Aerospace Structures and Materials

Robust, adaptive and sustainable structures is a core capability needed for the power projection mission. Naval aviation demands structural and materials challenges that are unique and often more stringent than land-based aviation requirements. Meeting these challenges requires a strong program which sustains a focused aircraft S&T activity. Airframe structure is central to all naval aviation aircraft and weapons for both manned and unmanned operations. Airframe materials are the underlying enabling technology for naval air vehicle and weapons structures. Advances in structural and material science offers significant opportunity for improvements in availability and readiness, reduced sustainment requirements, fatigue assessment and service life enhancement, reduced weight and improved range. Improvement in mechanistic understanding of deformation and failure of the advanced structure is an enabler for enhanced analysis and design tools, and upgraded or new guidance, specifications and standard practices. The program focuses on the Navy’s unique aspects of design, materials selection, fabrication, analysis and repair related to air-vehicle and weapon structures. S&T investments in these areas offer opportunities in durability, life extension, sustainment and readiness. Most airframe technology challenges are not platform specific—rather they are fully represented in both current, new-build and planned next-generation designs.

Research Concentration Areas

The program consists of three thrusts: Metallic Structures, Composites Structures and Advanced Concepts. These are primarily concerned with load-bearing applications and related airframe functionality. The structures and materials focus area will also support the infrastructure necessary to maintain technology superiority, while serving as a pipeline of future scientists and engineers.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Metallic Structures – Topics in combined loading mechanics; environmentally assisted cracking; test methods; electrochemical stress; localized damage evolution; protective coatings and structural remediation; low-, high- and giga- cycle fatigue.
  • Composite Structures – Topics in characterization of structural response, damage initiation, environmental effects, under static-, dynamic-, and fatigue- loading; durability and repair of bonded joints; constituent materials development, handling-processing-property relationships; near net-shape and out-of-autoclave fabrication of composites.
  • Advanced Concepts – Topics in adaptive, reconfigurable structures; multifunctional surfaces; EMI shielding; protective coatings for IR optical apertures; PMC/CMC joining; lightweight armor materials and additive manufacturing for repair.

Program Contact Information

Name: Anisur Rahman

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 351

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

Submitting a white paper is the first step in working with us. It should not exceed four pages in length. White papers are accepted on a rolling basis, however, priority is given to submissions received by December 31 for funding consideration for the following fiscal year.

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-20-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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