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ASNE Day 2016 - Technical Paper Session 5 : Thursday, March 3, 2016 1330-1500

Current Trends in Naval Applications


Authors: Barkan Kavlicoglu, Yanming Liu, Bryce Wallis, Michael Mckee

Title: Reusable Forward Closure System


This Technical Paper focuses on design, development and testing of a reusable forward closure system (FCS), directed towards applications in current and future SSBN class submarine’s launch systems. Advanced Materials and Devices, Inc. (AMAD) has designed an electromechanically actuated FCS that if fail-safe, utilizing strong structural design, and low-cost leak-tight flexible seals, as demonstrated in Figure 1. The FCS prototype is designed to eliminate pyrotechnic, or fly through rupture, thus, eliminating conditions that produce debris. In addition, the FCS supports reusability and does not damage the hatch or the hull, during normal and fail-safe operating conditions.

AMAD’s FCS has been designed, manufactured, laboratory tested and field tested. It has been developed and analyzed for use on the Trident D-5 platform and successfully scaled down to the Tomahawk platform. Laboratory testing has demonstrated meeting leak tightness, pressure differential, adjacent launch pressure, cyclic loading, opening time, and fail-safe requirements set by the US Navy. Field testing of the Tomahawk scale FCS has demonstrated successful operation of this system on Northrop Grumman launch tubes, as shown in Figure 2.

AMAD also built an Underwater Testing Facility to subject the FCS for various underwater testing conditions. The underwater tests subjected the structure to various operating pressures and cyclic pressures. Underwater actuation tests have also been performed to record the response time of the system.
The presented design will achieve significant cost savings, due to the fact that this system is reusable and no expensive pyrotechnics are used to rupture the system. Only the cost-effective seals must be replaced after each launch, without the need for complete haul. Increased safety is attained by eliminating debris generation upon rupturing which is prevalent in the current systems. This debris runs the risk of damaging the payload upon egress. Reduced environmental hazard is achieved through elimination of pyrotechnics which pose a contamination threat. No debris is left in the ocean after rupturing of the closure.

The Technical Paper will present details of the patented FCS design1, testing efforts and results of the laboratory and field tests. In addition to the submarine launch systems, the FCS can be designed for torpedo UAV and all other missile launch systems that require the payload to be protected from environment prior to launch.

1 The FCS design presented here is protected under US Patent Application No. 13/426,434.

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