Navy contracts for submarine ballistic missile re-entry systems

June 21 (UPI) — Southern Research Institute has been awarded a contract for thermo-mechanical and aero-thermal ground testing of thermal protection system materials in ballistic re-entry and re-entry-like environments.

The deal, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, is valued at a $9.6 million and comes under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The contract enables the Southern Research Institute to conduct ground testing of thermal protection and system materials, and produce flight hardware for submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM, re-entry systems.

The effort will test the re-entry materials for the U.S. and the U.K., and provides support for the SLBM re-entry systems under the Strategic Systems Programs. That support includes preparation, instrumentation, testing and gathering thermo-mechanical data on advanced materials at extremely high temperatures and in high flux/shear environments.

It requires the unique ability to test and collect data at maximum temperatures of 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit to properly test re-entry material in re-entry-like environments.

The contract includes options that could bring the value up to $33.4 million. It combines the purchase for the Navy at 70 percent and the UK at 30 percent under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The work will be performed in Birmingham, Ala., and is expected to be completed by June 2019.

The pentagon has obligated $510,000 to Southern Research Institute at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.