The US Air Force (USAF) and Orbital ATK have successfully conducted a ground level static fire test of the medium-class stage III (MCS-III) solid rocket motor.
The latest test was a demonstration of advanced technologies that are being studied for use in the forthcoming Air Force ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) system.
Orbital developed the high-performance upper stage motor for the MCS-III program.
Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems Division vice-president and general manager Charlie Precourt said: "The new advanced technologies demonstrated are important stepping stones for the future GBSD program.
"This test of new propulsion technologies is a significant achievement for our company and the Air Force."
The static fire test was aimed to demonstrate an advanced strategic grade propellant, assessing feasibility of motor thrust reversal / thrust termination system in a graphite epoxy case.
In addition, it was also intended to demonstrate a performance enhancing, vectorable nozzle with electro-mechanical thrust vector control.
Currently, the USAF is planning to replace Minuteman III propulsion elements with a modern propulsion system.
As part of this, the force is preparing for the upcoming development work by maturing and demonstrating available technologies in a medium-class solid rocket motor.
Managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the MCS-III program is performed under the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Demonstration / Validation Propulsion Application Program.
In October, the USAF awarded an initial production contract to Orbital ATK for the new spectrally matched aircraft countermeasure, MJU-73/B.
The company’s latest innovation in aircraft survivability will be an integral component of a suite of protective measures used by USAF special operations aircraft, the company stated.