Variable Thrust Solid Rocket Motor Tests Successfully

Press Release From: Aerojet
Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2002

Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, announced today a successful test of its variable thrust solid rocket motor. All planned test objectives of the flight-weight motor were met during the 50-second test.

Aerojet, working in conjunction with Raytheon's Missile Systems Division, is developing next-generation propulsion systems for tactical missiles. Building on work for the U.S. Army, Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Aerojet's objective is to demonstrate the technology required to vary rocket motor thrust in response to commands from a missile guidance system.

"Variable thrust solid rocket motors have many benefits for missile designers. It will allow a single missile to both fly faster to short range targets, as well as increase a missile's maximum range if required," said Joe Abbate, Aerojet executive director, defense systems. "Aerojet's variable thrust technology will meet these requirements."

A missile with a variable thrust rocket motor will be able to sprint to a close threat target, slow down for dramatic range increase or for better target sensing, speed up for an end-game sprint, or change speed in turns for the best performance. Aerojet's successful milestone test of the variable thrust solid rocket motor begins a series of tests designed to validate the performance and reliability of this new technology. Additional tests will be conducted at both high and low temperature extremes, as well as at additional thrust settings.

"We're very excited about the potential of Aerojet's variable thrust rocket motors," said Glen Sutton, program manager for Raytheon's NetFires program. "Technologies such as Aerojet's will greatly improve the systems we provide to the Army and the Objective Force." Aerojet's variable thrust technology will support missile programs such as the Precision Attack Missile (PAM) being developed by Raytheon for the DARPA/Army NetFires program, the Army's Common Modular Missile as well as other Army, Navy, and Airforce tactical missile programs.

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 technology-based manufacturer with leading positions in aerospace and defense, pharmaceutical and automotive industries. For more information, please visit and .

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