyrotechnics
- Fuels and dyes used in pyrotechnic color smokes
- Solvents used in energetics manufacturing.
Proposals should have included a plan to conduct a Sustainability Analysis of appropriate proportion for the proposed research and development. Proposals should have established a lifecycle framework that could mature as the technology or process advances through the acquisition process. This tiered approach aimed to develop and document a minimum data set at each stage of research and development that could be used to make informed decisions and streamline transition to an acquisition program. The Sustainability Analysis could have included varying depths of data and information that can inform: the goal and scope of an analysis; the identity and quantity of relevant inputs and outputs to the system; and the estimation of life cycle impacts and costs.
Funded projects will appear below as project overviews are posted to the website.
New formulations will reduce or eliminate heavy metals and reduce the size and weight of conventional pyrotechnics. The use of multi-color and enhanced color-emitting technology along with improved manufacturing processes will reduce environmental impact and lifecycle costs.
Pyrotechnics are used in a variety of military applications. Many such pyrotechnic flare compositions contain heavy metal fuel (e.g., strontium, barium) that are used to produce bright colors in the flare, and perchlorate oxidizers. Metals are released with combustion products during normal training operations and will persist on training ranges. Perchlorates have been addressed in the last 20 years and many systems now have alternative formulations that eliminate perchlorate.
Currently, pyrotechnic items such as handheld signals and submarine location markers are single use, single color and require rigorous and costly manufacturing techniques. These techniques and processes have not changed in the last 50 years. Today’s novel pyrotechnics should address the size, weight and power (SWaP) and have multi-function capabilities. DoD needs technologies and manufacturing processes to minimize production time, reduce multi-step processes and reduce solvents and other wastes in flare manufacturing. This could include alternative binders or solvents for use in pyrotechnic formulations or novel mixing and loading technologies that will reduce the required solvent and processing steps for safe manufacturing. In addition, DoD needs to evaluate alternative additive manufacturing processes for pyrotechnics to reduce solvent use and potentially increase current pyrotechnic capability through improved mixing, casting and loading in novel configurations. New manufacturing techniques such as additive manufacturing, new mixing techniques, new color-emitting technology, and tunable “selectable” wavelength technology are available and should be considered to reduce size and weight of pyrotechnics while also providing multi-color capabilities to a single pyrotechnic item.
The Weapons Systems and Platforms Program Area supports development of technologies and processes that are associated with the manufacture, operations, and maintenance of military equipment, weaponry, and munitions. These life cycle stages of a system may impact workers, the environment, and surrounding communities. Increasing the sustainability of these systems offers opportunities to identify and manage these impacts to lower associated life cycle costs and improve mission readiness. The DoD’s Sustainability Analysis uses a life cycle approach to evaluate potential impacts associated with costs, ecosystem quality, human health, and resource availability.
The cost and time to meet the requirements of this SON are at the discretion of the proposer. Two options are available:
Standard Proposals: These proposals describe a complete research effort. The proposer should incorporate the appropriate time, schedule and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed. SERDP projects normally run from two to five years in length and vary considerably in cost consistent with the scope of the effort. It is expected that most proposals will fall into this category.
Limited Scope Proposals: Proposers with innovative approaches to the SON that entail high technical risk or have minimal supporting data may submit a Limited Scope Proposal for funding up to $200,000 and approximately one year in duration. Such proposals may be eligible for follow-on funding if they result in a successful initial project. The objective of these proposals should be to acquire the data necessary to demonstrate proof-of-concept or reduction of risk that will lead to development of a future Standard Proposal. Proposers should submit Limited Scope Proposals in accordance with the SERDP Core Solicitation instructions and deadlines.