Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Transformative Materials

Relating to new or improved properties in materials

Showing 3 results for Materials + Munitions RSS
01/01/1972
Beginning in the mid-1970s, DARPA orchestrated extensive research into the semiconductor material gallium arsenide, which could host faster transistors operating at higher power than could silicon. The work would contribute to subsequent DARPA-spurred achievement in the 1980s to miniaturize receivers for GPS. That technology, in conjunction with DARPA-developed advances in inertial navigation, expanded the Nation’s arsenal of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) through such innovations as “bolt-on” Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) GPS kits, which gave otherwise unguided or laser-guided munitions new, high-precision capabilities. Key to these developments were gallium arsenide chips developed through DARPA’s Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit program, which also enabled the radio frequency (RF) and millimeter-wave circuits needed in precision weapons.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) develops and uses molecules and materials across a diverse range of areas including therapeutics, electronics, coatings, and fuels. Application areas with particularly unique relevance to national security, such as energetics, tend not to keep pace with the need for innovation and new performance characteristics.
Reactive materials are solids such as metals and metal oxides that cannot be detonated, but are capable of releasing large amounts of thermodynamic energy very rapidly. These materials can provide energy that exceeds those of traditional explosives and offer the potential of significantly increasing performance without increasing size or weight. The potential of this class of materials has not been realized because of limitations related to dynamic control of strength and energy conversion mechanisms. The Reactive Material Structures (RMS) program seeks to develop the revolutionary capability of integrating reactive and structural materials into a single material system, with a mechanism to activate that system and release energy upon command.