Orbital ATK has announced the successful completion of three consecutive ground-based static firings of a tactical, air-launched high performance propellant rocket motor – the first-ever and one of the largest of its class to be designed, built and static tested at hot and cold extreme conditions. With this test, Orbital ATK has successfully demonstrated materials and technologies applicable to future air-launched, high speed weapon systems.
“Using Orbital ATK’s expertise in air-launched propulsion development and production, we were first to succeed at testing a motor of this size in three simulated air-launch environments, confirming our readiness to move forward to the next stages of booster qualification,” said Pat Nolan, Vice President and General Manager of Missile Products in Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group. “These are great strides towards improving our high speed weapon systems which are critical to enhancing our warfighter’s safety, as well as their capabilities for greater standoff and quicker time to target.”
Emerging requirements for high-speed air-launched weapons are driving the need for larger, high performance tactical class boosters. The rocket motor tested contains high performance propellant in a large, lightweight composite case. Orbital ATK’s composite case greatly reduces the inert weight ratio over a conventional metal casing and also incorporates integral launcher attachment and payload interface features designed to withstand captive carry and flight environments.
Under a contract with the US Air Force Research Lab, the tests were all accomplished over a three-week period at the company’s tactical propulsion center of excellence at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, validating motor performance at both the hot and cold temperature extremes required by air-launch tactical missiles and boosters.
Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.