Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed full-scale static test firing of a second stage propulsion system under US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Operational Fires (OpFires) programme.

The test was carried out last month at the US Army’s Redstone Test Center (RTC), Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, US.

It helped achieve the main objective of showcasing the technology that allows on-demand thrust termination.

DARPA programme manager lieutenant colonel Joshua Stults said: “The completion of the initial second stage booster test firing is an important step towards the goal of an advanced system able to precisely deliver a variety of conventional payloads to targets over a wide range of distances.”

Aerojet is developing propulsion technologies to support the OpFires programme as part of a contract awarded in December 2018.

The OpFires programme is aimed at developing and demonstrating new technologies for ground-launched medium-range hypersonic weapons.

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The project includes three phases of effort. Phase 1 focused on the design and development of an advanced solid rocket motor.

Under this phase, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) completed a total of more than 30 motor trials.

Phase 2 involved developing and testing at least two representative booster test articles. The test firing was performed as part of this phase.

Phase 3a covers integrated system preliminary design review and comprehensive design and test plan while Phase 3b will include full-scale missile fabrication, assembly, and flight testing from a launch vehicle.

In January last year, Lockheed won a contract from DARPA for the OpFires programme.

Lockheed selected three subcontractors for the OpFires Phase Three Weapon System Integration programme in October.