Author Topic: Orbital ATK awarded DARPA Advanced Full Range Engine contract  (Read 3217 times)

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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DARPA has awarded a contract worth $21.4 million to Orbital ATK for a research project under the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program. The defense agency is allocating $1 million in R&D funds for the program in fiscal year 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.

“AFRE seeks to develop and demonstrate a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds required from low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight,” DARPA said in a press release announcing the program.


http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/09/19/orbital-atk-darpa-contract/


(also note, wasnt sure whether this belonged in Advanced Concepts or Orbital ATK, decided since it was a DARPA contract to go with the former)

This award will be interesting when combined with Orbital ATK's potential Merger with Northrop Grumman.
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline Port

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so this is some sort of turbo/ram/scramjet-bastardisation rather than a pulsed-detonation engine, sad :(
« Last Edit: 09/19/2017 04:34 PM by Port »

Offline stefan r

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Is this really a "new engine"?  In the picture it looks like two totally separate engines with one air intake and one exhaust.

Offline Tomness

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I know this is advanced concepts but i can't wait till they make a fighter or plane that can have air breathing jets, modified aerospikes for high altitude, a rocket booster like from stargate... :D  More the merrier for these guys... lol
« Last Edit: 09/19/2017 08:03 PM by Tomness »

Online gongora

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Is this really a "new engine"?  In the picture it looks like two totally separate engines with one air intake and one exhaust.

Exactly.  It's a new integrated propulsion system.

Offline Star One

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Orbital ATK awarded DARPA Advanced Full Range Engine contract
« Reply #5 on: 09/19/2017 07:39 PM »
Quote
DARPA has awarded a contract worth $21.4 million to Orbital ATK for a research project under the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program. The defense agency is allocating $1 million in R&D funds for the program in fiscal year 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.

“AFRE seeks to develop and demonstrate a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds required from low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight,” DARPA said in a press release announcing the program.


http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/09/19/orbital-atk-darpa-contract/


(also note, wasnt sure whether this belonged in Advanced Concepts or Orbital ATK, decided since it was a DARPA contract to go with the former)

This award will be interesting when combined with Orbital ATK's potential Merger with Northrop Grumman.

That engine looks not dissimilar to the engine Aerojet Rocketdyne are developing for the so called LM SR-72.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a26796/hypersonic-sr-72-aircraft/

Are they developing competing power plants for it?
« Last Edit: 09/19/2017 07:48 PM by Star One »

Offline Joris

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I imagine the LM skunkworks project ran into an issue with flow-seperation of the inlet/outlet and they're outsourcing it with DARPA contracts.

Also, here's a job incase you want to work on this specific program:
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/451713141
JIMO would have been the first proper spaceship.

Offline Star One

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I imagine the LM skunkworks project ran into an issue with flow-seperation of the inlet/outlet and they're outsourcing it with DARPA contracts.

Also, here's a job incase you want to work on this specific program:
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/451713141

Do you mean you think it’s the same engine?

Offline john smith 19

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DARPA has awarded a contract worth $21.4 million to Orbital ATK for a research project under the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program. The defense agency is allocating $1 million in R&D funds for the program in fiscal year 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.

“AFRE seeks to develop and demonstrate a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds required from low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight,” DARPA said in a press release announcing the program.


http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/09/19/orbital-atk-darpa-contract/


(also note, wasnt sure whether this belonged in Advanced Concepts or Orbital ATK, decided since it was a DARPA contract to go with the former)

This award will be interesting when combined with Orbital ATK's potential Merger with Northrop Grumman.

That engine looks not dissimilar to the engine Aerojet Rocketdyne are developing for the so called LM SR-72.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a26796/hypersonic-sr-72-aircraft/

Are they developing competing power plants for it?
It certainly does.

So sad. It's been known since the mid 70's that with water inlet spray to a low BP turbofan [EDIT Oops  :) . The Phantom was in fact a turbojet, rather than the sort of low BP turbofan on the F111] you could get up to M3 and run for hours (the M3 reconnaissance Phantom project). We know a ramjet (with fixed geometry) can operate over 3 Mach numbers so a SCramjet is basically unnecessary, but the ideology still persists.

Running an airframe at that speed (even at 80k ft+) is going to need very careful design.

[EDIT in fact with an MIPCC package to get through the M2-M3 range you should be able to get to M6]
« Last Edit: 09/22/2017 08:13 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Star One

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I get the feeling LM can probably now build the airframe but as per usual they are having issues with the power plant.

Offline john smith 19

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I get the feeling LM can probably now build the airframe but as per usual they are having issues with the power plant.
We'll find out. A multi Mach aircraft is not that stealthy. A largish object moving at constant speed and direction at M5 over a countries military bases is not a meteor, no matter what its RCS says it is. A large, mostly composite, sub M1 design might be but that's back to the days of the U2.

The Russians problem was never really not seeing the SR71 (I think they were more inclined to use IR as well as radar than the US), it was catching it.

Note the first passive airborne passive IR aircraft detector was built in 1939 by Dr RV Jones (it's one of the first papers in his book "Instruments & Experiences"). Today passive IR is in nearly every burglar alarm.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Star One

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I get the feeling LM can probably now build the airframe but as per usual they are having issues with the power plant.
We'll find out. A multi Mach aircraft is not that stealthy. A largish object moving at constant speed and direction at M5 over a countries military bases is not a meteor, no matter what its RCS says it is. A large, mostly composite, sub M1 design might be but that's back to the days of the U2.

The Russians problem was never really not seeing the SR71 (I think they were more inclined to use IR as well as radar than the US), it was catching it.

Note the first passive airborne passive IR aircraft detector was built in 1939 by Dr RV Jones (it's one of the first papers in his book "Instruments & Experiences"). Today passive IR is in nearly every burglar alarm.

Do you remember that article I posted not so long ago on the general hypersonics thread about the lab that had come up with a material for a skin that could survive the intense temperatures of hypersonic flight. But you have to wonder that something like that is going to be mutually exclusive with having a stealth skin. So the only ‘stealth’ it’s going to have is it’s speed.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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The Russians problem was never really not seeing the SR71 (I think they were more inclined to use IR as well as radar than the US), it was catching it.

The reason the USSR never got the A-12/SR-71 was because the pilots never overflew USSR airspace (though they flew close). Nations that had USSR weapons did try to shoot them down though, and the magnificent aircraft just out ran anything!


The Orbital ATK proposal does seem to me to be an update on how the Blackbird family/J58 engine system worked, just updated with faster airflow and better materials. Just goes to show how far ahead of its time the Blackbird was, I have consistently read that the only thing holding the aircraft back from going faster was the melting point of its materials.

edit: good video on how the J58 worked, now just substitute Orbital ATK and scramjet for ramjet

« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 10:36 AM by Ronsmytheiii »
"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Offline john smith 19

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The reason the USSR never got the A-12/SR-71 was because the pilots never overflew USSR airspace (though they flew close). Nations that had USSR weapons did try to shoot them down though, and the magnificent aircraft just out ran anything!

Yes, it's performance was very impressive. Obviously with people saying M5 missiles are going to be available Real Soon Now something faster is called for.

Quote from: Ronsmytheiii
The Orbital ATK proposal does seem to me to be an update on how the Blackbird family/J58 engine system worked, just updated with faster airflow and better materials. Just goes to show how far ahead of its time the Blackbird was, I have consistently read that the only thing holding the aircraft back from going faster was the melting point of its materials.

edit: good video on how the J58 worked, now just substitute Orbital ATK and scramjet for ramjet
It is a good video and it shows how many different configurations the whole system (Nacelle, engine and 'burner) goes through (about 9 in the SR71 manual IIRC) compared to any kind of "textbook" version.

The fact that first ramjet was tested in the US in 1946 and missiles were flying using them by the mid 50's, while the first test of supersonic combustion was around 1960 but no operational missile has been flown in nearly 60 years should tell you that while it sounds a minor change IRL supersonic combustion is a huge difference to sub sonic combustion, despite the fact sub sonic combustion is good to M3.2 (and higher given the SR71's wings leading edge angle).

It remains astonishing how fixated US aeroenging designers remain with supersonic combustion. It's even more astonishing how the USG continues to fund them.

"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Jim

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It remains astonishing how fixated US aeroenging designers remain with supersonic combustion. It's even more astonishing how the USG continues to fund them.

Maybe because they know more than you. 
« Last Edit: 09/23/2017 08:04 PM by Jim »

Offline Star One

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It remains astonishing how fixated US aeroenging designers remain with supersonic combustion. It's even more astonishing how the USG continues to fund them.

Maybe because they know more than you.

Well they certainly seem to feel they are going to get a hypersonic vehicle out of it.

Offline john smith 19

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It remains astonishing how fixated US aeroenging designers remain with supersonic combustion. It's even more astonishing how the USG continues to fund them.

Maybe because they know more than you.

Well they certainly seem to feel they are going to get a hypersonic vehicle out of it.
We know that Orbital ATK will get a bag of cash out of the deal.

As for what DARPA will get?

DARPA's remit is very high risk, very high payoff projects but you'd think all those SCramjet projects over the last 6 decades had raised the TRL, yet apparently the outcome is still deemed unlikely enough for it to be funded through DARPA.

I'm aware of the story the mathematics tells, how you can go to orbit while air breathing. If only....

Who knows, maybe this one will turn out better than "Aerospace Plane," the dummy SCramjet that flew on the X15 (but never got to flight test), NASP and probably another half dozen projects that sank a shedload of money and delivered not very much.

Maybe this time it will be different.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 06:26 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Maybe because they know more than you.
The question is about what?

Since I don't hold an Aeronautics degree I'd say if they didn't know more than me then they'd been cheated, and they should ask for their money back.  :)

And how to write a grant proposal that suggests (but does not actually state) their team is on the verge of a breakthrough discovery? I doubt I'm even in the ball park for that skill.

But I may have the edge in knowing how many attempts have failed at this, and of how much money has been spent to attempt to achieve this, and how very little has been achieved for how very many attempts have been made.

Still who knows? Maybe this time it will work.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2017 05:10 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Star One

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Maybe because they know more than you.
The question is about what?

Since I don't hold an Aeronautics degree I'd say if they didn't know more than me then they'd been cheated, and they should ask for their money back.  :)

And how to write a grant proposal that suggests (but does not actually state) their team is on the verge of a breakthrough discovery? I doubt I'm even in the ball park for that skill.

But I may have the edge in knowing how many attempts have failed at this, and of how much money has been spent to attempt to achieve this, and how very little has been achieved for how very attempts have been made.

Still who knows? Maybe this time it will work.

You have the disadvantage though in that much of this development work will have been done out of public sight in the classified world.

Offline john smith 19

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You have the disadvantage though in that much of this development work will have been done out of public sight in the classified world.
Otherwise known as "The X33 ploy," ("We have a solution to  that problem but we can't tell you how" as the X33 PM claimed. Turned out they hadn't. Never trust a PM who's track record you can't verify).

As I noted a M5 aircraft is not in fact stealthy. Any country with adequate IR sensors would spot the very hot M5 object maintaining altitude and heading and either protest or try to shoot it down.

The fact that no country has done so tends to suggest no such system, missile, drone or crewed, has been deployed. The fact that this comes under DARPA suggests they are not much closer than they were when X30 was "de scoped,"  shortly after its  first independent project review found the PI had used the wrong values for some of the thermal properties of air it was meant to be burning.

Problem too hard with the basic physical properties of the fluid? Just change them. Obvious really. If you have the powers of a minor deity.  :)
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 05:37 PM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

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