Solid Propulsion Enabling Technologies and Milestones for Navy Air-launched Tactical Missiles

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1 AIAA Centennial of Naval Aviation Forum "100 Years of Achievement and Progress" September 2011, Virginia Beach, VA AIAA Solid Propulsion Enabling Technologies and Milestones for Navy Air-launched Tactical Missiles Thomas L. Moore * Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Baltimore, Maryland, USA For over 50 years, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and its legacy companies have developed and manufactured solid propellant rocket motors for air-launched tactical missiles used on Navy jet aircraft, including the AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, AGM-45 Shrike, AIM-54 Phoenix, AGM- 88 HARM, AGM-65 Maverick, and AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). This paper summarizes the historical development and evolution of solid propellant rocket motors for Navy air-launched missiles from the 1950s to the present. One such system, the Mk 58 rocket motor for the AIM-7 Sparrow, was in production at ATK for over 40 years. The physical characteristics, development and operational timelines, and historical milestones of these air-launched missile propulsion systems are described. Design features and key propellant technologies enabling the successful use of solid rocket motors in the challenging tactical airlaunched weapons environment are described, as well as a look forward to potential technologies and solutions that may be required to meet the performance demands of next generation missiles. I. Introduction HE logistical and operational environments endured by tactical missiles deployed on fixed wing jet aircraft are T among the most severe for any weapon used by our U.S. military forces. From transport to loading and deployment, Navy guided missiles withstand an untold number of environmental cycles that may include point loads, handling shock, impacts, transportation vibration, acceleration, and rapid and repeated cyclic exposure to extreme weather and temperature regimes. The air-launched missile environment presents a unique set of design challenges for the propulsion engineer. While the structural design of the air-launched missile body (airframe) is largely driven by captive-carry loads and/or ejection loads induced by the launcher interface, the propulsion system must be designed to meet specific performance requirements and operate reliably across a temperature range as great as -75 F to 170 F. The solid propellants used for America s first unguided aircraft rockets, including the World War II-era 3.5- inch Aircraft Rocket, the 5-inch High Velocity Aircraft Rocket (HVAR) or Holy Moses, and the post-war Zuni rocket were double-base formulations consisting primarily of a solid mixture of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. The double-base propellant grains for these early rockets were typically manufactured by an extrusion process and then cartridge loaded into a rigid cylindrical sleeve or beaker. These early air-launched rockets were first developed and tested at the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) at China Lake, California, and were then transitioned to mass production at the Naval Propellant Plant (NPP) at Indian Head, Maryland, later known as the Naval Ordnance Station (NOS) and currently the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC-IHD). 1,2 As a result of wartime research and development in propellants, explosives, and defense weaponry, Aerojet and Hercules Powder Company became the first companies to form the nucleus of the modern U.S. solid rocket industry immediately following World War II. Aerojet Engineering Company, which was formed in California in 1942, developed the first composite propellants based on an asphalt binder and manufactured jet-assist takeoff (JATO) units for military and commercial aircraft. Aerojet s initial work with asphalt-based propellants transitioned to relatively rigid polyester formulations, called Aeroplex, and by 1955 had shifted to the tough and rubbery polyurethanes. Post-war work at the Hercules-managed Government plants at Rocket Center, West Virginia (Allegany Ballistics Laboratory) and at Radford, Virginia (Radford Army Ammunition Plant) focused on the continued development of smokeless extruded and castable double-base propellants for rocket applications. 3 After learning that its signature product, synthetic polysulfide rubber, was being investigated as a composite propellant binder, Thiokol Chemical Corporation entered the solid rocket development business in 1948, initially at Elkton, Maryland and then at Huntsville, Alabama on the grounds of the U.S. Army s Redstone Arsenal. * Sr. Staff Engineer, 1501 S. Clinton St. 11 th Floor, Baltimore MD 21224; Associate Fellow AIAA. Approved for public release, OSR Case No. 11-S Copyright 2011 by Alliant Techsystems Inc. Published by the, Inc., with permission.

2 The inherent performance limitations and brittleness of double-base propellants eventually gave way to castable composite propellants that were developed in the 1950s and 1960s by many industrial organizations of the period, including Aerojet, Atlantic Research Corporation (ARC), B.F. Goodrich, Hercules Incorporated, Phillips Petroleum (later Rocketdyne Solid Rocket Division), Thiokol, and the United Technology Center. Composite propellants consist of a homogeneous mixture of solid particles in a curable liquid polymeric binder, plus a few minor additives. The primary component of modern composite propellants is ammonium perchlorate, a solid oxidizer in particle form which typically comprises between 68% and 86% of the total formulation by weight. Besides the liquid binder, a composite propellant contains a curing agent and other minor additives, and it may or may not contain powdered aluminum fuel for increased energy output. Not only do composite propellants have more energy (i.e., propellant specific impulse) than double-base formulations, they can be poured (cast) directly into large, lined rocket motor chambers and cured, creating a case-bonded grain which maximizes propellant mass fraction and available energy in a given volume. Although Alliant Techsystems (ATK) was not formed until 1990 (as a spinoff of Honeywell s defense business), its subsequent acquisitions of Hercules Aerospace in 1995 and Thiokol Propulsion from Alcoa in 2001 provide a historical connection to the earliest days of the U.S. solid rocket industry. As the early industrial infrastructure developed and expanded in the 1950s, ATK legacy sites in northern Utah (Thiokol) and Rocket Center, West Virginia (Hercules), and former plants in McGregor, Texas (Rocketdyne/Hercules) and Huntsville, Alabama (Thiokol) all became heavily involved in the development and production of solid propulsion systems for Navy missiles. Figure 1 shows an F-14 Super Hornet fighter fully armed with missiles powered by rocket motors produced at ATK legacy sites. Figure 1. Navy F-14 armed with Sidewinder, Sparrow, and Phoenix missiles. NOTS China Lake, which would be renamed the Naval Weapons Center (NWC) in 1967 and then Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in 1992, transitioned to a source of missile and propulsion technology development and technical direction for Navy rocket motors produced by ATK and its legacy companies. As a result, a long and successful DoD/industry partnership that touches nearly all of the air-launched tactical missiles that have been developed and fielded by the U.S. Navy was established. II. First Generation Navy Air-Launched Guided Missiles A. Sidewinder 1A (AIM-9B) The short range Sidewinder air-to-air missile was conceived in 1948 by Dr. William B. McLean and his technical team at the fledgling Naval Ordnance Test Station in China Lake, California. The rocket motor for this first generation 5-inch diameter Sidewinder 1A guided missile was based on the 5-inch HVAR. This pioneering missile was the first to incorporate the fire control system in the missile instead of the aircraft. Sidewinder had many innovative features, including a compact solid propellant gas generator (SPGG), which provided power for both control surface actuation and for electrical components. The Sidewinder 1A was developed between 1950 and 1956 and was produced at NOTS. The first fullyconfigured Sidewinder missile was fired on September 3, 1952, and the first successful intercept of a QF-6F target drone took place on September 11, It entered service in 1956 and was the first guided missile used successfully in air-to-air combat when, on September 24, 1958, Taiwanese F-86Ds downed Communist Chinese MiG-17s over the Straits of Formosa using Sidewinder missiles supplied by the U.S. Navy. Later designated as the AIM-9B missile, the Sidewinder 1A contained 43 pounds of dry-extruded N-4 doublebase propellant, cartridge loaded into an aluminum motor case. The propellant grain configuration was an internalburning eight-point star. The missile was 9.5 feet long and weighed 185 pounds. It had a range of more than two -2-

3 nautical miles, was supersonic, and had an altitude ceiling of over 50,000 feet. Over the years, the AIM-9 Sidewinder has been improved and modernized to improve its capability and retain its role as the Navy s premier short range air-to-air missile. 1,2,4 B. Sparrow I (AIM-7A) and Sparrow III (AIM-7C) Sparrow was the first medium range air-to-air missile developed for Navy fighter aircraft and its development timeline closely mirrors that of the short range Sidewinder 1A. The Sparrow program began officially in 1950 when three prime contractors initiated the development of three different guidance concepts under respective contracts with the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer). The original intent of the program was for the Sparrow missile to use a common propulsion system, warhead, and control package with an interchangeable seeker section. The competing concepts became known as Sparrow I (radar beam rider), Sparrow II (fully active radar homing), and Sparrow III (semi-active radar homing). Development problems forced the Sparrow II out of the competition in ,4 Leveraging its JATO experience with the first composite propellants to be used in a propulsion device, Aerojet began the development of a solid propellant rocket motor for Sparrow in 1950 under its own contract with BuAer. Aerojet initially used a free-standing Aeroplex rod-in-tube propellant grain, but later changed to a case-bonded grain that was better suited to withstand the severe air-launch environmental conditions. 5 The resulting rocket motor, known by the designations X113 and Mk 6, was 8 inches in diameter, 52 inches long, and contained 70 pounds of Aeroplex composite propellant. The main ingredients of the Aeroplex propellant were ammonium perchlorate and potassium perchlorate in a polyester-styrene binder. Aerojet completed development of the first generation Sparrow rocket motor in 1951 and began production in On December 3, 1952, a Sparrow I missile achieved a direct hit on an Air Force QB-17 drone, and the first flight of a production model took place a nearly a year later on September 22, Approximately 2,000 AIM-7A Sparrow I missiles were produced and first placed into service in 1956, but they were withdrawn after only a few years in favor of the Sparrow III that was developed and built by Raytheon. The first full guidance flight of a Sparrow III occurred on February 13, 1953, and the first live warhead intercept of a target drone followed on August 12, The AIM-7C Sparrow III entered service in 1958 and was deployed on the F-3H/F-3B Demon, F-4H/F- 4B/J Phantom, and F-14 Tomcat. 4 Aerojet eventually produced just over 16,000 Mk 6 Sparrow rocket motors from 1952 to Coincidentally, the former Thiokol Reaction Motors Division (RMD) in New Jersey developed and produced an interchangeable storable liquid propellant rocket engine for the Sparrow III. RMD produced approximately 7,500 LR44-RM-2 engines for the AIM-7D version of the Sparrow missile. C. Mk 8 Bullpup (AGM-12A) The AGM-12A Bullpup missile, built by the Martin Company, was the Navy s first powered air-to-surface missile. The U.S. Navy initiated the development of Bullpup in 1953, when an operational requirement was issued for a short-range air-to-ground guided missile. Martin received its contract to develop the Bullpup in early 1954, and the first successful air launch of a prototype missile took place in June The AGM-12A missile was introduced into the fleet in The rocket motor for the AGM-12A was developed by Hercules at Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) between 1953 and Known as the X223 or Mk 8, the Bullpup motor was 11 inches in diameter by 40 inches in length and contained 103 pounds of double-base propellant that was cast into a cellulose acetate beaker and then loaded into the steel motor case. Following the successful development of the Mk 8 rocket motor at ABL, production was transitioned to NPP Indian Head in the 1960s. Like Sparrow III, the Bullpup had liquid engine variants produced by Thiokol RMD in the 1960s: the LR58- RM-4 for AGM-12B and the larger, higher thrust LR62-RM-2/4 for the AGM-12C. These and other later versions of the AGM-12 Bullpup were used by the Air Force. III. Second Generation Navy Air-Launched Missiles From the late 1950s through the 1960s, a robust weapons R&D budget environment and dynamic solid rocket industrial base resulted in continued improvements in composite solid propellants. During this period, a key materials technology emerged, enabling the successful development and maturation of composite propellants for airlaunched missiles: the introduction of synthetic liquid polybutadiene as the primary binder component. The use of liquid polybutadiene as a binder for composite propellants was first investigated in the mid-1950s. Propellants with -3-

4 a polybutadiene binder cure to the consistency of hard rubber, absorbing undesirable stresses generated during the life cycle of the missile. As a result of work conducted by several organizations during this time period, carboxyl-terminated polybutadiene (CTPB) became the solid propellant binder system of choice for second generation air-launched missiles produced in the 1960s and 1970s. CTPB propellants were found to have excellent low temperature properties, a characteristic that is particularly critical for the air-launched missile application. CTPB formulations help relieve excessive internal stresses caused by propellant shrinkage at very low temperatures stresses which can lead to grain cracking and failure. In the early 1950s, the Phillips Petroleum Company was one of two U.S. companies (the other being B. F. Goodrich Company) conducting research on the use of butadiene-based synthetic rubber as binders for composite rocket propellants. On August 1, 1952, Phillips was awarded an Air Force contract to establish manufacturing capacity for solid propellant JATO devices at a former World War II bomb and ordnance plant located at McGregor, Texas. 7 Phillips initially developed and produced propellants based on ammonium nitrate (AN) oxidizer and a copolymer consisting of 90% butadiene and 10% 2-methyl-5-vinylpyridine (Bd-MVP). 8 As a product of the synthesis of petroleum refinery gas, butadiene was readily available in large quantities for composite propellant production. In 1959, North American Aviation purchased Phillips share of the business and established the Rocketdyne Solid Rocket Operations at McGregor. Rocketdyne continued to leverage Phillips early work in composite propellant development and was soon developing and producing many of the conventional rubbery binder-based composite propellant formulations of the period. That same year, Rocketdyne began the production of propellants using ammonium perchlorate oxidizer in a CTPB binder. 9 Based upon Phillips Butarez CTL pre-polymer produced in Borger, Texas, Rocketdyne s CTPB propellants were marketed under the trade name Flexadyne and were known for retaining excellent mechanical properties over a very wide temperature range. This led to McGregor s entry into the modern air-launched tactical propulsion market, which required propellants that could withstand a temperature range as great as -70 F to +170 F. 10 The RDS-500 family of Flexadyne propellants soon became the dominant product of the McGregor plant, used in rocket motors for the AIM-7E Sparrow, Sidewinder 1C, Shrike, and Phoenix missiles. 11 An equally important milestone of solid rocket development during this period was ARC s discovery that adding large amounts of aluminum powder, typically 16 to 20% of the total formulation by weight, significantly increased the specific impulse of composite propellants. The result of ARC s work with polyvinyl chloride (plastisol) propellants, known by the trade name Arcite, more than tripled what was generally considered to be the practical upper limit of aluminum content in propellant at the time (5%). The addition of aluminum also provides for more stable and efficient combustion. Other companies soon followed suit and aluminum became a standard ingredient for high performance composite propellants used in missiles and launch boosters. A. Mk 36 Mod 2/5/6 Sidewinder 1C (AIM-9C) As the Sidewinder missile evolved, efforts to make it more effective led to the need for a higher energy rocket motor. The new, castable aluminized composite propellants enabled increased motor performance within the same dimensional envelope as the original rocket motor. NOTS redesigned the Sidewinder motor, replacing the aluminum motor case with higher strength steel and incorporating a new nozzle designed to withstand the high temperature exhaust gases. The first Sidewinder 1C motors were loaded at B. F. Goodrich with a polybutadieneacrylic acid (PBAA) binder composite propellant. 1 In 1962, processing and quality problems with the PBAA propellant grain led the Navy Bureau of Weapons (BuWeps) to replace the PBAA propellant with a Flexadyne CTPB formulation manufactured by Rocketdyne/McGregor. In 1963, McGregor began a 19-year run of manufacturing the smoky Mk 36 Sidewinder rocket motor for the Navy (Fig. 2). The original production motor was designated as the Mk 36 Mod 2 rocket motor, and the Sidewinder 1C s grain design and hardware remained essentially unchanged through several production modifications (Mods) until a reduced-smoke version was developed and approved for production in The former Bermite Powder Company of Saugus, California and the Naval Ordnance Station at Indian Head, Maryland also produced smaller quantities of the smoky Sidewinder motor, as did Raufoss A/S in Norway for NATO countries. 1 Production of Butarez ceased after a July 1996 fire at the Phillips facility. -4-

5 Figure 2. "Smoky" Mk 36 Sidewinder rocket motor produced by Rocketdyne/McGregor and others from 1963 until B. Mk 38 Sparrow (AIM-7E) Like Sidewinder, the medium range Sparrow missile also began an evolutionary path of upgrades and improvements. The 8-inch diameter by 52-inch long Mk 38 rocket motor for the AIM-7E Sparrow was developed by Rocketdyne/McGregor and qualified in This second generation Sparrow motor contained Flexadyne CTPB propellant, was qualified to operate over a wider temperature range, and provided more total impulse and range than the earlier motor. 10 One conspicuous feature distinguishing this design from the earlier AIM-7A and 7C motors is the nozzle, which is submerged within a boat tail that provides for structural attachment of the aft fins. The propellant for the Mod 0, 1, and 2 versions of the Mk 38 motor was originally cast into molds, cured, and then inserted into the case as a free-standing grain, while the propellant for Mod 3 and later versions (Fig. 3) contained an improved case-bonded grain. The case-bonded grain was an internal-burning, five-point star-shaped center perforated design that produced an all-boost burning profile. Some of the early motors were eventually disassembled and re-loaded with the case-bonded propellant. The second generation Sparrow rocket motor was produced by McGregor for nearly 20 years. In the late 1960s, Aerojet also developed and qualified a functionallyequivalent Mk 52 motor containing CTPB propellant, which it produced in smaller quantities for the AIM-7E Sparrow. Figure 3. Mk 38 Mod 4 Sparrow rocket motor produced at McGregor, Texas. C. Mk 39 Shrike (AGM-45) Vulnerability of armed strike aircraft to radar-guided anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles led to the development of the Navy s first anti-radar or anti-radiation missile, the AGM-45 Shrike (Figs. 4 and 5). NOTS China Lake, in partnership with Texas Instruments and Sperry Rand-Univac, began work on the Shrike missile in Using new anti-radiation homing technology, Shrike was designed to neutralize opposing ground-based radars and their ability to guide air defense missiles or projectiles against our attacking aircraft. 6,12-5-

6 Figure 4. AGM-45 Shrike missile. Figure 5. Navy A-7E Corsairs armed with Shrike missiles. Shrike was a variant of the AIM-7E Sparrow, using the latter s airframe and rocket motor dimensional envelope. Externally, the Mk 39 Shrike rocket motor closely resembled the Mk 38 Sparrow, sharing the same external dimensions (8 inches in diameter by 52 inches long), submerged nozzle configuration, and Flexadyne CTPB propellant formulation. The main distinguishing features between the Sparrow and Shrike were the launch hooks and antenna clips on the outside of the case, and the internal propellant grain configuration. Like the Mk 38 Sparrow motor, early versions of the Mk 39 (Mods 0 through 3) contained a pre-cast free-standing propellant grain, while Mod 4 and later versions (Fig. 6) contained a case-bonded grain. The propellant grain for the Shrike motor was a geometrically-configured slotted tube boost-sustain configuration designed to provide increased range for airto-surface missions. McGregor produced Shrike rocket motors for nearly 20 years and the AGM-45 missile remained in service until In the late 1960s and 1970s, Aerojet developed and produced a functionallyequivalent Mk 53 Shrike motor, identical to its Mk 52 Sparrow except for mounting brackets. Figure 4. Mk 39 Mod 7 Shrike rocket motor produced at McGregor, Texas. D. Mk 47 Phoenix (AIM-54) The AIM-54 Phoenix was the Navy s first all-weather, long range air-to-air missile designed to defeat multiple targets in the performance of naval fleet air defense. As such, Phoenix easily became the Navy s largest airlaunched tactical missile, weighing in at 1,000 pounds each. A maximum of six missiles could be carried on the F- 14 Tomcat, with the capability of launching simultaneously against six different targets. 13 The Mk 47 Phoenix rocket motor, shown in Fig. 7, was 15 inches in diameter and 70 inches long, and was another product of the airlaunched Navy propulsion product line that peaked at McGregor in the late 1960s and dominated production at the plant for the next two decades. The Phoenix motor had a blast tube nozzle and contained 364 pounds of Flexadyne propellant. Aerojet also developed a functionally equivalent Mk 60 Phoenix rocket motor containing CTPB propellant, which it qualified in 1968 and produced in lesser quantities until The first live firing of a Phoenix took place in 1966 from an A-3 test aircraft and scored a direct hit on a BQM-34A target. 4 In August 1992, Hercules/McGregor made its final Phoenix rocket motor delivery, ending 24 years of continuous production. Because of its weight and size, fleet deployment of the Phoenix was limited to the F-14 (Fig. 8), and both were retired from active service with the U.S. Navy in

7 Figure 5. Mk 47 Phoenix rocket motor produced at McGregor, Texas. Figure 6. Phoenix missile launch from F-14. IV. Third Generation Navy Air-Launched Missiles The decade of the 1970s brought about the next significant advance in composite propellants: the maturation and introduction of formulations based on a hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) binder. Although Aerojet investigated and tested HTPB propellant in small rocket motors as early as 1961, it was not until 1970 that it was first used and test flown in Aerojet s Astrobee D meteorological sounding rocket. HTPB propellants offered the promise of increased performance via higher solids loading and, with the addition of a liquid plasticizer component, attractive mechanical properties over the typical air-launched temperature range. Hercules, Thiokol, and ARC soon followed suit in developing and adopting HTPB propellants for tactical missile applications. By the 1980s, HTPB supplanted CTPB and other binders as the formulation of choice for many tactical missile systems. 14 While the addition of large amounts of aluminum was one of the early enabling technologies for high performance solid rocket propellants, 15,16 the byproduct of their operation is a highly visible exhaust contrail (signature), making the missile and attacking aircraft vulnerable to launch point detection and neutralization. In the early 1970s, signature reduction requirements for anti-radiation missiles (ARMs) led NWC China Lake and industrial propellant laboratories to develop "reduced-smoke" composite propellants containing very little or no aluminum. Reduced-smoke propellants produce no visible missile exhaust during motor function except under extremely cold, high humidity conditions. Propellant formulators successfully resolved the combustion instabilities of non-aluminized composite propellants, and reduced-smoke propellants were subsequently incorporated into many air-launched missiles including Sidewinder, HARM, Maverick, and AMRAAM. 1 A. Mk 36 Mod 9/11/13 Reduced-smoke Sidewinder (AIM-9M/X) In 1978, Thiokol/Huntsville won a competitive Air Force contract to develop a reduced-smoke motor for the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Following successful development and qualification, Thiokol began the production of the Mk 36 Mod 9 reduced-smoke Sidewinder motor (Fig. 9) under a Navy contract in Hercules/McGregor was qualified as a second source and received its initial Navy production contract in McGregor and Huntsville shared production of Mod 9 and Mod 11 through 1993 and 1995, respectively. Following the closing of the McGregor and Huntsville solid rocket plants in 1996, ARC and ATK/ABL produced the Mk 36 Mod 11 motor and the nearly identical Mk 112 motor for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), a ship-launched version of Sidewinder. In 1999, ATK completed the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of a jet vane thrust vector control system to further improve the maneuverability of the latest version of Sidewinder, the AIM-9X. Today, ATK/ABL is the sole U.S. production source of Mk 36 reduced-smoke Sidewinder motors. Figure 7. Mk 36 Reduced-smoke Sidewinder rocket motor. -7-

8 B. Mk 58 Sparrow (AIM-7F) Under contract to the Raytheon Company, Hercules/ABL began the development of an improved rocket motor for the AIM-7F Sparrow in To go with the new rocket motor, the AIM-7F Sparrow missile had a completely new solid state electronic guidance and control system (GCS) that was developed to neutralize the threat of highperformance enemy aircraft by radar-guided interception under all types of weather conditions. The resulting Mk 58 Sparrow motor, shown in Fig. 10, was a higher performing motor than the predecessor Mk 38. The Mk 58 is the third and final generation ATK rocket motor used in the Sparrow missile lineage. It contains a dual-grain dual-thrust design for extended range, but the propellant itself represents a departure from other third generation air-launched missiles. Since the Mk 58 was the earliest of the third generation Navy air-launched rocket motors to be developed, it pre-dated the introduction of modern, reduced-smoke propellants and contains an aluminized CTPB formulation. It was one the first tactical motors to employ post-cure machining of the radial slots in the propellant grain to tailor the thrust profile. The RIM-7F Sea Sparrow missile is a ship-launched surface-to-air equivalent of the AIM-7 and uses the same Mk 58 rocket motor. From its initial production in 1969, the Mk 58 rocket motor has had an unprecedented 41-year production run of over 36,000 units produced at Rocket Center, West Virginia. Figure 8. Mk 58 Sparrow rocket motor produced at Rocket Center, WV. C. AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Experience in Vietnam suggested that the effectiveness of Shrike was limited by its highly visible exhaust plume. Upon visual detection of missile launch, adversarial radars would shut down, resulting in loss of target lock. In the early 1970s, the Navy embarked on an effort to increase the effectiveness of anti-radiation missiles by increasing their speed and reducing or eliminating the smoky propellant exhaust. After successful flight demonstrations, NWC China Lake awarded competitive contracts to Thiokol/Utah and Hercules/McGregor for the development of a reduced-smoke rocket motor for the AGM-88 HARM. 1 Thiokol successfully completed the development and qualification of the YSR113-TC-1 HARM motor in In 1986, Hercules McGregor was successfully qualified as a second-source supplier for the HARM rocket motor (Fig. 11), sharing production responsibilities with Thiokol for the next 10 years. Between 1986 and 1995, Hercules manufactured about 11,000 HARM motors to the Thiokol design specifications, a quantity roughly equivalent to the Thiokol population of motors. McGregor also qualified its process for manufacturing D6aC steel HARM cases using its resident capability in the flow forming of cylindrical steel sections, CNC machining, electron beam welding, and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. In the early 1990s, about 800 Hercules-manufactured HARM motors were removed from service as a result of defects found in cold x-ray screening. These were replaced by Thiokol-remanufactured units. In 1981, McGregor s role in HARM expanded with its selection as the missile assembly contractor for the allup-round (AUR), shown in Fig. 12. Under contract to Texas Instruments, who served as the HARM weapon system integration contractor, workers at the McGregor plant assembled the guidance, warhead, control, and rocket motor sections that were supplied as Government-furnished equipment (GFE). Beginning in 1984, HARM AUR assembly was competitively procured and shared with Thiokol/Utah. McGregor assembled a total of approximately 14,500 HARM missiles between 1981 and The AGM-88 remains in service today, with some legacy missiles being upgraded to the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) configuration by ATK for the Navy. -8-

9 Figure 9. HARM rocket motor produced by Thiokol/Utah and Hercules/McGregor. Figure 10. HARM missile assembly at McGregor, Texas. D. AGM-65 Maverick Maverick was the first general purpose fire-and-forget tactical air-to-ground missile. It was designed to defeat hardened targets such as bunkers, bridges, radar or missile sites, and ships. The AGM-65 Maverick was developed in the late 1960s and first placed into service by the U.S. Air Force in Propulsion for the AGM-65A and B versions of the Maverick missile, used solely by the Air Force, was provided by a Thiokol-manufactured TX- 481/SR109 smoky rocket motor. In 1977, Thiokol Huntsville qualified a reduced-smoke HTPB motor (known by the designations TX-633, SR114, and WPU-4/B) for the Air Force AGM-65D with imaging infrared (IIR) seeker. The AGM-65D achieved initial operational capability (IOC) in The SR114 reduced-smoke motor was also used in the USMC s AGM-65E laser-guided Maverick (Fig. 13) and the Navy s AGM-65F IIR version. The AGM-65F uses the IIR seeker of the AGM-65D in combination with the warhead and propulsion sections of the AGM-65E. It also features a safe/arm device (SAD) for shipboard use. The Maverick rocket motor, shown in Fig. 14, is 11 inches in diameter and 40.1 inches long, including the blast tube nozzle. It has an aluminum case, aluminum blast tube shell, and a forward-mounted pyrotechnic igniter. The Maverick motor is qualified for storage and operation between -75 F and -175 F, the greatest range for any motor in the fleet today. Thiokol produced SR114 Maverick rocket motors until the closure of the Huntsville Figure 14. Maverick rocket motor produced by ATK. Figure 13. AGM-65E laser guided Maverick missiles. Division in Aerojet produced a functionally equivalent SR115 reduced-smoke motor from the late 1980s until the early 1990s. In 2000, ATK/ABL was qualified to produce the WPU-8/B reduced-smoke single boost/sustain thrust Maverick motor containing its version of the legacy Thiokol reduced-smoke propellant. It remains in production today at Rocket Center, West Virginia. E. AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) In 1979, Hercules/McGregor began the full-scale development (FSD) of a rocket motor for the AIM-120 AMRAAM under contract to Hughes Aircraft Company. The AIM-120 The AMRAAM WPU-6/B motor, shown in Fig. 15, features a reduced-smoke HTPB propellant grain designed to provide a boost-sustain thrust profile, an Hughes Aircraft Company was purchased by Raytheon in

10 electromechanical arm/fire device, flow formed high strength steel case, and high performance blast tube and exit cone. A 45-motor qualification program was conducted in 1985, and final preflight readiness test (PFRT) deliveries were completed in The McGregor plant manufactured the AMRAAM motor until 1995, when the plant began shutdown operations and production responsibility was transferred to ABL in Rocket Center, West Virginia. From 1985 to 1990, Aerojet/Sacramento also developed and produced just over 4,500 functionally equivalent AMRAAM rocket motors for co-prime contractor Raytheon in Massachusetts. Following Raytheon s purchase of Hughes Aircraft Company in 1997, AMRAAM missile production was consolidated to Tucson, Arizona, and ATK became the sole supplier of AMRAAM rocket motors. AMRAAM was intended to be the successor to the Sparrow missile, although the latter has remained in service as of this date. Under contract to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, ATK/ABL developed and qualified the enhanced WPU-16/B AMRAAM rocket motor between 1995 and Designed for integration with the AIM-120C5 and later versions of AMRAAM, the WPU-16/B features an all-boost design that delivers a significant increase in performance over the baseline motor. Production of the WPU-16/B began in 2000 and continues today at Rocket Center, West Virginia. Figure 15. AMRAAM rocket motor manufactured by ATK. F. AGM-78A Standard Anti-Radiation Missile (Standard ARM) The AGM-78 was an air-launched version of the RIM-66 Standard surface-launched air defense missile that was developed in the mid-1960s to provide interim improvement over the AGM-45 Shrike which experienced problems due to its limited range, small warhead, and inflexible seeker. In 1966, NAVAIR issued a contract to General Dynamics to develop the AGM-78. Since the AGM-78 utilized existing components from other systems, it was rapidly qualified and achieved IOC with the Navy in early The AGM-78A had a limited deployment on Navy A-6B/E aircraft and did not completely replace the much less expensive AGM-45 Shrike ARM, which was eventually replaced by the AGM-88 HARM. The Standard ARM used an Aerojet Mk 27 Mod 4 motor, a modification of the Mk 27 dual thrust rocket motor already developed and qualified for the surface-launched Standard Missile. The rocket motor was 13.5 inches in diameter and 105 inches long and contained a polyurethane composite propellant in a dual-grain boost-sustain configuration. Other versions of the AGM-78 were produced in limited quantity for the U.S. Air Force. V. Summary The first generation Sidewinder and Sparrow missiles were the successful product of a Navy/industry partnership that was established during the early development and growth of the solid rocket industry in the 1950s. In the ensuing decades, the first generation Sidewinder and Sparrow became the progenitors of new, more capable air-launched guided missiles. From the late 1950s through the 1960s, aluminized composite propellants with rubbery binders provided the best combination of performance and temperature capability for air-launched rocket motors. In the 1970s, missile and platform vulnerability concerns resulting from smoky rocket motor exhaust led to the development of reduced-smoke propellants containing little or no aluminum. Today, reduced-smoke propellants are the norm for solid rocket motors developed and produced for Navy air-launched missile applications. Table 1 presents an historical summary of second- and third-generation air-launched missile armament capability for Navy jet aircraft, Table 2 presents a 60-year timeline of Navy air-launched tactical propulsion development and production, and Table 3 provides an historical technical and programmatic summary of second- and third-generation Navy air-launched rocket motors produced by ATK and its legacy companies. -10-

11 Table 1. Historical Missile Armament Capability for Navy Aircraft. A-4 A-6 A- 6B A- 6E A-7 AV- 8B EA- 6B F-4 F- 4G F-5 F-8 Sparrow AIM-7E Sparrow AIM-7F/M/P AMRAAM AIM-120A/B AMRAAM AIM-120C/D Sidewinder AIM-9C/D/G/H/L Sidewinder AIM-9M/X Phoenix Shrike HARM Maverick F- 14 F/A -18 F- 22 P-3 VI. The China Lake-Industry Partnership Legacy and Path Forward In its earliest days, the propulsion laboratories at China Lake provided both solid rocket R&D and production capability for Navy missiles. As the U.S. solid rocket industrial infrastructure developed in the 1950s, China Lake s role shifted toward developing propulsion technologies for transition to production and serving as the Navy s technical direction agent for the oversight of contractor development and production. The value of the China Lake/industry partnership has been demonstrated by the successful development of air-launched propulsion systems for Sidewinder, Shrike, Sparrow, and WPU-16/B AMRAAM. Although China Lake s name and role in solid propulsion system development has changed in the decades since Sidewinder was first developed, it has continued to serve as a key national asset supporting weapons research, development, and testing for the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense (DoD). The solid rocket industrial landscape has changed significantly over the past 60 years. While Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has existed as a company just since 1990, its solid propulsion business is rooted in current and former industry sites whose history dates to the very beginning of the modern U.S. solid rocket industry. As former tactical propulsion plant sites in McGregor, Texas, and Huntsville, Alabama, fell victim to industry downsizing and consolidation in the mid-1990s, the NAVSEA-owned, ATK-operated Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) in Rocket Center, West Virginia, assumed production of reduced-smoke rocket motors for AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Maverick which continues to this day. Future advances in air-launched tactical propulsion will have to be addressed by a much smaller industrial base and workforce. Budgetary constraints and the erosion of the U.S. solid rocket business over the last two decades present significant challenges for the DoD and industry going forward. Recent tactical missile system development has largely subsisted on incremental changes and improvements rather than new development. Increasingly capable threats and new platforms will necessitate more significant technological advances to maintain air superiority. Since air platform constraints will permit little or no physical growth of new missiles over their legacy systems, it is likely that new, emerging materials and new applications of existing materials will likely be the source for game-changing advances in solid propulsion. Examples include higher energy propellants and ingredients, high strength lightweight structural materials, phase change materials, improved ablative materials, and thermallyresistant materials. A collective suite of propulsion and materials improvements will be necessary to meet the requirements for next generation tactical missiles. Next generation missiles will also need to be compliant with insensitive munitions criteria for improved logistical safety. The development of any new air-launched missile propulsion system will require a dedicated effort that includes Government and private investment, technology transition opportunities for commercial materials and practices, and successful Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR). Acknowledgments The author wishes to thank Rosemary Dodds and Harry Hoffman of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) for their assistance in the preparation of this paper. All images in this paper are the property of ATK, except for Figs. 4, 5, and 13 which are public domain images obtained from

12 Table 2. Development Timeline for U.S. Navy Air-launched Solid Propulsion Systems. Missile Rocket Motor 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s Navy Air Intercept Missiles (AIM) Sidewinder 1A AIM-9B Mk 17 Sidewinder 1C AIM-9C/D/H/L Mk 36 Smoky Sidewinder AIM-9M/X Mk 36 Reduced-smoke Sparrow I/III AIM-7A/C Mk 6 Sparrow AIM-7E Mk 38 Sparrow AIM-7F Mk 58 AMRAAM AIM-120A/B WPU-6/B AMRAAM AIM-120C/D WPU-16/B Navy Air-to-Ground Missiles (AGM) Bullpup AGM-12 Mk 8 solid rocket Shrike AGM-45 Mk 39 Phoenix AGM-54A Mk 47 Standard ARM AGM-78 Mk 27 Mod 4 HARM AGM-88 SR113 Maverick AGM-65 SR114 / WPU-8/B LEGEND Rocket Motor Development/Qualification Rocket Motor Production Missile Initial Operational Capability Missile Retirement from Fleet -12-

13 Table 3. Characteristics of Solid Propulsion Systtems for Navy Air-launched Tactical Missiles. Missile Common Name Sidewinder Sparrow AMRAAM Shrike Phoenix HARM Maverick Mission Air-to-air, short range Air-to-air, medium range Air-to-air, medium range Air-to-surface Air-to-air, long Air-to-surface Air-to-surface Missile Designation AIM-9C/D/H/L AIM-9M/X AIM-7E AIM-7F/M/P AIM-120A/B AIM-120C/D AGM-45A AIM-54A AGM-88 AGM-65E/F Missile Diameter, in Total Missile Length, in / Missile Weight, lb / Rocket Motor Designation Mk 36 Mod 2/5/6 Mk 36 Mod 9/11/13 Mk 38 Mk 58 Mk 39 Mk 47 SR113 SR114 Other Military Designation WPU-17/B WPU-6/B WPU-16/B WPU-8/B Manufacturer Model No. RS- B-544 RS-B-531 RS-B-530 RS-B-533 TX-633 Rocket Motor Length, in Rocket Motor Weight, lb Propellant Type AP/CTPB/Al AP/HTPB AP/CTPB AP/CTPB/Al AP/HTPB AP/HTPB AP/CTPB AP/CTPB AP/HTPB AP/HTPB Operational Temperature Limit, F -65 to to to to to to to to to to 170 Storage Temperature Limit, F -65 to to to to to to to to to to 170 Motor Developed (years) (UT) (AL) Manufacturing Locations TX AL, TX, WV TX WV TX, WV WV TX TX UT, TX AL, WV Motor Qualified (year) (AL&TX) 2002 (WV) Production Period (years) present ` No. of Motors Produced 10,874 Aircraft Use A-4, A-6, A-7, AV-8B, F-4, F- 5, F-14, F/A-18 19,500 (AL) 15,000 (TX) 4,000+ (WV) AV-8B, F-4, F- 5, F-14, F/A- 18, F ,800 36,000+ F-4 F-4, F-14, F/A (TX) 1995-pres(WV) 6,111 (TX) 4,271 (WV) AV-8B, F-4, F- 5, F-14, F/A- 18, F present ,189 15,800 5,071 AV-8B, F-4, F-5, F-14, F/A-18, F-22 A-4, A-6B, A- 7, EA-6B, F-4 F (UT) 1986 (TX) (UT) (TX) 11,065 (UT) 10,918 (TX) A-6E, A-7, AV- 8B, EA-6B, F- 4G, F/A (AL) 2000 (WV) (AL) 2000-present 10,200+ (AL) 1,789 (WV) A-4, A-6E, A-7, AV-8B, F-4, F- 5, F/A-18, P-3-13-

14 VI. References 1 Robbins, J. M., and Feist, R.W., The China Lake Propulsion Laboratories, Paper AIAA , 28 th AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Nashville, Tennessee, July 6-8, Blanchard, D. G., A Brief History of Air-Intercept Missile 9 (Sidewinder), 32 nd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, July 1-3, 1996, p Umholtz, P. D., The History of Solid Rocket Propulsion and Aerojet, Paper AIAA , 35 th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Los Angeles, California, June 20-24, Lund, Frederick H., Evolution of Navy Air-to-Air Missiles, Paper , 43 rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nevada, January 10-13, 2005, p Dorman, B. L., Gorden, R., Umholtz, P. D., Sprague, T. H., et al, Aerojet: The Creative Company, Aerojet History Group, published by Stuart F. Cooper Company, Los Angeles, CA, ISBN , 1995, p. IV Lund, Frederick H., Evolution of Navy Air-to-Surface Guided Weapons, Paper AIAA , 41 st AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 6-9, Design of a Pilot and Manufacturing Control Plant for Composite Propellant Rocket Development, Report RF, Contract AF 33(600)-22913, Phillips Petroleum Company, McGregor, Texas, 28 August A Chemical Engineering Survey of the Solid Rocket Propellant Industry in the United States, Rohm & Haas Company, Huntsville, Alabama, September 1957, p Tormey, J. F., Butarez CTL-I Polymers and Propellants Their Reproducibility and Aging Characteristics, ICRPG Propellant Binder Symposium, CPIA Publication No. 139, February 1967, pp Dimon, Richard B., Solid Citizen Rocketdyne s Plant in McGregor Texas is Introducing a New Generation of Air-Launched Missile Rocket Motors, Skyline (a publication of North American Aviation Inc.), Vol. 23 No. 2, April-June 1965, pp Moore, T.L., and McSpadden, From Bombs to Rockets at McGregor, Texas, Paper AIAA , 47 th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Orlando, Florida, January 5-8, Fact Sheet: AGM-45 Shrike Anti-Radiation Missile, U.S. Air Force, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, accessed July PHOENIX to Make Final Propulsion Delivery, TEX-SUN (a publication of Hercules Incorporated, McGregor, Texas), Vol. 15 No. 13, July 15, 1992, pp Moore, T. L., Polybutadienes Dominate for 40 Years, CPIA Bulletin, Chemical Propulsion Information Agency, Vol. 24, No. 2, March 1998, pp Caveny, L. H., Geisler, R. L., Ellis, R. A., and Moore, T. L., Solid Rocket Enabling Technologies and Milestones in the United States, Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 19, No. 6, November-December 2003, p Davenas, A., Development of Modern Solid Propellants, Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 19, No. 6, November-December 2003, p

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