Thursday, June 13, 2024
Home3D PrintingAerojet Rocketdyne to 3D print new hypersonic propulsion system for the DoD

Aerojet Rocketdyne to 3D print new hypersonic propulsion system for the DoD


Aerospace agency Aerojet Rocketdyne has been awarded a $22 million contract by the US Division of Protection (DoD) Manufacturing Know-how Program to 3D print a prototype hypersonic propulsion system.  

The agency, a subsidiary of US aerospace and protection contractor L3Harris Applied sciences, will develop the prototype for the DoD’s Rising Additive Manufacturing Maturity for Airbreathing Hypersonics (GAMMA-H) problem. 

The GAMMA-H programme kinds a part of the Pentagon’s ongoing efforts to determine and develop new processes to provide parts for hypersonic weapons. It hopes that GAMMA-H will set up additive manufacturing processes that meet fashionable hypersonic airbreathing techniques’ efficiency and environmental necessities.

Aerojet Rocketdyne expects it should take 36 months to ship the 3D printed hypersonic propulsion prototype. Notably, the corporate has introduced that it’ll streamline its manufacturing workflow by consolidating the important steps of the scramjet manufacturing course of. Based on Aerojet Rocketdyne’s President Ross Niebergall, this can create a much less fragmented provide chain, enabling schedule and price efficiencies.   

“Optimizing processes will improve half yields and scale back the variety of processing steps, leading to greater manufacturing velocity and decrease price,” added Niebergall. 

Artistic render of a hypersonic weapon. Image via Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Creative render of a hypersonic weapon. Picture through Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s aerospace 3D printing prowess 

The DoD contract provides to Aerojet Rocketdyne’s rising manufacturing portfolio throughout the aerospace sector. The corporate has an extended historical past of 3D printing parts for rocket engines and strategic missile techniques.

Again in 2017, Aerojet Rocketdyne accomplished the profitable hot-fire testing of its 3D printed thrust chamber for the RL-10 rocket engine and AR1 propulsion system. That very same 12 months, the corporate was contracted by the Protection Superior Analysis Tasks Company (DARPA) to design an experimental hypersonic spaceplane. Nonetheless, this mission has since been scrapped. 

2022 was additionally an enormous 12 months for the propulsion techniques producer, having unveiled its 3D printed quad thrusters which have been developed utilizing nTop’s engineering software program. 3D printing the area engine half made it 67% lighter than its conventionally manufactured counterparts and diminished the general manufacturing price by 66%. 

Following this, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s 3D printed scramjet engine was efficiently flight examined as a part of a US hypersonic missile analysis mission. By 3D printing its drive system, the agency was in a position to assemble the scramjet with 95% fewer components than its predecessor. Throughout testing, the corporate’s system enabled a HAWC car prototype to journey at Mach 5 for over 300 miles.

Quick ahead to this month, the agency has been chosen by Lockheed Martin to fabricate the propulsion system for the Missile Protection Company‘s (MDA) Subsequent Era Interceptor (NGI). 

A part of the MDA’s Floor-based Midcourse Protection system, NGI will function the US’s first line of protection towards ballistic missiles launched by enemy states. As soon as deployed, the protection system will reportedly be capable of defeat missiles developed past the 2030s. 

The RL10 rocket engine tested with 3D printed copper thrust chamber. Image via Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10 rocket engine examined with a 3D printed copper thrust chamber. Photograph through Aerojet Rocketdyne.

3D printing bolsters US protection capabilities

The US DoD is at present experiencing vital provide shortages of key {hardware}, needing to restock its inventories whereas supporting Ukraine’s ongoing conflict efforts. To fulfill this demand, the Pentagon has turned to US-based additive manufacturing companies to determine a robust and dependable home provide chain.

Earlier this 12 months, Rocket engine producer Ursa Main signed a contract with the US Navy to design, manufacture and take a look at a 3D printed strong rocket motor (SRM) prototype for the Customary Missile (SM) program. 

The corporate will leverage its additive manufacturing-powered Lynx expertise to create the following technology of SRMs optimized for reliability and manufacturability. Signed below the Naval Energetic Techniques and Applied sciences (NEST) Program, this mission will develop a brand new 3D printable design for the Mk 104 twin rocket motor. This engine powers the SM-2, SM-3, and SM-6 missiles.     

Elsewhere, Lockheed Martin, steel 3D printer producer Velo3D and aerospace half inspection firm Vibrant collaborated with the US DoD’s LIFT Institute. Via this partnership, the workforce assessed the validity of 3D printing hypersonic ramjet engines.  

3D printed utilizing Velo3D’s laser powder mattress fusion (LPBF) expertise, the prototype engines have been subjected to Vibrant’s acoustics-based Course of-Compensated Resonance Testing (PCRT). This analyzed a number of key bodily properties, together with stress state, half integrity, geometry, and floor end. Seeking to the longer term, the companions will contemplate the fatigue conduct of 3D printed parts, and transfer in direction of “born-certified” components.     

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Featured picture reveals an inventive render of a hypersonic weapon. Picture through Aerojet Rocketdyne.



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