Recommendation: The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate and Propulsion and Power Directorate need to develop a strategy to maintain or regain U.S. preeminence in propulsion materials. The strategy should include the regular review and updating of the directorates’ propulsion materials plan, with an emphasis on the consequences of unfunded items, the changing external environment, and maintaining a balance for the near-, mid-, and far-term activities in response to the Focused Long Term Challenges and funding commitment.
Recommendation: The AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate and Propulsion and Power Directorate should increase their communication and collaboration with the AFOSR, system program offices, industry, and academia relative to propulsion materials needs, advances, technology readiness, and the potential systems payoffs of technology insertion.
Recommendation: To maintain or regain the U.S. military competitive advantage in the areas of propulsion materials and to keep the United States on the leading edge of propulsion technology, there is a need for advocacy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Director, Defense Research and Engineering, to increase activities in new materials development and competitive 6.2 component and 6.3 demonstrator programs.
Additional detailed findings and recommendations that are related to the ITAR-controlled plan are provided in restricted Appendix D, the text of which is not releasable to the public.