Aerojet, Roxel Team Achieves Key Milestone On Rocket Motor for Joint Common Missile
Sacramento, CA, 01-MAR-04 --
Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company [NYSE: GY], announced today a successful rocket motor demonstration in support of the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] bid for the U.S. Army and Navy's Joint Common Missile (JCM) program. The demonstration validated the capability of the team's single motor configuration to satisfy range and environmental requirements for both the rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft platforms that will carry the JCM. Aerojet and Roxel UK, which supplies the propellant, demonstrated a thrust turndown ratio of 20:1 on a minimum-smoke, 1.3 hazard classification, insensitive munition (IM)-compliant boost/sustain rocket motor. The demonstration was conducted at Roxel's Summerfield facility in Kidderminster, United Kingdom. The motor maintained a high ratio required by JCM, allowing a single missile configuration to fulfill JCM requirements on both rotary- and fixed-wing platforms.
Representing the ratio of boost thrust to sustain thrust, the 20:1 ratio is approximately three times higher than is typical for boost/sustain motors. This ratio will enable JCM to achieve ranges significantly beyond those of any current equivalent missiles, meeting or exceeding the JCM program range requirements of 16 km from U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps rotary-wing platforms and 28 km from the Navy's F/A-18 fighter. The high turn down ratio enables shorter time to missile cruise speed, followed by a thrust level that balances drag to maintain speed all the way to target.
The Aerojet/Roxel demonstration of such a high turndown ratio was a significant milestone for the team, said Jim Chamlee, Aerojet vice president, Tactical Programs. We are pleased with the progress that has already been made, and we anticipate meeting additional technology tests as work progresses by the team.
The Joint Common Missile is a multi-service, multi-user, multi-platform missile designed to engage and destroy stationary, re-locatable and moving targets ranging from buildings and bunkers to tactical vehicles and advanced armor. The weapon is also designed to destroy small naval targets such as patrol craft.
JCM is being developed to replace the Longbow/Hellfire missile on several rotary-wing platforms and the Maverick missile on the F/A-18. The long-term U.S. production run is estimated at 54,000 missiles, with a total contract value upwards of $5 billion. The UK Ministry of Defence is a potential future partner in the venture.
The successful testing conducted by Aerojet/Roxel further substantiates the technology readiness level of the rocket motor and the Lockheed Martin team's JCM design, thereby reducing program risk, said Rick Edwards, director, Tactical Missiles, at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. The high-confidence single-motor solution significantly reduces development cost by eliminating the need to qualify two motor configurations. It also provides a critical advantage to the Navy in shipboard operations by avoiding the need to inventory two different missiles to equip its rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.
Another substantial advantage of the Aerojet/Roxel motor is that the propellant is already in production in the UK, Edwards added. It meets the UK requirements for insensitive munitions (IM), which reduces risk in a performance area that is critical to troop safety, particularly aboard ships. We will be conducting additional tests under our risk reduction program to confirm this.
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 operations in the automotive, aerospace, defense and pharmaceutical fine chemicals industries.
Roxel (UK Rocket Motors), formerly BAe Systems RO, Rocket Motors Division, has a 50-year heritage as an international supplier of propellants and boost-sustain motors and has extensive experience with production Class 1.3 minimum-smoke propellants.