Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, announces the first successful test flight of a controllable thrust solid rocket motor. The test, recently conducted at White Sands Missile Range, NM, required the motor to provide on-command thrust on a real-time basis for the NetFires Precision Attack Missile, a part of the Department of Defense NetFires program. The motor met all prescribed objectives.
On-command thrust provides the capability for longer range, shorter time-to-target, and multi-mission flexibility for each launched motor. The controllable thrust motor flown in early June -- perhaps the first such flight test in the world -- demonstrated the ability to provide the required thrust over the duration of the motor burn. The duration of the burn was approximately 50 seconds for a flight that was approximately two minutes and was conducted by prime contractor Raytheon.
"The very successful test was a significant milestone for Aerojet," said Joe Abbate, Aerojet executive director, Defense Systems. "This first flight of a tactical controllable thrust motor paves the way for further system development, production and implementation of a proven technology."
Aerojet previously conducted development, then flight-weight tests, vibration testing and temperature cycling over a five-year period to prepare for the flight test. Supported by investments from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army and Navy, and Raytheon, Aerojet pursued meeting stringent technical requirements and challenging low-cost expectations. Additional controllable thrust motors will be flown through the end of 2003, and Aerojet will enter a five-year System Design and Development program with Raytheon, preceding final motor production.
"Aerojet's controllable thrust technology will be a key component of the Army's Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System and the Precision Attack Missile," commented Glen Sutton, Raytheon NetFires program manager. "The use of this technology, developed on the NetFires program, will enable us to deliver a far better product to the U.S. Army."
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, and defense and armaments markets. GenCorp Inc. is a multi-national, technology-based manufacturer with leading positions in the automotive, aerospace, defense and pharmaceutical fine chemicals industries. For more information, please visit http://www.aerojet.com and http://www.gencorp.com .