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Aerojet Rocketdyne selected by Lockheed Martin for hypersonic missile program

HUNTSVILLE — Aerojet Rocketdyne was chosen to build a booster for a Lockheed Martin hypersonic weapon system, the companies announced. The solid rocket booster is the second stage of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hypersonic weapon system known as Operational Fires.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is leading the integration effort for the third phase of the program. Also on the team are Huntsville-based Dynetics, Northrop Grumman and Electronic Concepts & Engineering.

“We continue to push the envelope in our hypersonic propulsion technologies, whether by developing a high-performance solid rocket motor that can be turned off on command, like for OpFires, or by incorporating additive manufacturing into our air-breathing scramjet engines to improve affordability,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “We look forward to leveraging our advanced hypersonic technologies for the Lockheed Martin team and supporting DARPA’s effort to provide increased flexibility and lethality for our warfighters.”

According to a news release, the mission of OpFires is to develop and demonstrate a ground-launched hypersonic missile system. The missiles will be launched from a mobile platform, penetrate enemy air defenses and strike their targets rapidly.

Prior to being selected for Phase 3, Aerojet Rocketdyne built and successfully tested a full-scale advanced rocket motor for DARPA in support of Phase 2 of the OpFires program. During the test series, the company demonstrated the solid rocket motor’s ability to terminate thrust on command.

“As we continue actively working with DARPA’s OpFires program to demonstrate a long-term solution for the Army’s medium range capability, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s innovative variable-range rocket motor now enables OpFires to deliver payloads across the mid-range spectrum with a single, hypersonic missile,” said Jason Reynolds, vice president of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

In addition to solid rocket motor boosters, Aerojet Rocketdyne provides a broad range of capabilities to support hypersonics, including scramjets and warheads.

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