Press Release

First Successful Flight Test of an Aerojet Controllable Thrust Solid Rocket Motor

By SpaceRef Editor
June 11, 2003
Filed under , ,

Aerojet, a
GenCorp Inc. company, announces the first successful test flight of
a controllable thrust solid rocket motor. The test, recently conducted at
White Sands Missile Range, NM, required the motor to provide on-command thrust
on a real-time basis for the NetFires Precision Attack Missile, a part of the
Department of Defense NetFires program. The motor met all prescribed

On-command thrust provides the capability for longer range, shorter
time-to-target, and multi-mission flexibility for each launched motor. The
controllable thrust motor flown in early June — perhaps the first such flight
test in the world — demonstrated the ability to provide the required thrust
over the duration of the motor burn. The duration of the burn was
approximately 50 seconds for a flight that was approximately two minutes and
was conducted by prime contractor Raytheon.

“The very successful test was a significant milestone for Aerojet,” said
Joe Abbate, Aerojet executive director, Defense Systems. “This first flight
of a tactical controllable thrust motor paves the way for further system
development, production and implementation of a proven technology.”

Aerojet previously conducted development, then flight-weight tests,
vibration testing and temperature cycling over a five-year period to prepare
for the flight test. Supported by investments from the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army and Navy, and Raytheon,
Aerojet pursued meeting stringent technical requirements and challenging
low-cost expectations. Additional controllable thrust motors will be flown
through the end of 2003, and Aerojet will enter a five-year System Design and
Development program with Raytheon, preceding final motor production.

“Aerojet’s controllable thrust technology will be a key component of the
Army’s Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System and the Precision Attack Missile,”
commented Glen Sutton, Raytheon NetFires program manager. “The use of this
technology, developed on the NetFires program, will enable us to deliver a far
better product to the U.S. Army.”

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 and .

SpaceRef staff editor.