Press Release

Aerojet Awarded Air Force Research Laboratory Ramjet Development Contract

By SpaceRef Editor
January 23, 2004
Filed under , ,

Aerojet, a GenCorp
Inc. company, through its recently announced acquisition of the
assets of Atlantic Research Corporation’s propulsion business (ARC Propulsion)
was named by Raytheon Missile Systems to be the propulsion supplier for the
Variable Flow Ducted Rocket (VFDR) Flight Vehicle Concepts program. Raytheon
is the prime contractor on the program for the Air Force Research Laboratory
Munitions Directorate Flight Vehicle Integration Branch. The first phase of
the contract will operate for approximately one year.

Under the VFDR program, Aerojet will develop a preliminary design for a
flight test vehicle with a propulsion system designed specifically for
air-to-air tactical missile applications. Additionally, adaptations of the
VFDR technology will be evaluated for other potential tactical missile
applications.

ARC Propulsion conducted a flightweight ground test of the VFDR engine in
1997, completing more than 20 years of design and development work by the Air
Force Research Laboratory’s Propulsion Directorate. The successful
flightweight ground test demonstrated the technology was ready for flight
testing. Now, Aerojet is teamed with Raytheon to apply the previous
development work to the VFDR Flight Vehicle Concepts program, and potentially
to future Air Force missile requirements.

According to Aerojet’s Manager of Airbreathing Systems, Pat Hewitt, early
— and ongoing — investments in ramjet technology for air-to-air tactical
missile applications were crucial components in the selection of Raytheon to
work on the VFDR propulsion system. “Our steadfast commitment to ramjet
technology development has kept this propulsion option open for military
applications, and significant progress in recent years has demonstrated the
potential for use in programs such as VFDR,” Hewitt said.

The VFDR ramjet uses a solid propellant to provide hot fuel-rich gas as
the ramjet fuel, and a valve is used to control the fuel flow rate and engine
thrust during flight. Other ongoing ramjet work at Aerojet include the
MARC-R282 variable flow ducted rocket ramjet engine developed for the U.S.
Navy’s GQM-163A Coyote missile target system, and the MARC-R290 VFDR ramjet
for the Navy’s High Speed Anti-radiation Missile Demonstration program.

“We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to work on the VFDR program
with Raytheon and the Air Force Research Laboratory,” said Rick Yezzi, Aerojet
Vice President of Business Development, Tactical Systems. “This is a great
opportunity to build on more than 20 years of work together with the Air Force
and Raytheon toward the VFDR Flight Vehicle concepts goals.”

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 leading
positions in the automotive, aerospace, defense and pharmaceutical fine
chemicals industries. For more information, please visit
http://www.aerojet.com and http://www.gencorp.com .

SpaceRef staff editor.