Military platforms—such as ships, aircraft and ground vehicles—rely on advanced materials to make them lighter, stronger and more resistant to stress, heat and other harsh environmental conditions. Currently, the process for developing new materials to field in platforms frequently takes more than a decade. This lengthy process often means that developers of new military platforms are forced to rely on decades-old, mature materials because potentially more advanced materials are still being developed and tested, and are considered too large a risk to be implemented into platform designs.
DARPA’s Materials Development for Platforms (MDP) program seeks to address this problem by compressing the applied material development process by at least 75 percent: from an average of 10 years or longer to just two and a half years. The program will create a materials development methodology and toolset that is guided by platform-level "design intent." Design intent refers to how the materials will be used in a military platform, which allows materials developers and designers to collaborate and optimize the final solution from the start based on performance needs of the platform.
MDP aims to achieve its goals through a collaborative, cross-disciplinary model that combines materials science and engineering with the platform development disciplines of engineering, design, analysis and manufacturing.
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