Aerojet wins contract for composites-encased solid rocket motor

The three-year, $46 million contract with the U.S. Air Force calls for a composite case around the 92-inch upper stage motor.

Aerojet, a GenCorp (Sacramento, Calif.) company, reported on May 14 that it has been awarded the Large Class (LC) Stage II Technology Demonstration contract from the U.S. Air Force’s 526th ICBM Systems Group. The program is worth more than $46 million over a three-year period and includes delivery of a Stage II asset for flight demonstration.

Aerojet’s large solid motor heritage with the Air Force spans nearly 40 years. The company has designed, developed and produced the second stage of every U.S. Air Force strategic launch vehicle ever fielded or flown: Minuteman I, II and III; Peacekeeper and Small ICBM.

The LC Stage II award will provide the Air Force with a modern 92-inch/2,337-mm diameter upper stage motor that can be used for a variety of future launch applications including strategic deterrence, conventional strike and rapid space response.

“The Large Class Stage II Technology Demonstration Program is destined to become another example of the outstanding teamwork between Aerojet and the Air Force. We look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence with the development of the next generation of solid upper stage systems,” said vice president of Defense Programs, Dick Bregard.

Aerojet’s approach for the LC Stage II Demonstration effort will use industry-wide capabilities including those at Aerojet’s Sacramento facility and at its critical suppliers. Key features of the motor include a composite case fabricated with domestically supplied graphite fiber, a low-cost movable nozzle with electrical-mechanical thrust vector control actuators and robust production-based propellant. Mark Kaufman, executive director of Strategic Propulsion Programs, commented, “Aerojet’s proposal was structured to provide the best overall value to our Air Force customer. Our broad-based program plan will deliver a modernized upper stage solid rocket motor to the Air Force and will help sustain key propulsion industry suppliers for long-term value to the U.S. government.”