SPARC Research has received a contract for the propulsion design of a future hypersonic interceptor weapon system.

Having received the contract award from the US not-for-profit research and development organisation Draper Laboratory, SPARC will also be responsible for delivering analysis support for the weapon.

The project concept is based on advanced air-breathing propulsion technologies, which are expected to provide the hypersonic weapon with extended flight at increased speeds that have yet remained unachieved.

In order to meet the challenge, SPARC Research will leverage its in-house experience and analysis tools.

SPARC Research founder and president Dr Patrick Hewitt said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such a well-recognised high-technology organisation as Draper.

“Together, I am confident we can add this emerging technology to the future US defensive capability.”

“Together, I am confident we can add this emerging technology to the future US defensive capability.”

Hypersonic vehicles are a future class of weapons that have the capability to travel at speeds five times faster than that of sound.

The system uses an air-breathing engine to burn the stored missile fuel with atmospheric air instead of propellant ingredients that would be carried in a traditional rocket, significantly increasing the speed and range.

The flight system needs specialised knowledge of the air properties entering the engine and ability to model fuel combustion at speeds greater than the speed of sound as encountered in a supersonic combustion ramjet (SCRAMJET) engine.

Using modern multi-physics modelling tools, SPARC Research is focused on advancing the advanced rocket and air-breathing technology development, preliminary design and prototype demonstration.

In August, the company collaborated with ANSYS and F1 Computer Solutions in order to modify and modernise missile propulsion design.