Raytheon demonstrates thruster

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Raytheon has demonstrated a key propulsion component of its Network Centric Airborne Defence Element (NCADE) programme, an operational tactical missile defence system.

As part of the NCADE risk-reduction programme, Raytheon and partner Aerojet tested an advanced hydroxylammonium nitrate thruster that provided more than 227 Newtons of thrust for longer than 25 seconds.

The thruster is an advanced monopropellant that provides increased performance and high-density packaging that could lead to lighter, higher- velocity interceptors. Hydroxylammonium nitrate is also less toxic and easier to handle than other propellants. This propulsion technology could eventually enable safe shipboard operation.

Raytheon also fabricated two prototype NCADE seekers. The seekers have undergone characterisation testing in a high-fidelity simulator to demonstrate their ability to track a booster in the presence of a bright rocket plume.

NCADE is an air-launched weapon system designed to engage short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the boost, ascent or terminal flight phases.