The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Orbital ATK for its hypersonic engine research project.
As part of the new contract with DARPA, the company will study the potential integration of turbine and hypersonic engine technologies into a new aircraft propulsion system under the advanced full range engine (AFRE) programme.
DARPA’s AFRE programme focuses on developing a new aircraft propulsion system that would have the capability to operate over the full range of speeds from conventional runway low-speed take-off through hypersonic flight and back to a conventional landing.
The new propulsion systems that function at hypersonic speeds can extend range and shorten response times while providing increased effectiveness compared to the existing military systems.
The AFRE programme will also explore the concept of a combined cycle engine technology where, during the flight, a turbine engine would operate up to supersonic speeds and a dual-mode ramjet would transition to hypersonic speed.
Besides the current programme, Orbital ATK is also developing rocket pulse motors to operate at extremely cold temperatures that offer enhanced range and flexibility for tactical as well as defence applications.
The company has a number of latest and advanced hypersonic test facilities along the East Coast.
It also provides organisations with custom test products used to advance the new capabilities and address the future requirements of the troops.