Aerojet Rocketdyne and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have achieved record levels of thrust by a scramjet engine 10 years after making history by powering the first hydrocarbon-fueled and cooled air-breathing hypersonic flight test. The AFRL-Aerojet Rocketdyne team recently completed a successful series of hot-fire tests of an advanced air-breathing hypersonic engine under the United States Air Force’s Medium Scale Critical Components (MSCC) program.
The 18-foot Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine produced record levels of thrust, in excess of 13,000 lbs. The testing occurred over 12 months with more than an hour of sustained combustion at several hypersonic flight conditions. Tests were conducted across a range of Mach numbers demonstrating performance to accelerate a vehicle approximately 10 times the size of the X-51, at hypersonic speeds. Testing was accomplished by the ground test team operating the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit (APTU) at Arnold Air Force Base.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has continued to improve the aerothermal performance, affordability, scalability and rapid manufacturability of scramjet engines to meet emerging needs. The company’s innovative design incorporates numerous advanced technologies and manufacturing materials and processes. With ongoing investments in facility modernization, retention of highly-skilled personnel, and decades of expertise in scramjets, solid rocket motors and warheads, the company is well-positioned to meet a range of defense operational requirements.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion systems and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, and tactical systems areas, in support of domestic and international customers. Aerojet Rocketdyne was formed in 2013 when Aerojet (then owned by GenCorp) and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne were merged, following the latter’s acquisition by GenCorp from Pratt & Whitney. On April 27, 2015, the name of the holding company, GenCorp, was changed from GenCorp, Inc. to Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.