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Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program. FY1999 Annual Report.

pdf icon Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program. FY1999 Annual Report. (4892 K)
Gann, R. G.

NISTIR 6479; Annual Report; PP-1059; 27 p. August 2000.

Available from:

National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
Telephone: 1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
Fax: 703-605-6900; Rush Service (Telephone Orders Only) 800-553-6847;
Order number: PB2000-108101


fire suppression; aerosols; halon 1301; halon alternatives; fuel tanks


Halon 1301 (CF3Br) has long been the choice for fire extinguishment in most weapon systems and mission-critical facilities. However, due to its high ozone-depletion potential, halon 1301 was banned from production as of January 1, 1994, under the Copenhagen Amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. As part of its effort to eliminate its dependence on halon 1301, in FY 1997 the Department of Defence (DOD) initiated its Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP). The goal of the 9-year, $46 million research program was to develop and demonstrate, by 2005, retrofitable, economically feasible, environmentally acceptable and user-safe processes, techniques, and fluids that meet the operational requirements currentiy satisfied by halon 1301 systems in aircraft, ships, land combat vehicles, and critical mission support facilities. The results are to be specifically applicable to fielded weapons systems. If successful, the NGP would eliminate DOD dependence on a substance no longer in national production, minimize any readiness impacts that could result if halon 1301 use restrictions were imposed in the future, and achieve these at greatly reduced cost. Prior DOD efforts had identified viable, near-term halon alternatives for a wide variety of weapon system applications. These alternatives typically require weights and volumes that are double or triple that of halon 1301 for equivalent effectiveness. While they can be accommodated in new system designs, they pose a significant problem to existing weapon systems because of form, fit, and function constraints. Given the current extensions of in-service lives of fielded weapon systems, this problem could ultimately require DOD program managers to expend large amounts of funding and time for fire suppression system redesign and reconfiguration. The potential fire locations for which alternatives to halon 1301 are sought include aircraft engine nacelles, dry bays, cargo bays, and fuel tanks; ground vehicle crew compartments; and shipboard machinery spaces and storage compartments. These locations vary in size, shape and occupancy; the fuels are solids, vapors and liquids (pools and sprays); and the suppression times range from about 0.1 s to 100 s. The hazards to be avoided include harm to people, thermal damage, post-fire corrosion, loss of visibility, and overpressure. Successful candidates must thus do well in: fire suppression efficiency and reignition quenching, ODP, GWP, atmospheric lifetime, suppressant residue level, electrical conductivity, metals non-corrosivity and polymeric materials compatibility, long-term storage stability, low toxicity of the chemical and its combustion and decomposition products, speed of dispersion, safety and occupational health requirements. To be cost-effective, the suppressant and storage/delivery system must be of light weight and low volume, as well as compatible with the host designs of existing platforms.