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Hypersonic Propulsion: Enhancing Robustness in Mid-Scale Scramjets
Title: Sr. Mechanical Engineer
Phone: (425) 487-4020
Phone: (425) 487-4020
ABSTRACT: Systima is proposing a Phase II SBIR program for a Scramjet Cold-Start Gas Generator (SCS-GG). Systima"s concepts combine the advanced injection methods and advanced ignition propellants into a reliable, low weight and volume cold-start solution. During Phase II, Systima will mature its gas generator and injection system designs and demonstration testing to verify the performance characteristics at the component and system levels. Systima will establish a transition path through the Phase II to testing with the 2-D scramjet test platform. Systima proposes an integrated cold-start system. This system is involved in the entire start process from pre-ignition, ignition, liquid fuel operation, and liquid to vapor fuel transition. This requires a system that ignites the cold JP fuel and actively engages the fuel during transition to steady state. Systima"s Phase I efforts demonstrated a promising design candidate cold-start system. Working with industry partners, Systima will identify the requirements of the scramjet cold-start system and provide a lightweight and reliable SCS-GG and integrated design for supersonic combustion systems. Reliable ignition of scramjet engines at the supersonic takeover point is a persistent concern. Current systems are undesirable due to complexity, safe handling, and overall weight/volume. BENEFIT: This method of enabling the cold-start of a supersonic combustion engine will have direct applicability to missile and vehicle systems utilizing hypersonic airbreathing propulsion. These engine systems have applicability in global strike weapons, high speed transports, and access to space technologies. This is an area of interest for the U.S. Government, both the military and NASA, and the prime contractors that are working on the research and development to supply the U.S. Government with these systems including: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Systima has ongoing relationships with these customers and prime contractors and will endeavor to put forward this technology in conjunction with our other hypersonic vehicle technologies in our product line. The SCS-GG System will need to be matured through TRL7 and AFRL"s ongoing robust scramjet and X-51 programs will provide potential platforms for integrated ground and flight testing. Once this level of maturity is obtained, the SCS-GG System technology will be well positioned for transition into the first likely market for hypersonic engines with prompt global strike tactical missiles. Once this product/technology is embedded in this marketplace it is well positioned to grow with the hypersonic engines into other military and commercial flight systems. We are well positioned with our Rocketdyne partner, a world leader in hypersonic combustion engines, and high speed vehicle integrators to market and promote the use of this technology in weapons and exploration vehicles. Systima is currently an active supplier of energetic material systems for weapons systems, space system actuators, and other development concepts and has the necessary expertise and capability to carry this product from concept, through development to production. Our personnel have decades of experience in this industry with energetic materials from simple double base powder propellants, custom grain fabrication, and through linear shaped charge. We are an established supplier of hypersonic vehicle shroud components and submunition ejection systems. 1.1 TECHNOLOGY MARKET OPPORTUNITY Increased requirements for military weapons that can be fired from safe stand-off distances from their targets and have very short travel time to their targets has renewed interest in hypersonic propulsion technologies. Specifically to meet the stated defense needs for prompt global strike capabilities for weapons systems to travel over great distances in minutes requires that vehicles utilize airbreathing systems (not requiring that both fuel and oxidizers be carried as vehicle weight such as in high speed rocket based missiles) that can operate with supersonic combustion scramjet engines. The high speed of fluids through a supersonic scramjet combustor allows only milliseconds to adequately mix the fuel and air, ignite the fuel/air mixture and sustain combustion. Current scramjet powered vehicles such as the X-51 Waverider (see Figure 3 1) utilize volatile gaseous fuels such as Ethylene to provide cold-start ignition. These systems are weight and, more critically, volume inefficient taking up valuable vehicle volume that is needed for guidance systems and warheads required to weaponize the flight system. An integrated SCS-GG System that combines proven gaseous fuel cold-start and modern injection techniques for reliable operation with reduced weight and radically smaller volume will be an enabling technology for transitioning the experimental X-51 vehicle to a prompt global strike tactical missile system. Prompt global strike technologies are becoming more critical to neutralize targets deep inside contested airspace/territory that appear for short opportunity windows for attack. This was demonstrated with the SCUD missile launchers in the first conflict in the Persian Gulf and with terrorist cells in the current conflicts. Defending key allies such as South Korea and Taiwan by opening access for support and resupply will require rapid strike deep inside contested and hostile territory against similar targets. In response to this the government has expended many resources in working towards a hypersonic strike platform starting with the ASALM and SLAT supersonic cruise missiles in the early"80"s. The DOD has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent programs such as FASTT, HyFly, HiSTED, Falcon, X-43 and X-51 to develop this capability demonstrating a viable interest in bringing these technologies into full maturity. The market space for a hypersonic cruise missile is estimated to be on the order of a total of $5B and approximately $500M/year assuming a final inventory of 2,500 missiles and a 10 year manufacturing run to reach inventory at a unit cost of $2M/each. This is based on comparison to the BGM-109 Block IV Tomahawk missile which is the latest version and soon to be manufactured subsonic cruise missile for a similar mission space. The total Tomahawk inventory is maintained near 2,500 missiles and the Blk IV is estimated to cost between $1.1M/EA and $1.4M/EA. The SCS-GG is a small component in this system and is estimated to cost approximately $10K/EA though if manufactured at a rate of 250/year these unit costs will likely decrease some due to volume of scale. This would amount to approximately $2M/year for the manufacture of the SCS-GG with a total market as much as $20M over the 10 year production. Expanded market share potential exists for this product beyond the prompt global strike entry system in hypersonic attack aircraft, hypersonic transport aircraft and access to space systems. These spirals of market growth also depend on the success of the parent scramjet engine system and its development spiral. If the SCS-GG becomes a state-of-the-art technology with Systima as the incumbent provider we will be well positioned to compete in this continued growth potential. 1.2 MARKET ENTRY PLAN Systima has a unique combination of experience and agile efficiency to realize the successful development and production of these systems for industry. Our staff has vast experience in applying our core competencies with energetic systems and high speed propulsion to solve unique and difficult problems in a variety of aerospace and defense systems such as small precision munitions, unmanned aircraft systems, hypersonic vehicles, and large missile systems. The wide range of experience available at Systima makes our staff very agile in approach and application of skills towards developing a system often producing innovative solutions to problems rapidly. This agility combined with our commitment to our customers and the quality of our products and services allows us to be very efficient and effective when developing new technologies. To successfully execute market entry the SCS-GG System needs to achieve technical maturity to TRL7 prior to the transition of the current hypersonic vehicles to a prompt global strike tactical missile. This level of maturity is necessary to reduce the perceived risk associated with including this technology into a high profile program of record. It is planned that the proposed Phase II program will advance the TRL4-5 with the TRL6 being achieved in the follow on Phase III program testing the SCS-GG in a static scramjet test bed at relevant conditions. This test program will likely require $300K to $500K to complete depending upon the number of configurations prepared and scope of testing program. Once matured to TRL6 the SCS-GG System will need to transition into the flight test system program, likely the X-51 program. The X-51 program is currently sponsored by the same customer organization at AFRL as this SBIR program. The scramjet engine manufacturer for this flight test system is an active teammate on this development program. This should position Systima well to socialize the technology with this customers (gov"t and prime) and insert the SCS-GG in future flight tests. Successful insertion into the flight test program will bring the maturity to TRL7. This level of maturity should be adequate to prepare the technology for insertion into a prompt global strike entry market and assuming that a Phase III program follows in close sequence to the Phase II the technology could be TRL6 mature first quarter of 2014. If flight test platforms are available at that point the technology could be transition ready as early as 2015. 2 MILITARY APPLICATIONS Prompt global strike technologies are becoming more critical to neutralize targets deep inside contested airspace/territory that appear for short opportunity windows for attack. This was demonstrated with the SCUD missile launchers in the first conflict in the Persian Gulf and with terrorist cells in the current conflicts. Defending key allies such as South Korea and Taiwan by opening access for support and resupply will require rapid strike deep inside contested and hostile territory against similar targets. An integrated SCS-GG System that combines proven gaseous fuel cold-start and modern injection techniques for reliable operation with reduced weight and radically smaller volume will be an enabling technology for transitioning the experimental X-51 vehicle to a prompt global strike tactical missile system. The DOD agencies most likely to benefit from this new capability would be the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Each of these services has requirements for prompt strike capabilities and platforms that currently deploy similar cruise missile systems. Each of these agencies has been actively investing in hypersonic vehicle research and development programs in their annual budgets. The sponsoring agency/group for this SBIR program would be the most likely sponsor for the Phase III program. Successful performance on the Phase II should be directly communicated to this customer sponsor and a Phase III plan will be part of the Phase II final review.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *