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Motor Tested For Navy Intermediate Range Missile: Lockheed

By | July 24, 2006

      A first-stage booster motor for a Navy intermediate range ballistic missile (SLIRBM) fired successfully in a test, according to Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] and Alliant Techsystems [ATK].

      The companies test fired the motor in a booster system demonstration for the Navy, according to Lockheed.

      The modified ATK Orion 32-7 booster motor, which is part of a prototype two-stage propulsion system, was fired for 50 seconds at maximum thrust at an ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah.

      This test demonstrated integrated operation of the motor with an electro-mechanical thrust vector control system that steers the motor nozzle, and a Lockheed Martin-developed avionics system that issues flight control and steering commands to the thrust vector control system.

      The motor uses hazard class 1.3 solid propellant, a low-cost, high-performance rocket fuel, Lockheed stated.

      This test demonstrated affordable, reliable and producible solid-propellant rocket motor technologies for a proposed conventional missile, according to Lockheed.

      The demonstration is the first phase in a low-risk development path for a proposed new missile that would travel at supersonic speed to reach intermediate-range targets within 15 minutes, providing a prompt global strike capability, the company continued.

      The proposed missile would be deployed on Ohio-class Trident SSGN guided missile submarines. These are subs that have been transformed from Cold War platforms firing ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear weapons, to boats embarked in the war on terrorism that fire missiles with conventional warheads.

      “This integrated test is an important step forward in developing this potential new capability for the Navy,” said Michele Smith, Lockheed program manager for the SLIRBM booster system demonstration.

      She added that the test succeeded in “identifying cost reductions in design and operation with no sacrifice in performance.”

      Charlie Precourt, vice president of advanced strategic programs with ATK Launch Systems, said that the company managed to “design, develop and test the first-stage motor in only 12 months.”

      The contractor team next will conduct a static test firing of a modified ATK Orion 32-4 second-stage motor and complete a missile system trade study.

      Last year, the Navy awarded the 16-month, $9.2 million contract for the system.

      Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor, systems integrator and missile system trade study lead, and it performs program management and engineering at its Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.

      ATK is developing the rocket motor technology, including the booster motor and nozzle.

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