US Miltary Provide $280K Funding to Starfire Systems to Develop Advanced Ceramic Clutch Materials

Starfire Systems, located in the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park, announced today that it received three Phase I SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) awards. Two are from the Air Force and one is from the Navy. The combined awards total $280,000. Follow-on contracts worth up to $750,000 each may be possible if these phase one projects are successful.

Starfire is benefiting from an increasing number of military programs aggressively pursuing advanced ceramics to achieve levels of performance unobtainable with conventional materials. Under the first Air Force award, Starfire will develop improved clutch materials for the Joint Strike Fighter lift-fan clutch. The clutch is a key component in the propulsion system that enables short take off and vertical landings (STOVL). This capability is essential to improve the safety and effectiveness of pilots in combat and reconnaissance missions. The last two awards explore cost reduction to expand the use and availability of advanced material fabrication for the next generation of hypersonic missiles, rockets, and space transportation systems. The second Air Force award provides resources to demonstrate low cost processing capabilities of net-shape polymer based matrix composites. The Navy program will demonstrate approaches that automate fabrication processes to develop high performance nanostructured composites under the third. The goal of automation and establishing manufacturing processes is to enable the production of affordable composite components that are expected to permit engine designs with improved performance, greater efficiency, and a longer useful life. All three awards will leverage key advantages of Starfire Systems technology: manufacturing capabilities that combine the flexible processing and design benefits of polymers with the added gains of tough, thermally stable, lightweight silicon carbide ceramics.

Richard Saburro, Starfire’s President and CEO said, “These awards recognize the expanding interest and use of Starfire’s nanostructured ceramic forming polymer and its ability to redefine advanced materials solutions to solve the problems of both the military and a broad range of industrial applications.”

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