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Fri, Apr 08, 2022

DARPA, AFRL, Lockheed Complete Hypersonic Missile Test

Aerojet Rocketdyne Announces Successful Scramjet Use in Tech Demonstrator for Air-Launched Cruise Missile System

Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully test flown a prototype scramjet engine for the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), in a joint program with DARPA, the Air Force Research Lab, and Lockheed Martin. 

The HAWC program is hoped to develop and demonstrate foundational technologies needed to create an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile system. The hostilities half a world away have highlighted an apparent gap in the American arsenal, giving planners, designers, and leaders some added urgency in developing a sufficiently competitive system to achieve capability parity. 
 
The fundamental design of the HAWC as created leverages decades of improvement in engineering, materials, and computer-aided design capability. Aerojet Rocketdyne has lowered part count by 95% with the use of additive manufacturing throughout the system 3d-printing parts that would be impossible to affordably milled or cast using traditional methods. The basic technology was put into use on the USAF X-51A Waverider, a sustained hypersonic flight test platform.

Given the rapid pace of development in the additive manufacturing realm, the HAWC benefits from a considerable level of advancement over its aged predecessor. Aerodyne has taken the lessons learned from that program and continued to, according to staff: "improve the aerothermal performance, affordability, scalability and rapid manufacturability of scramjet engines to meet emerging needs for hypersonic missile and aircraft applications."

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is well-positioned to support our nation’s hypersonic development and production,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “By applying decades of advanced research and development, together with engineering know-how and innovative manufacturing and materials, our products optimize performance while dramatically reducing costs and development time.”

FMI: www.AerojetRocketdyne.com

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