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Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully completed a second series of propulsion system tests in support of the Operational Fires (OpFires) program, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) effort to develop a ground-launched hypersonic missile for tactical use.
“We’re pleased to be a part of developing this vital defense technology, applying our decades of experience in hypersonic and missile defense technologies,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president.
During the propulsion tests, called cold gas testing, the test articles operated successfully with all components providing critical data to the operation of the OpFires propulsion system. The test series followed last year’s successful subscale propulsion test firings.
DARPA’s OpFires program aims to develop a two-stage missile capable of engaging high-value, time-sensitive targets from standoff range in contested environments. The effort to date has advanced the technology for an upper stage featuring a tunable propulsion system, according to DARPA.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has been supporting the program through a Phase 1 contract to design propulsion concepts and technologies for OpFires. The contract continued with an $8.8 million option for Phase 2 of the program, which is expected to culminate in late 2020 following multiple test firings.