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August 17, 2010

Aerojet Report Successful Ground-Testing Of Advanced Solid, Storable Ramjet Fuel

Responding to the Defense Department’s expression of interest in a storable solid fuel for use in tactical missiles, Aerojet said Aug. 10 that its tests of an advanced solid ramjet fuel, “AerGen,” in an engine ground test proved successful.

Aerojet said the fuel is being developed to provide long-range, high-speed capability for the U.S. military generally and in particular, for possible future use in the Air Force/Navy Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile (JDRADM).

Ramjet engines historically use liquid fuel which, Aerojet explained, mixes with atmospheric air to provide thrust at high speed. In 2000, Aerojet developed the world's first throttleable solid-fueled ramjet for the Navy’s GQM-163A Coyote non-recoverable target vehicle

The Coyote is initially boosted by a Hercules MK-70 booster, of similar design to those used by the now obsolete RIM-67 Standard ER missiles, according to the “Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles.” After the booster stage is expended, the missile switches to an Aerojet MARC-R-282 solid-fueled ducted rocket/ramjet engine for sustaining its flight.

Since then, Aerojet has been developing a family of advanced formulations called AerGen fuels with properties suitable for a tactical missile ramjet engine. The company claims the fuel “burns very efficiently, resulting in more delivered energy and reduced visible exhaust.”

Aerojet conducted the latest ground-testing at its Airbreathing Test Facility in Orange County, Va., where a full-scale engine was tested at conditions simulating high-altitude, high-speed flight.

"Our airbreathing propulsion business represents cutting-edge technology aimed at future military requirements," said Aerojet Vice President and Deputy to the President, Dick Bregard. "Aerojet is proud to demonstrate our commitment to advancing our country's military capability through this innovative ramjet fuel research."

Aerojet, an aerospace and defense leader in technology-based manufacturing, principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets, is a GenCorp company headquartered in Sacramento, Calif.

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