Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Rhenium Fabrication Processes


Develop cost-effective manufacturing technologies to fabricate rhenium components with predictable performance in a realistic lead time for the Solid propellant Divert and Attitude Control System (SDACS) of the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3).

Technical Approach

The proposed approach comprises development in four separate areas:

  1. Improve consistency and predictability of near-net-shape powder metallurgy (P/M) technologies for rhenium.
    • Die-press and sinter
    • Cold Isostatic Pressing (CIP) and sinter
    • Feasibility testing of the Powder Injection Molding (PIM) process for rhenium.
  2. Develop/improve, test and evaluate nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods such as neutron radiography to enhance inspections of rhenium components and to use as a tool for process improvement.
  3. Establish an optimal deformation processing window for rhenium.
  4. Identify efficient machining methods for rhenium:
    • Wire electrodischarge machining (EDM)
    • Explore other non-traditional methods.

Whenever possible, the experimental activities will be integrated with analytical and predictive tools to achieve the project objectives in an efficient, cost-effective manner.


The producibility of quality rhenium parts is on the critical path to enable deployment of the SM-3 (Block I). Reduced costs of the SDACS unit will also enable the Navy to reach the desired deployment levels of the Aegis Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) surface to air missile.


The implementation of the developed technologies will be achieved through technology transfer, technology transition and insertion into the production planning for the SDACS components. Giving component producers and users the earliest possible opportunity to participate in development and fabrication of the demonstration parts facilitates technology transition and transfer. Currently, the SM-3 is being produced on a developmental scale. The project ends in September 2003, which coincides with the beginning of the transition and qualification of the SDACS. The initial production block is scheduled to begin at the start of 2005. During this entire project duration and SDACS transition period, the SDACS contractor community can use technologies and information developed in this project.