TITLE: Anti-Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Technologies

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Weapons; EW Threat Warning and Ordnance

ACQUISITION SPONSOR: Marine Corps Systems Command

OBJECTIVE: This solicitation seeks novel technologies having the potential for protecting US forces from Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG’s).

DESCRIPTION: Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG’s) represent a persistent threat to overseas US military operations among indigenous local populations. These weapons are relatively inexpensive and widely available throughout the world. Despite their low cost, they are effective at disabling or destroying unarmored or even lightly armored military vehicles. There are a wide variety of RPG warhead types, but many employ a focused blast or shaped charge warhead capable of penetrating considerable armor, provided the warhead is detonated at the proper distance from the armor surface. RPG’s are generally fired at short range, so the time between launch and impact is typically no more than a second or two. This solicitation seeks novel approaches for defeating the effectiveness of these weapons via concepts possibly including but not necessarily limited to:

  • RPG launch warning and bearing determination
  • Automated counter fire, or designation for engagement
  • Interference with the timing of RPG warhead detonation
  • Concepts for retrofitting of existing military vehicles with ballistic protection that can be easily applied or removed in the field.
  • Novel concepts for light weight inhomogeneous and/or anisotropic ballistic armor capable of disrupting the axial symmetry of armor piercing shaped charge warhead jets.

PHASE I: Demonstrate feasibility of the salient physical principal of the proposed approach in a laboratory environment. Conduct a theoretical effectiveness analysis of the proposed concept modeling the probability that the proposed concept could achieve its claimed benefits (or portions thereof) given the pertinent uncertainties of a realistic operational environment.

PHASE II: Design and construct an engineering prototype to be demonstrated at the end of this phase. The prototype will be sufficiently refined so that effectiveness of the embodied concept toward countering RPG’s can be evaluated in simulated encounters with representative surrogate RPG’s or components. During this phase the theoretical concept effectiveness analysis from phase I would be refined into a prototype effectiveness analysis using measured performance parameters of the prototype device.

PHASE III: Refine the prototype developed in phase II so that it can be fabricated and evaluated in small numbers by operational forces. At this point the prototype should be sufficiently representative of the final product that all operational benefits, consequences and tradeoffs associated with full deployment can be clearly quantified via field trials. During this phase, limited numbers would be fielded with operational forces for evaluation and feedback. Prior to the completion of this phase, the prototype effectiveness analysis from phase II would be further refined into an operational effectiveness analysis by incorporating the pertinent observations and variables derived from field trials. These field trials would constitute the basis for additional modifications as well as any subsequent procurement decision.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: It is unlikely that this solicitation would lead to a device with applicability beyond military purposes.

REFERENCES: The Internet constitutes an excellent source of information on rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s) as well as the tactics and circumstances associated with recent RPG attacks.

KEY WORDS: Armor, Ballistics, Infrared detection


POC: Clifford W. Anderson

PHONE: (703) 696-4485

EMAIL: anderscw@onr.navy.mil

Why propose this topic: This topic addresses a persistent operational challenge faced by US forces deployed overseas. Consequently, DoD leadership has declared the resolution of this issue to be among their highest priorities. Although there has been considerable technical effort throughout the DoD addressed toward this specific subject as well as other closely related issues, this small business solicitation is intended to further enhance the possibility that yet additional novel solutions may be identified.

Category: Advanced Development