Lockheed Martin Receives $3.1 Million Contract to Demonstrate Solid Fuel Ramjet at Over Mach 5.5
DALLAS, TX, August 12th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin has received a $3.1 million contract to continue development of a Solid Fuel Ramjet (SFRJ) and conduct full-scale tests at cruise conditions of over Mach 5.5. Development and testing performed under Phase I of the contract for the first time demonstrated SFRJ continuous, stable thrust-producing combustion at flight conditions representing cruise of Mach 5.7 at altitudes above 70,000 feet. The contract, SFRJ - Phase II, awarded by the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC), Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., calls for Lockheed Martin to demonstrate full-scale components and operation of the SFRJ at Mach 5.5 cruise conditions within the next 12 months.
"This contract is for the development and integration of a full-scale solid fuel ramjet propulsion system, along with the carbon/carbon combustor and airframe section," said Frank Powell, vice president - Naval Munitions for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We view this an important step in producing affordable hypersonic missiles for future naval and other military applications. The technology we're developing has application for both the Navy's Advanced Land Attack Missile program, as well as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA) Super Sonic Cruise Missile Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program."
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is the prime contractor for the Solid Fuel Ramjet Missile Technology Program, managed by the Propulsion Division of NAWC China Lake. The program is developing a ramjet propulsion system for tactical missile applications using an air-breathing solid fuel ramjet combined with carbon/carbon structural components. Lockheed Martin is designing and integrating the airframe and inlet for an air and ship launch tactical missile. ARC, Gainesville, Va., and SRI, Birmingham, Ala., are principal subcontractors for the propulsion system and carbon-carbon development respectively. The U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research sponsors the program.
Phase I of the SFRJ program successfully demonstrated the technology in rigorous sub-scale testing at both Mach 5 take-over and cruise conditions of Mach 5.7 at altitudes above 70,000 feet. Phase II will demonstrate a full-scale tactical missile-sized propulsion section and carbon/carbon structure at those same conditions.
The SFRJ engine offers the most efficient fuel packaging of all air-breathing engine options, thereby enabling high speeds and long ranges to be achieved within the envelope of a tactical missile system. Additionally, since the SFRJ fuel grain contains no oxidizer, it is consistent with the services' Insensitive Munitions requirements. On Lockheed Martin's SFRJ, there are no moving parts or complicated electronics, therefore lowering the cost and providing a much higher degree of reliability compared to conventional liquid fuel weapons.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has more than 40 years of experience with guidance, navigation and control of supersonic missiles. The company has determined that currently available tightly- and deeply-coupled Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System (INS) and precision guidance technologies, along with fully integrated high-performance electro-mechanical control actuation systems, will fully satisfy Mach 5-plus tactical ramjet cruise missile accuracy requirements.
Due to its simplicity of construction and operation, a Mach 5.5-plus solid fuel ramjet tactical missile could potentially be fielded within three or four years of a successful flight-test technology demonstration following this phase of the development. High-altitude cruise between Mach 5 and Mach 6 offers an ideal solution to engineering, cost, risk and operational trades for tactical missiles in terms of range capabilities, time-of-flight, thermal environment, inlet design, combustion processes, survivability and payload packaging.