Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully built and tested a Stored Chemical Energy Propulsion, or SCEPS, lithium boiler which could be used to power the U.S. Navy’s next generation torpedoes. SCEPS is an advanced propulsion system which improves the capabilities of the MK 54 MOD 2 torpedo. The Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo (formerly known as Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo, or LHT) is a standard 12.75-inch (324 mm) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo used by the United States Navy. The Mark 54 was co-developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and the U.S. Navy under the U.S. Navy’s Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo program in response to perceived problems with the extant Mark 50 and Mark 46 torpedoes.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne’s self-funded manufacturing of a SCEPS lithium boiler demonstrates our strong commitment to delivering affordable, low risk and high quality products to the U.S. Navy,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president.
“Maritime security is essential to national security,” said Drake. “The Aerojet Rocketdyne team is proud to enhance and advance our investment in SCEPS propulsion to power the nation’s cutting-edge undersea capability that will ultimately protect what we value most – our homeland, our U.S. military service members and our allies.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne independently funded the fabrication and testing of the SCEPS lithium-based thermal energy system, which uses an energetic chemical reaction to power a steam turbine. The boiler design builds upon the Penn State University Applied Research Laboratory’s (PSU-ARL) technical data package distributed by the U.S. Navy in 2020 for the Compact Rapid Attack Weapon (CRAW) program. In addition to its possible use for torpedoes, such as CRAW, Aerojet Rocketdyne is also developing SCEPS for the larger MK 54 MOD 2 torpedo. Aerojet Rocketdyne is under contract to the U.S. Navy to deliver SCEPS prototype afterbody/tailcone assemblies for an advanced propulsion system for the MK 54 MOD 2 Advanced Lightweight Torpedo (ALWT).
Aerojet Rocketdyne is an American manufacturer of rocket, hypersonic, and electric propulsive systems for space, defense, civil and commercial applications. Headquartered in Sacramento, California, the company is owned by Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings. 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. Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-class developer and manufacturer of advanced propulsion and energetics systems for customers including the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and other agencies and companies, both in the United States and abroad.