Aerojet motor tested at Hill AFB

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — A 92-inch-diameter solid rocket motor that will be used in future defense missions was tested at Hill Air Force Base’s Utah Test and Training Range recently.

The motor was designed, fabricated and tested by Aerojet Rocketdyne for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Hill under a demonstration contract agreement. According to Aerojet, the piece of equipment was the largest motor ever tested at the UTTR.

Aerojet spokeswoman Jessica Pieczonka said the test was not for any specific Air Force program or weapons system, but rather a technology demonstration meant to provide strategic defense options for the Air Force.

Pieczonka said the technology can be used to provide strategic military deterrence, conventional strike and rapid space response. The technology can also can be applied to commercial launch systems and is helping to sustain and improve the solid rocket motor industrial base, a critical national need recognized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, according to Pieczonka.

Key features of the motor include a composite case fabricated with domestically supplied graphite fiber and a low-cost movable nozzle. Pieczonka said many rocket motor programs use Japan-sourced graphite fiber, but certain applications require other sourcing to avoid issues with the Japanese government’s constraints on supplying materials for weapons of mass destruction. 

According to a company news release, Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets.