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Aerojet Ramjet For DARPA Missile (July 18)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, has been awarded a $43 million, sole-source contract from Boeing Phantom Works to develop the "HyFly" dual combustion ramjet test flight engines for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research's (ONR) HyFly hypersonic long-range strike missile demonstrator.

The objective of the DARPA/ONR HyFly program is to demonstrate the hypersonic propulsion and vehicle characteristics of a solid motor boosted hypersonic long-range strike missile demonstrator, which, when fully developed will have capabilities of rapid response and penetration of deeply buried targets. Aerojet's HyFly engine will accelerate the demonstrator to Mach 6 cruise speed and provide the sustaining propulsion with liquid hydrocarbon fuel during hypersonic cruise, achieving a range of 600 nautical miles.

"In response to the events of last September, the nation is seeking weapons with the ability to strike fast and deep in enemy territory," said Joe Abbate, Aerojet executive director, defense systems. "The HyFly missile is an answer to this challenge."

Work scope for the 48-month contract, that began May 6, will require Aerojet to develop 14 flight test engines -- six for ground test and eight for flight evaluation. Currently Aerojet is engaged in Mach 6 testing of a heavy-weight version of the HyFly engine at the NASA Langley Research Center, in Hampton Va. The first flight of the dual combustion ramjet (DCR)-powered HyFly vehicle is scheduled for November 2004.

The HyFly DCR builds upon a concept established in the late 1970s. The DCR employs two air inlet systems. One system feeds a subsonic gas generator in which a fuel-rich gas is generated. The gas is then co-axially mixed with supersonic air from the second inlet system. The DCR is a dual mode system; its diverging combustor section permits thermally-choked operation as a ramjet, but allows for transition into a supersonic combustion ramjet also called a scramjet. Aerojet's extensive background in hypersonics in general and solid motor materials technology in particular, provides the enabling material/structure and development know-how.

"Aerojet's investment in Affordable Rapid Response System Missile Demonstrator program (ARRMD) a few years ago put the company in the unique position to be significantly ahead of the competition," said Dr. Adam Siebenhaar, Aerojet ARRMD program manager and HyFly Chief Engineer. "We had the vision to invest in this technology and the ability to convince the customer that Aerojet was the company with the best and most mature solution."

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 technology-based manufacturer with leading positions in aerospace and defense, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

Aerojet Awarded $43 Million Contract To Develop Engines For New 'Hyfly' Missile Demonstrator Vehicle