Exquadrum has completed the Technology Maturation Event (TME) hot-fire test of its new Operational Fires (OpFires) rocket system.

The new rocket is being developed to accomplish the objectives of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) OpFires advanced tactical weapon system mission.

The TME test is the culmination of the Phase 1 portion of the $15.1m prime contract secured by Exquadrum in September 2018.

This phase demonstrated the team’s critical technologies over a period of one year and included a preliminary design review, culminating in the system-level hot-fire TME test of the propulsion system.

It has demonstrated Exquadrum’s new rocket propulsion system at full-scale at the company’s rocket test facility located at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, US.

Exquadrum CEO Kevin Mahaffy said: “DARPA challenged Exquadrum to take our innovative propulsion technology from a pre-proposal feasibility test all the way to a full-scale demonstration in one year and Exquadrum, along with our partner, Dynetics, achieved that goal.”

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The Exquadrum and Dynetics team are currently are working together to develop the second stage of the OpFires weapon system.

The Phase 2 option on the contract was awarded to Exquadrum for the development and demonstration of a flight-weight stage in preparation for a flight test programme.

The award of this phase option will mature the propulsion system and the booster design over another year, highlighted by a critical design review and flight-weight system demonstrations.

Overall, the programme is aimed at developing a new ground-launched system for hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defences.

Dynetics Strategy for Space director Andy Crocker said: “For the past year, our engineers have worked diligently to design and test the booster system and meet the hot-fire test’s objectives.

“This test shows our ability to collaborate with Exquadrum and execute efficiently on a programme that is essential to our nation’s defence.”

In November 2018, the US Army selected Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum and SNC to commence the OpFires programme together with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).