APL Colloquium

December 8, 2021

Colloquium Topic: Terminal Effects of Hypersonic Weapon Impacts


In this research, we focus on exploring the immediate effects of a hypersonic body impacting water to assess the bow shock, shock decay as a function of position relative to the projectile path, and shock decay in time outside of the projectile path. A series of impacts are simulated using the CTH hydro code. We then develop an analytic model for the hypersonic vehicle erosion and concurrent water shock, such that given a projectile’s density, length, and impact velocity/obliquity we can estimate shock pressure and impulse generated by the impact. The analytic model provides an efficient scheme for estimating shock-induced deformation and damage through combination with existing models. Finally, the results are reviewed for practical implications in the context of naval combat.

Colloquium Speaker: LT David West

Lt. David West is a native of Old Tappan, New Jersey. After graduating from Pace University in New York in 2010, he worked as an information technology administrator until joining the Navy through the Officer Candidate School program and earning his commission in 2013 as a Surface Warfare Officer, Engineering Duty Option.

His first duty station was aboard USS Spruance (DDG 111) in San Diego, California as the repair division officer, where he served during her maiden deployment in the Western Pacific. In 2015 he reported to Destroyer Squadron TWO (DESRON TWO) while it was deployed with Carrier Strike Group 12 in the Persian Gulf. While embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Lt. West served in various roles as a staff officer providing logistics and engineering support to units deployed with the strike group.  His tactical employment during this tour included duty staff anti-submarine warfare officer, providing tactical recommendations for addressing submarine threats to the east coast of the continental United States, and staff tactical watch officer duties while underway.

Lt. West next attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and graduated in December 2019 with a Master of Science in physics with a focus on weapons and weapons effects. He received the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s Award for Excellence in Applied Physics Research for his thesis developing a set of equations that estimate the effects of hypersonic impacts.

In 2020 Lt. West joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division as a test and evaluation project officer. During his time at the warfare center, he oversaw the Combat Systems Test & Qualification Trials for HMAS SYDNEY (DDG 42) and has been involved in numerous projects related to the development and testing of future capabilities.